Now that bonfire night has been and gone and we are being pushed into thinking about Christmas by the shops and television, you might be forgiven for thinking that all fun family activities have to be inside. The evenings might be dark but there are plenty of things you can do to enjoy the outdoors even in the last two weeks of November. Here are my suggestions outdoor activities for November to bring the whole family together and enjoy the countryside.
Play in the Leaves
Sadly the autumn leaves aren’t going to be colourful and crispy for long – they will soon be a yukky brown and very soggy. Go out and play; kick them, pile them up and jump in them, search for bugs amongst them, see which trees they are coming from, find the most colourful.
Yes I know it’s an American holiday and celebration, and it’s not actually outside, but being thankful for what we have and our friends and family is such an important lesson. And surely celebrating Thanksgiving is loads better than bothering with Black Friday!! Think turkey, pumpkin and pecans and you won’t go far wrong – or try my Mini Thanksgiving Feast recipe idea if you want something quick. And what better activity for after a big thanksgiving dinner than a walk up a hill to help burn off some of those calories?!
Plant a Tree
It will be National Tree Week at the end of the month (27 November to 2 December), so what better excuse? If you can’t plant a tree in your own garden there will certainly be planting events run by the Woodland Trust or other organisations nearby. Failing that, visit your local woodland and find the biggest tree, smallest tree, oldest tree and give them a hug, take photos of them and climb them.
Make an Autumn Nature Wreath
Give each family member a freezer bag, head out to your favourite park or trail (Nature Reserves are always great places for an Autumnal Saturday morning walk), and collect fallen leaves, bark, pine cones, twigs, and other fallen bits and bobs as you walk. When you’re home and it’s dark outside, cut some polo shapes out of card (recycle that cereal box or packing box), and use PVA glue to add your finds onto the card to create your natural wreath. Once complete, hang on the front door like you would a festive wreath.
Play Walking Games
These are great if you’ve got kids to entertain while you enjoy a post-Sunday-dinner walk around a lake or through the woods – they are things I remember doing in Brownies and as a family when we were small. For example, try action walking. Come up with a load of actions you can do while walking along – think running, hopping, skipping, aeroplane arms, lunges, skipping – and every couple of minutes shout one out that everyone has to do for the next minute. If you like you can take it in turns in your family to come up with the actions, which involves the kids in the game rules too. Do the chosen action for one minute, walk for a few minutes, and then do another action. Another similar idea is to come up with one action such as hopping, and choose a trigger sound such as a duck quacking, and every time you hear that sound you have to do the action for 30 seconds.
Have a Barbecue!
Yes I know it’s autumn and turning into winter, but cooking on an open fire outside is a fab way to eat. A barbecue on a Saturday afternoon in November will certainly get the neighbours talking, but the food will be so good!! Get some decent sausages, prepare some vegetable skewers, wrap up warm and get outside and enjoy. You can also do this on a weekday evening of course, the good thing about cooking on fire is that it’s warm and lights things up too – very cosy even when you’re outside.
What are your favourite ways to get outdoors in the autumn and winter? Share your suggestions in the comments below.
This list of family activities is inspired by the new monthly blogging prompt for Outdoor Bloggers – which for November is “Autumn Watch”. The Outdoor Bloggers network is something I set up with Jenni from The Thrifty Magpies Nest – go check it out.