Two red wellington boots jumping in a muddy puddle in fun outdoor activities.

21 Fun Autumn Outdoor Activities for Children in 2023

Last Updated on 4 November 2023 by Rebecca

The seasons are shifting and autumn is finally here! What a great time of year it is: the leaves are changing colour, the nights are drawing in, and it’s the perfect time to get your children in the fresh air to enjoy some fun outdoor activities.

With the weather getting colder, it’s easy to stay indoors where it’s warm, but now more than ever it’s important to get plenty of fresh air and exercise in the great outdoors, especially when it comes to your little ones.

In this post, I’ve compiled a great list of 21 outdoor activities that will get the family out and exploring.

What Are the Best Autumn Outdoor Activities?

1. Pumpkin Picking

Aside from maybe Halloween, what’s the best thing to do in autumn? Pumpkin picking, of course! Watch your children having the best time as they go and pick their very own pumpkins. Whether it’s for carving spooky faces or making pumpkin soup, there’s nothing quite as enjoyable as finding that right pumpkin to take home. This is one of those fun activities that’ll become a yearly tradition.

2. Go Trick or Treating

Pumpkin buckets filled with sweets at Halloween

Halloween may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but going trick or treating is another easy outdoor activity that you can do with your children. It only happens once a year and it’s lovely seeing children dressing up to visit loved ones in their costumes.

3. Autumn Colour Hike

What better time to see the seasons changing than through the different colours we see when it’s autumn? Go for a long walk or hike, even if it’s just a walk in the park, with your children and point out all the various colours you see. You could even make it into a friendly competition to see who finds the most colours. Look out for the different leaf colours and say what colour they are. This is one of those great outdoor activities to keep young ones entertained while doing some physical exercise. You may even manage a longer walk than you expected.

4. Go Camping

Three tents under the star filled night sky

While camping is often thought of during the warmer months, camping in autumn can also be fun if the weather permits. During the cooler months, there are fewer campers and the stars are brighter as the nights draw in. It’s also a great time to spend time together as a family and sit around a toasty campfire for some outdoor fun before getting snuggly in your sleeping bag.

5. Go Stargazing

How often do we look up? We often forget to see more of what’s around us and that there is a whole universe out there if only we look up at the stars. Find a clear night, get wrapped up, and find somewhere that offers a good view of the night sky away from light pollution. You’ll be amazed at what you’ll see with this outdoor recreation. Help your children point out the different constellations and you never know, you may spot a shooting star!

6. Make an Autumn Crown

A crown of brown twigs tied together

One favourite outdoor activity to do this autumn is to make an autumn crown for your children. It doesn’t take much, just a few leaves, some twigs, brown paper to wrap around their head, and cellotape to tape the two ends together. When it comes to autumn crowns, there’s no wrong way to do it, just get creative and see what things you can find outside to decorate your own. You could even go on a scavenger hunt to discover the best things for their crown.

7. Collect Conkers

Autumn is the time of year when children start seeing those prickly green shells on the ground. Upon closer inspection, they discover that inside those shells are shiny brown nuts. What is it about these discoveries that children love? Whatever it is, collecting conkers has been a favourite pastime for years. Why not collect your own this autumn with your children and see what fun you can have? Check out your local parks where you’re guaranteed to find them.

8. Build a Den

A den built against a big tree in the woods

This outdoor activity is sure to be popular for all involved. After all, who doesn’t love building dens? Head to the woods or a forest and spend the day making your very own den with your children. Building dens is great for building teamwork, planning, and creativity. Find a flat spot and collect branches, twigs, leaves, and moss-covered sticks to make a den outdoors.

9. Plant Hardy Vegetables for Winter

Just because it’s autumn and the nights are getting colder, you can still plant some vegetables, making even those cold days work for you. Pick hardy vegetables and herbs that are easy to grow in colder conditions. To ensure they last through the autumn and winter, buy a tunnel or cloches to cover your vegetables, helping to protect them from frost. Popular winter vegetables include Brussels sprouts, radishes, kale, carrots, and beetroot. Once spring comes around, you’ll have a supply of fresh vegetables waiting to be picked.

10. Climb a Tree

A little boy climbing a tree like a monkey

Who doesn’t love climbing trees? There’s something about it that just attracts children no matter how old they are. Not only is it a fun way to spend time outdoors, but this is also one of those outdoor activities that are great at developing physical strength and self-confidence, boosting problem-solving skills, and giving children an attitude that they can do anything.

