Autumn Fun with Toddlers



This has to be my favourite time of year, I don’t care if it makes me a basic white girl, I love wandering around the woods collecting acorns and conkers and wearing scarves and cardigans and the shops are stocking their Christmas stuff and oooh – I just love it. I’m almost sorry that I don’t live in America where they really seem to enjoy Fall, with apple picking, pumpkin patches, hay-rides and corn mazes. Actually, how does apple picking work? Do you pick up the ones that have been kicking around on the ground for a while, or do you climb up a ladder and get them straight off the tree? I don’t much fancy either of those, I would probably give that a miss, but a hay-ride sounds amazing and I seriously wish we had things like that here.


But that’s not to say that Scottish Autumn doesn’t have any charm, and I’ve started making a list of all the things I want to try with the boy before winter is properly here.

Play board games – the dark nights are perfect for cosy family time, and I think it’s about time we expanded our repertoire beyond Pop-Up Pirate.

Collect Conkers – there is a poor solitary horse chestnut tree in a park nearby that is constantly battered this time of year by dads throwing sticks, trying to dislodge the conkers. I think we will go a little farther afield and try to find one in a more isolated place, where is isn’t providing conker fun for half the kids in town.

Collect Leaves and Make Prints – in warm Autumn colours. Would make good wrapping paper (thrifty and always thinking ahead, that’s me!) or just displayed as art.

Make a Leaf Crown – using this tutorial, and then take loads of super-cute pics for instagram (did I mention how much of a basic white girl I am?)

Make Conker Caterpillars – you have to see how cute these guys are, it will give us something to do with any conkers we find, and I just really like the alliterative sound of ‘conker caterpillars’.

Make Hedgehog Bread – like most of the UK we’ve recently started baking a lot more (cough Great British Bake Off cough) and this hedgehog shaped bread is next on our list. Look at the little raisin face! Adorable!

Make Our Own Play Dough  -I can’t believe the boy is three years old and we haven’t played with home-made play dough yet. There are plenty of recipes on-line like this one for dough scented with cinnamon and other autumn appropriate scents. Seems like good messy fun, and I can’t get enough of spicy smells, so this could be a win-win for both of us.

Exploring Abandoned Places With a Toddler

silverburn_9In honour of Halloween we decided to do a bit of exploring around a couple of spooky abandoned houses nearby.



These are part of Silverburn Estate, a lovely little park with woods and a walled botanical garden which was gifted to the local council in the seventies on the condition that it ‘should remain forever as a quiet area used for the benefit of the public in general and the people of Leven in particular for nature trails, quiet parkland and organised camping.’  

It’s one of our favourite places to go and let the boy run off some energy while we enjoy the beautiful surroundings, but today we decided to venture a little further and seek these beauties out.



We stayed a safe distance away – even without the toddler I would have been too afraid of breaking my neck/meeting a ghostie to try anything stupid. The boy seemed very excited when we told him this was where ghosts live, bellowing ‘Night night, ghosties!’ when we told him they were all asleep because ghosts only come out at night.

(I do realise I ran the possibility of a weeks worth of nightmares and ‘can’t go to sleep, ghosts will get me,’ but he’s obviously made of much stronger stuff than his Mama.)

Venturing even further away from the park area, we came across a small paddock with these in them:


They all had feathers and scraps of paper tied to them, and made us adults fret that something ‘a bit Wicker Man’ had been going on. The boy was fascinated, however.





Turns out that this is some sort of interactive art installation thing, and people are encouraged to add their own decorations to these posts. I think it straddles the line between ‘fun family activity’ and ‘littering’, but we are going to make some paper and string things and return very soon to add them. And help spook the next family that stumbles upon them after watching The Wicker Man once too often.