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Autumn and winter games and activities with children

When the days shorten and the first night frost spreads over paving stones and cars, then it’s obvious: the cold season is around the corner. This brings back memories of pleasant anticipation and hot chocolate. Or: staying dry indoors for the whole day while the weather rages outside, and simply playing the hours away within the family. A special time for both children and parents.

Many favourite trips with toddlers are not possible in autumn and winter but, on the other hand, completely new open-air play ideas present themselves. In principle, there is nothing to prevent a family excursion; after all, bad weather doesn’t have to mean staying indoors.

OK then, but what requires consideration for an excursion with children in cold weather? Which ideas create play and fun for children? And which activities and play ideas for children are especially suitable for indoors? And are these also suitable for toddlers?

So warm up the cocoa and get the hobby scissors ready! Here come our tips for play ideas for children and toddlers in autumn and winter.

Which play ideas for children and toddlers are suitable for indoors?

Especially during the cold time of year we draw closer, and love to spend time together with the whole family. Children too enjoy this special time of year and start getting excited about Christmas. Maybe also because of a particular special present. But before all that, at the start of autumn there are still a few weeks which can be filled with great games. The more creative the better! Because: even when the days shorten, our little ones want to enjoy experiences and be challenged.

Here are a few great ideas for being active with your child indoors.

Make things together

Many autumn and winter games are great opportunities for including nature. Finding sticks and leaves for making things is just as good in the drizzle as in the sunshine. Then later on, the whole family can become creative together back indoors. Whether it’s stormy or snowing outside: It’s fun making things, regardless of the weather! And the best thing: you don’t need many materials. In theory, just a sheet of paper plus a little creativity are enough to create something great.

Tip: If you’re in a rush, you’ll find ready-to-use craft kits in the shops. They contain everything you need for a lovely craft session with your child.

Jigsaw puzzles

Huge fun for the whole family! Even toddlers come into their own with jigsaw puzzles. Not only do they enjoy assembling puzzles – it also promotes their cognitive abilities. In particular, this type of play develops hand/eye coordination in toddlers. When buying a puzzle, pay attention to the age suitability information on the packaging. This is because small pieces are unsuitable for toddlers to play with.

Tip: Doing puzzles together strengthens the bond between parents and children. What about a jigsaw afternoon with the family?

Playing together

It’s this simple: Playing together is incredibly important for the development of your child and for how they bond with you as Mum or Dad. If the toy is also of pedagogical value, then the play session becomes even more exciting! Together you can work out the greatest stories for play figures and, for example, create imaginary journeys or undertake adventures. Our Toddys are the perfect play partners for this. With their brilliant background stories and their Click&Play mechanism, they are a continuous invitation to new exciting options for play.

Every Toddy comes with its own story and very special personality. For example, Leo and Loopy are true masters of the art of flight, and they never miss out on any aerobatic trick. Or Betty and Blinky, who dance their way through life together and really enjoy preparing little performances for friends and family.

For several players: Plumpsack (a German game similar to Duck, Duck, Goose)

A real classic children’s game: Plumpsack. Several children are required for this game. To play, all players sit on the ground in a circle and face inwards. One child (the “catcher”) runs around the circle holding the plumpsack in her/his hand. The plumpsack is a small bag filled with rice or similar.

During this, the seated children sing:

Don’t look to the rear, 
Here comes the plumpsack.
If you turn or cheer,
It’ll be all over your back.
(Of course, no-one gets it all over their back!)

The catcher leaves the sack behind one of the children. The game can now go in two ways: the child where the sack has been left realises this, jumps up, and catches the other child. Or else the plumpsack isn’t noticed and/or the catcher goes around the circle once. The catcher then tries to sit in the empty place, and the other child becomes the catcher. The other child then leaves the game for one round. She/he must wait inside the circle as a “rotten egg” until the round is over.

This is a great game, but the song doesn’t have to be taken literally. Your child’s motor skills as well as their linguistic abilities are boosted. And best of all: this game is great fun to play.

Why are autumn and winter excursions good for your child?      

There is a simple answer to this question: New impressions. Unfamiliar surroundings entail much that is new, and your child first of all has to process this. This involves not just the use of senses like odour, touch, and of course sight, but above all many internal mechanisms mesh together like cogs. And this has a positive effect on the development of your child. After all, there is so much to discover and experience outside your own four walls.

Our tips for excursions with children in autumn and winter:

All-weather zoo

A great rainy day destination! In the roofed areas, your child can get close to all types of animals and learn something about them, without getting wet. Nowadays, many zoos have roofed animal houses which are worth investigating even if it’s rainy.

Aquarium

Does your child love marine creatures? Or maybe they are something completely new? A family visit to the aquarium could be exactly the right thing! There’s such a lot to experience and be amazed by. Reputable aquaria are designed to be especially appealing to children. Exciting sensory or auditory games appeal to both young and older children.

Indoor playground

Play, frolic, and put yourself to the test: Indoor playgrounds are perfect for experiencing things. Many are open throughout the year and provide great options for younger as well as older children. Some of these facilities are even set up specifically for the needs of toddlers. There you can be sure that nothing goes wrong during the play and fun.

Indoor pool

For children of about four and upwards: the perfect destination, where the whole family can be active! Bring the water wings (and your child!) and enjoy splashing around together.

A joint course with Mum and/or Dad is recommended for toddlers, so that the unknown world of water is approached cautiously. Baby and toddler swimming courses are offered in almost all indoor pools.

Nature

Yes, that’s right: even when the weather invites you to stay indoors, a little trip, for example to your local wood, can provide a special experience. The smell of foliage, the rustling of the trees, fluttering leaves, and maybe even squirrels darting past. A visit to the woods requires every sense that your child possesses. Not only is the clean woodland air good for children, adults also benefit from fresh outdoors air. A visit to the woods is certainly an excursion which benefits the whole family.

Why is it a good idea to go out with children when it’s raining?

Rain and wind can quickly spoil our mood. And also make the idea of an excursion less attractive. However, it’s different for children: bad weather actually creates great potential for play ideas! Water in puddles? Perfect for jumping into! Mud and dirt? Just right for making cakes. Animal tracks can be discovered or imagined almost everywhere. This is because many animals show themselves when there’s a little water on the ground. Perfect for observation! In this way, your child can also learn something about native animals.

And above all, your child learns: I won’t let a little bit of water spoil my mood!

In conclusion: Which autumn and winter activities are particularly suitable for children?

Remember that precious moments with your child know no seasons. It doesn’t matter whether it’s stormy or snowing outside: you can always find an opportunity to play or experience something together. In the end, it’s a matter of taste whether this time is spent together at home in the warm, or outside in the wind and rain. The main thing is that boredom is prevented even on short, wet days. Because: even if the weather doesn’t co-operate, you can contribute to your child’s development through suitable play ideas and exciting activities. And, in the end, that is what really matters.

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