11. Join the National Trust

What better way to see different parts of the UK than by visiting National Trust properties? It’s also a great way of getting your children out for some physical activity and exploring while taking an interest in historical locations. You can either pay on the day or join either the joint, family or individual memberships. Under 5s go free and there’s a junior membership for the under 18s. If you’re stuck for ideas or want to do something a bit different, the National Trust offers fun for the whole family.

12. Paint Rocks

A variety of colourfully painted rocks in a basket

Painting rocks is always a fun outdoor activity that children love doing and it’s a great way to spend time outdoors while letting children get creative. It doesn’t take much with this activity, just collect rocks, paint, and brushes. What’s not to love about this?

13. Go on a Nature Trail

Nature trails are a great way to add some family fun to your walk. You could head to your local national park and see what outdoor activities they have. Grab one of their nature trail maps and head out to see what you can discover along the way. If you’re lucky, there may even be a prize at the end for finding all the things on the map. You could even do your own nature trail by drawing a map that marks the things your children need to look out for. Add fun facts about the things you see along the way to add even more interest to your walk.

14. Make a Nature Portrait

Sticks made into picture frames tied together with twine

This is a wonderful way for your children to get hands-on with the varied textures they’ll encounter with this outdoor activity. Get a table set up outside and send your children off to find natural items that they’d like to use for their nature portraits. This could be anything from leaves to sticks to pinecones to flowers, most of which you can find in your back garden. Place everything on the table and let your children’s creativity unfold as they use their imagination and ideas to make a nature portrait.

15. Paint with Mud

Painting is a fun activity your children will love, whether it’s finger painting or balloon painting, but have you ever tried mud painting? This different take on painting will definitely be enjoyed by your children. Wait until it’s a rainy day to take advantage of this. Simply scoop some wet mud into several containers, get some paper and paintbrushes, and you’re ready to get creative outside.

16. Go Apple Picking

A hand picking an apple from an apple tree

Find your local orchard for some apple picking and see how many apples you can pick. This fun outdoor activity collecting food will become a firm favourite in your household as you’re sure to end up eating as many apples as you pick. Discover the wide range of apples to choose from and after you’ve picked the ones you want, take them home where you can your own homemade applesauce or apple crumble.

17. Jump into a Leaf Pile

This is one of those outdoor activities that shouts autumn and brings absolute joy to children’s faces. To make your own leaf pile, simply rake up a bunch of leaves, making sure the ground underneath is clear of any twigs and sticks and is on soft grass rather than concrete. And watch as your children enjoy playing by jumping into the leaf piles.

18. Go Horse Riding

Someone riding a horse down through a wooded area

All children should experience being around animals and horses are no exception. And what better way to get out into the fresh air and doing some physical activity than riding a horse? Find your local stables to see what opportunities they have available to take your children horse riding. Most have a minimum age before children can ride solo, but many will permit children to ride with a parent walking alongside them.

19. Bird Watching

Bird watching is a great educational outdoor activity to do with your children. Whether it’s in your own back garden or while out on a nature walk, you’re bound to spot a variety of birds along the way. Point them out to your children and see if they know what they are. Get them to close their eyes and explain to them that while they may not be able to always see them, they can hear their bird song.

20. Light a Bonfire

A bonfire in an open area

One of the great things about autumn is bonfires. There’s nothing better than sitting around a bonfire snuggled up with your family in the early darkness and cool nights. Take your bonfire to the next level and roast some marshmallows over your bonfire as you watch the colours change in the firelight.

21. Attend a Festival

Attending a festival is a great way to spend time as a family while outside. During the autumn months, there’s usually something going on for all the family to enjoy. Check out your local community’s page to find out more information on festivals ranging from food-inspired ones to local music ones.

How Can Outdoor Activities Benefit Your Children?

Partaking in outdoor activities is an excellent way for children to develop mentally, socially, and physically. Not only does it expose children to new experiences, but it also increases their happiness, confidence and self-esteem, makes them stronger, and gets them sleeping better while increasing Vitamin D levels. Other health benefits include reducing stress and anger and getting children out into the fresh air while lowering screen time inside.

What’s not to love?

That’s a Wrap!

There you have it, my list of 21 outdoor activities, many of which are safe outdoor activities, that every child should experience when autumn comes around. Which ones do you enjoy? Are there any you think I should include in my list? Have a look through and see which ones, if not all, you’d like to try. Have fun!

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