Autumn has definitely arrived, and what better way to celebrate than with the very first post in our M&S Baby and Toddler series! We’ve invited the wonderfully talented Irish artist (and much loved nanny and aunty) Marjolein Wouters to share her favourite things to do with babies and toddlers this season. Enjoy, and please share!
1. Woodland Adventure
Bundle everyone up and out into the crisp chilly air. Autumn’s golden days have arrived and it’s time to ramble through your favourite woods. Have fun uncovering the joys of the season; finding mushrooms, spotting squirrels and collecting conkers. Let the kiddies release their boisterous energy by jumping, stamping or crunching their way through the newly fallen leaves.
This is also a good photo opportunity – all the rich shades of red and amber this season has to offer can create a lovely backdrop for capturing the delight and wonderment on little faces. Bring a packed lunch and get out early before the misty spiderwebs disappear.
All the fresh air and running around result in big appetites and tuckered out tots.
2. Bobbing for Apples
With plenty of wet and dull weather heading our way in the coming weeks, keep little hands busy on a rainy day. Pop a dozen or more apples into a basin or large mixing bowl and add water until the apples are bobbing around. Equip your child with a large soft-grab tongs, and tell them to pull the apples out one by one. Additional challenges include placing the apples into a muffin baking tray and sorting red apples from green.
This activity builds up hand-eye co-ordination, bilateral integration and fine motor muscles. Chop up an apple afterwards for a rewarding and healthy snack!
3. Hand Spiders and Ghost Feet
What do you need?
Grab a blank canvas, add a lick of non-toxic water-based paint and let it dry. Spread out a paint/splash mat and keep a basin of lukewarm soapy water nearby to wash off the hands and feet quickly.
What do you do?
For the very small, I’ve found the best technique is to use a wide paintbrush to apply a coat of paint to a little foot or hand, and then help them press down on the canvas and lift up and away. Older toddlers can press their hands and feet into the paint themselves but may need help getting the right pressure on the canvas. A good idea is to have a few pieces of paper so they can experiment with some extra designs of their own.
Add some eyes – and tiny mouths for the ghosts- along with a spider’s web or the funny rhyme “Trick or Treat, Smell my Feet”. Ideal to do before bathtime, and best be prepared for a little mess!
Do you have other ideas for things to do with babies and toddlers this Autumn? Feel free to share your ideas, links and Pinterest boards below!
Disclosure: This article is sponsored by Marks & Spencer in celebration of the launch of their gorgeous new Baby range.
Lein uses her creativity to set the children’s imaginations alight, and you’re going to want to steal each and every one of her birthday party ideas!