In this blog, we’re looking at ways of making the most of your lawn this autumn. We have some ideas for games and activities for every member of the family – including the dog!
You don’t need an entire country estate to be able to enjoy the outdoors. Neither do you need to be super-athletic or have lots of specialist equipment. All you need is a lawn, a spare half hour or so and a little bit of imagination.
Here are some ideas of ways that you can make the most of your lawn this autumn.
Get closer to nature
Autumn is a great time for wildlife and on a sunny day it’s surprising what you can see. A friend of mine once gave her 3 year old grandson a magnifying glass and showed him how to use it. He spent hours in the garden watching bugs, examining leaves, looking at flowers and goodness knows what else. What a brilliant way to get up close and personal with nature!
For a more grown up version – use your camera as a magnifier. You could take pictures of the garden to use when planning any improvements to your plot.
Find a use for those Autumn leaves
It’s important that you clear all autumn leaves from your lawn. If they are left for more than a couple of days they will block sunlight from the grass plants and may leave bare patches on the lawn.
But if leaf sweeping sounds like a chore, why not divert yourself with some crafty activities instead? Gathering materials from the garden to be made into a collage, a flower arrangement or a garland is a great outdoor activity for bored youngsters
Tip: If it’s a nice day, pop a table up outside so that you can use glitter, glue and paints without making a mess indoors.
Don’t go thinking that crafting is a substitute for leaf clearance though – the job will still be there when you’ve finished creating!
One of my favourite games as a child was a treasure hunt. We never minded if the air was a bit chilly – it was just fun to go rummaging about in the garden.
Depending on the age of the players, you could simply hide treats or small presents around the garden, you could lay a trail of clues or you could use compass directions. (eg go 10 steps west, 20 steps south and 15 steps east)
Maybe you could stencil some footprints or some arrows onto the lawn? Be sure to use paints that are designed for line marking on sports fields. That way the grass will not be damaged and your artwork will soon grow out.
Alternatively, you could make a treasure map showing features of the garden and a hint to where the treasure is (just don’t bury the prize in the lawn!)
Outdoor Cooking – toast some marshmallows
Anyone who knows me well will not be surprised that I’ve included food in this outdoor activity blog. Food is something we all need and enjoy – and you don’t need to be indoors to prepare and eat it.
Autumn may be a bit chilly for barbecues but as the evenings draw in, there’s something really appealing about a log fire. If you don’t want to stand around for ages waiting for sausages to cook, toasting marshmallows is a highly recommended alternative.
Don’t worry if you don’t have a raised fire bowl, you can avoid scorching your lawn by building an alter fire. If it’s not something you’ve tried before, here’s a link to some instructions.
PS: I’m reliably informed that you can also build an alter fire using a metal crate. Turn it upside down on the lawn, lay a sheet of metal on top of it and build a log fire on top of the metal sheet.
It’s a simple thing to do but incredibly relaxing – just spread a rug on the lawn, lay down and see how many different shapes you can see in the clouds. I did it as a boy and I’ve still not grown out of it!
Just like cloud watching, star gazing is a great way for adults to relax and for children to learn about their world. Choose a clear night and See how many constellations you can identify. Follow up with a big mug of soup or hot chocolate to warm up.
Make Grass Caterpillars
If it’s too wet to enjoy the lawn out of doors, why not make a mini-lawn indoors. Grass caterpillars are great fun to make and they’ll help children understand how plants grow from seed.
Build fitness levels with an Obstacle Course
Children will enjoy burning off extra energy with a home-made obstacle course on the lawn. This can be adapted to the ages and abilities of the participants – you could even incorporate it into your own fitness regime. Take it from someone who knows – working and playing on the lawn soon racks up your 10,000 steps a day!
Ideas for lawn obstacles:
- Lay a broom across two upturned buckets to make a hurdle. Swap the buckets for chairs and you have an obstacle that can be crawled under.
- A large cardboard box open at both ends makes a tunnel to crawl through
- Lay a skipping rope down on the lawn and walk along it like a tightrope
- From a distance, throw beanbags or tennis balls into a bucket
- Use cones, toys or plant pots to create a slalom course.
- Create a running track around the outside of the garden and use rolled up beach towels as hurdles to jump over.
- Loosely pin an old sheet to the lawn with tent pegs leaving enough room to ‘army crawl’ under.
- Create a “hoop-la” by cutting the centres out of paper plates to make rings and then try to toss them over a water bottle.
- (this one is a favourite with adults AND children) Place a bucket of water at one end of the lawn and an empty bucket for each player at the opposite end of the lawn. Use a paper cup to transfer water from one to the other. To make it more “interesting” you could put a small hole in the bottom of the cup(s).
For the sake of your lawn – please tidy up once you’ve finished playing. In autumn time, the days are shorter and the sun’s rays are weaker. Plants NEED sunlight to thrive and it’s important that every grass plant can see the sun as much as possible. At this time of year, your lawn also needs a good flow of air to help ward off autumn lawn diseases.
Lawn Games for Dogs
Your lawn is a brilliant resource for your family pet too. Dogs who have lots of mental stimulation in a day tend to be more settled, so why not set up some “brain games” on the lawn for your pooch.
Treat hunt – keep your hound busy for ages by spreading treats on the lawn for him or her to sniff out. Pieces of cooked chicken are a good choice to start with. Once Fido gets the hang of it the game, you can use almost any small dog treat.
If your pet is inclined to bolt his dinner – try spreading it on the lawn instead of putting it in a bowl. Much better for the digestion!
Scentwork – again using treats, or a favourite toy, hide objects underneath boxes, bags or cloths on the lawn. Let your dog use his nose and his brain to find the treasure
Build a small agility course on the lawn – perhaps adapt some ideas from the obstacle course section above.
Need some more ideas to keep your dog out of mischief? Contact Gary at K9 Connections NI – he’s a qualified dog trainer and can help tackle problem behaviours. https://www.k9connectionni.com/
Autumn Lawn Care Tips
After all of those shenanigans, your lawn will appreciate some TLC