Play Right: Fall Gaming Using Found Objects
Autumn is a perfect season to get outside, and New Jammies can’t think of a better time to explore and find the fun than fall. Hiking, camping, fishing and leaf peeping are just a few fun family-friendly activities to enjoy in the crisp air surrounded by nature. Even when wearing your organic cotton New Jammies pajamas!
Playing outside can also motivate kids to invent new games and expand their imaginations with found items. From pumpkins grown in the family garden to pine cones found on a day hike, nature’s bounty can make playing games fun and creative this fall.
Check out these cute ideas for an Autumn to remember:
Pine Cone Toss
The toddlerapproved.com website, a resource for parents and teachers of young children that helps foster a love of learning at an early age, has many craft and activities ideas for kids. Their Pine Cone Toss game helps parents work with their kids on hand-eye coordination and counting. Here are the easy steps for fun play using pine cones form the woods or backyard.
1. Six pine cones in a variety of sizes
2. Three varying sized bowls
3. One die
4. Tape to mark off the playing area
How to play:
1. Put bowls out in order from big to small (small is harder and further away) and designate each bowl to have a certain number of points. We kept it simple and had the big bowl be worth 1 point, next bowl worth 2 points, and third (harder) bowl worth 3 points.
2. Roll the die and count the number shown on the die. (ex. 3)
3. Toss that number of pine cones into the bowls to try and earn the most points (ex. toss 3 pinecones into the bowls). Over time your child will learn that throwing three into the furthest small bowl will earn more points than throwing all three into the first big bowl.
4. Count up your points (and write them down to keep track).
5. Take the pine cones out of the bowls and pass the pine cones and die to the next person.
6. Take turns until everyone has had a turn. Play again and again until you are bored. Decide to play until the first person gets to 10 or 20 points if you want to have a designated ending point.
The Pumpkin Ring Toss game can be played by trying to throw rings over the stems, or the pumpkins themselves.
1. A grouping of 3 or more pumpkins with long stems — the straighter the better
2. Large metal mason jar bands (without lids), rope rings or other pliable, smaller rings to toss
3. Something to mark lines to stand behind
How to play:
1. Players are given 3 rings to try and ring as many pumpkin stems as possible.
2. We recommend parents and kids try it out for difficulty before playing. If the game is too easy, move your lines farther back, if the game is too hard, move lines closer.
3. Take turns throwing one or two times per player.
4. The player with the most rings around the pumpkins wins.
The National Wildlife Federation is known for being a voice for wildlife, dedicated to protecting wildlife and habitat and inspiring the future generation of conservationists. So the nonprofit knows first-hand how to teach kids to also have fun while learning when they’re out there in the wild, wonderful outdoors. On its website nsf.org, the nonprofit hosts a section for Family Fun, with nature-friendly activities and games for kids and parents to do together. This Autumn Obstacle Course is perfect for utilizing the leaves raked in the yard for teachable moments:
1. Paper grocery bags
2. 3 bean bags (optional)
3. A yard full of leaves
How to play:
1. Design a course by deciding where to build a course, what shape it will take, and obstacles, including: Pile of leaves to crawl through. Bags of eaves to leap over. Paper grocery bags that must be filled with leaves before continuing on. Stations where your child must find three bean bags (or other objects) buried in a leaf pile. And a huge pile of leaves to dive into as the grand finale.
2. Rake leaves to make an obstacle course (you’ll need leaves, lots of them). Give your child a small rake so he or she can help collect the leaves you’ll need. Then arrange the leaves into the obstacle course you designed earlier. (For two kids who want to race, make two identical courses.)
3. Race through the course. Ready, set, go! Now it’s time to have fun. Race with your child or referee two kids racing. Or time your child as he or she runs the course. Change the obstacles to keep the fun going.
4. Talk about autumn and leaves. Fall into the season. Tell your child autumn has another name — fall. Ask if he or she can guess where the name came from. Explain it refers to the time of year when the leaves on some trees turn color and “fall” off. Why do leaves change color? Explain that leaves are green because they contain chlorophyll, a substance that helps plants make food. In fall, leaves stop making chlorophyll, and their green color fades. That’s when other colors underneath — the beautiful yellows, reds and oranges of fall — can show through. Ask your child to guess the most common leaf color (Answer: yellow.)
5. Fall recycling. Help your child discover ways that nature reuses old leaves. Overturn a bunch of leaves that have been on the ground for a while. You’re likely to find insects and other creatures. That’s because leaves provide these animals with food and shelter. Look for leaves from last year, and show your child how the old leaves have begun to decay. Explain that these old, rotten leaves enrich the soil, supplying food so other plants can grow.
Happy Autumn, and give thanks this November!
New Jammies was born as an environmentally responsible company offering 100% certified organic cotton and flame retardant-free children’s pajamas. Learn more at newjammies.com.