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Forestry England’s ultimate list of cheap and fun activities to do this autumn half-term

Photo credit: Paul Box Forestry England/Crown copyrigh
Photo credit: Paul Box Forestry England/Crown copyright

For getting out and about with the kids, the seasons don’t get much better than autumn. From conker collecting to jumping in leaf piles, there are so many brilliant and cheap autumnal activities for the whole family to enjoy.

From whizzing through the kaleidoscope of leaf colours on your bike, to heading off on a forest adventure with Julia Donaldson’s much-loved character Superworm, there are plenty of activities to keep all ages entertained this half-term. And the best thing is, they won’t break the bank with many activities being free!

1. Enjoy a Superworm activity trail

Set off on a forest adventure this half-term and enjoy an activity trail based on Julia Donaldson’s much-loved book, Superworm. With lots of fun activities to complete, the trail will encourage children to become superheroes of the forest themselves. To celebrate Superworm’s 10th birthday, there is also a colouring competition your kids can take part in and 3 new Superworm activity sheets available for download!

2. Become a forest rider

Cycling is an excellent way to experience autumn and can be enjoyed by the whole family. Ride your way to adventure this half-term with Forestry England’s Forest Rider packs. The packs have been designed to challenge children to complete a series of off-road rides, build their confidence and to enjoy the fantastic network of trails the nation’s forest have to offer.

3. Discover nature’s giants on your autumn walk

Redwood trees are some of the tallest and largest trees in the world. With now over half a million within the nation’s forests, visitors can experience the wonder that redwoods can deliver closer to home! Although still very young and quite a bit smaller than their Californian cousins, the giant and coast redwoods that are in our forests are still magnificent to see. Use Forestry England’s map to discover magnificent examples of these trees this autumn!

4. Stomp through leaves 

In autumn deciduous trees lose their leaves, leaving a carpet of red, yellow and orange leaves spread across the forest. On your family walk, try gathering as many fallen leaves as you can, and have a competition to see who can build the tallest pile. Or just take the opportunity to roll, jump and play in them!

Here is our ultimate guide of autumn walks in Yorkshire and the North East to enjoy.

5. Look out for the weird and wonderful

Try looking for different coloured fungi on your walk.

Fungi like the damp conditions among the fallen leaves, which create a wonderful rich earthy smell in the forest. Remember they don’t all look like mushrooms, and they don’t all grow on the ground – some grow on tree trunks or fallen branches. Fungi are essential to where they are found. They rot and recycle leaf litter, provide food for small animals and are great to admire.

6. Become a cone collector

During the autumn, trees produce loads of seeds in the hope that a few will find the perfect place to land and grow into a tree. Each plant has a clever way of scattering their seeds. Some seeds and nuts will fall from the tree, some will explode from pods, some will blow away in the wind or float in water and others will be scattered by animals.

Look out for cones, nuts and seeds as you explore the forest. Have a competition to see who find the most!

7. Download free autumn activity sheets

Inspired by and featuring characters from Room on the Broom, inside you’ll find autumn activities to bring sights, sounds and smells of the forest to life.

  • Craft witchy autumn wands to capture the magic of forests
  • Explore the spectrum of autumn colours and spot them in the woods
  • Hunt for forest treasure on a Halloween scavenger hunt
  • Create forest art, inspired by nature
  • Listen to the sounds of the season, and make an autumn sound map

8. Explore your senses

Autumn is a fantastic time to look, listen and reflect on the things all around you. Did you know that simply taking time to be mindful can be beneficial for children’s health and wellbeing? 

Download our forest bathing activity sheet, find a quiet spot where your kids feel safe and relaxed and start practicing the art of forest bathing with our downloadable activity sheets.

9. Take photos as a family

When everything around us is more colourful and there’s a lovely autumn light in the woods, it can be a great time to get some memorable snaps.

Try tossing some leaves up in the air and taking a picture at just the right time!

Don’t forget to share your autumnal photos using #AutumnLeafWatch on Twitter and Instagram (if you have a public profile) or by tagging us Facebook page to win a prize!

10. Go on an autumn picnic

It might not be as warm as the summer, but autumn can be the perfect time for a picturesque family picnic. Wrap up warm, dust off your picnic blanket and pack all your favourites into your picnic basket, you could even try including something warm, like soup in a flask! The best thing? You can even include some other activities from this list for the ultimate autumn day out.

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