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Published April 26th 2011
The change in seasons and inevitable farewell to summer doesn't mean that you need to say goodbye to outside fun. There are lots of advantages to the cooler weather and lots of opportunities to do activities without sweating and risking dehydrating. Here are just a few nature-based suggestions for next few months:
Walking in your local area Whether you live in the city or country, walking in the breezy air is usually inviting. Just put a pair of comfy shoes on and start trotting anywhere you like. Fields, parks, urban streets, bushlands, there's always something to look at and it's free (unless you stop for a cuppa to warm yourself up).
Grab your camera and practise your photography skills in the soft autumn light. Again, it can be anywhere, sometimes it's just having the time to stop and really look at what is around.
Playing in fallen leaves This idea isn't just for children, it's for adults too. Apart from just having messy fun, while all the leaves are on the ground you could test your nature skills and see how many trees you can identify.
Making space for hibernating animals This is another activity that isn't restricted to children. With a wood pile, bee home or mammal box in your garden or shed, it will create a space and home for insects and mammals that hibernate through the winter.
Beachcombing Autumn storms can reveal all sorts of tidal treasures for beachcombing fans. Have a look along the strandline after high tide and see what natural marvels have been washed up with the manmade flotsam and jetsam. Look out for fossils, shells and jellyfish.
Tidying up Spring needn't be the only time of year to clean; it can be done whenever you feel the urge. Also, if you want to look after the environment autumn is a great time of year to get involved in a litter pick or beach clean. If you look on your local council website, it will tell you how to be involved.
Leaf jumping If you can't do this in your own yard, head to your local park and enjoy this timeless classic there. Rake as many leaves as you can into huge piles, take a running start and then dive in. If you have a large yard to rake, make it into a party. Top it all off with warmed and spiced apple cider for a truly autumnal experience. When you're all jumped out, you can use the leaves as mulch in your garden, compost them, or check for local programs which want leaves for either of these reasons. Or if you have children, you can save some for craft projects.
Go for a family walk in a park or forest and have items each member of the family needs to collect or spot. With the treasures you collect you could make crafts later.
Picking fruit Depending upon where you live, you might be able to find some berries to pick and sample. But only taste the safe ones of course!
And lastly, star gazing
The longer nights mean more star-spotting chances. Of course, it is often nippier than the summer nights, but it's still worth the effort. Warm up afterwards with a cuppa and a biscuit and relish the magnificent night sights you saw.