Autumn is the perfect time to get outdoors and play, whether you are 2 or 200. The wealth of materials that nature provides as an alternative to toys is plentiful at this time of year and provided you don your waterproofs and warm jackets the colder weather shouldn’t put you off. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Make some muddy potions – Grab yourself a pot and a stick, then head on out collecting anything smelly you can find. Stir it all together and have a smell off contest with your friends. Who has managed to make the smelliest concoction? Whatever you do though, don’t drink it!

Find some minibeasts – Autumn is a great time of year to go hunting for mini monsters. Spiders, slugs and snails are plentiful this time of year as are wonderful worms. Leaf litter is a fabulous place to look and you never know what you might unearth. It could be a sweet little weevil or a long legged harvestman.

Kid with slug by Eleanor Bentall (

Have a leaf fight – Find a huge pile of leaves and throw leaf piles at each other. Jump in it, kick it, throw it in the air. Enjoy a mad half hour just mucking around.

Create some natural art – This time of year there is all sorts lying about on the ground from leaves, to pine cones, from conkers to twigs. Make something beautiful and leave it for someone else to discover. You could even make your own Vote for Bob picture!

We would really love to hear about how you play in nature. Share your ideas with us on our Facebook page RSPB Essex, we can’t wait to share them with everyone else.