It’s that time of year when the leaves are changing colors in many parts of the country. It’s the perfect time of year to get out as a family and take a walk. However, sometimes encouraging young children to enjoy nature and be in the moment can be hard. Short attention spans can cause kids to get whiny and miss the enjoyment before its even really started.

Here are a few ideas to keep children engaged and  learning while enjoying quality outdoor time.

While you walk:

Nature Bracelets:

Materials: packing tape will work, but duct tape works better (This activity works best if the leaves are not wet.)

1. Take a loop of tape with the sticky side out large enough to fit easy over the child’s hand.

2. Slip the bracelet of tape on to their wrist.

3. Let kids stick leaves, flowers, sticks, and other bits of nature to them to make bracelets.

Dance like a leaf:

Watch leaves fall off the trees, or throw a few up in the air and watch how they fall. Have kids dance like falling leaves, don’t forget to join in and be silly.

Collect leaves:

Materials: small bucket or bag

Make a contest out of looking for differences:  color leaves, the biggest on you can find, to see if you can collect a whole rainbow, or look for different sizes.

What do you do with your new leaf collection after you get home? Try making a sun catcher.

Fall Leaf Sun Catchers:

Materials: clear contact paper, fall leaves

1. Lay contact paper out with the sticky side up

2. Let kids place leaves on paper.

3. Add a second layer of contact paper and put it sticky side down, against the leaves.

4. Press air out of the layers the best you can.

5. Hang it up in a window and enjoy the way the sun shines through the leaves.