By Toni, 28th Oct 2021
An autumn walk in the park isn’t just about getting out in the fresh air, making memories with the family and enjoying some exercise. It’s a fun educational experience too. After all, there’s no better place to help your children learn about nature and wildlife than the great outdoors. So, if you’re going to be enjoying a family day out at Bryngarw Country Park this weekend or half term, here are a few autumn nature activities your kids will love.
1. Be an animal investigator
At this time of year, native wildlife species are getting ready for winter, so start counting the different animals you see. (We can pretty much guarantee a few squirrel sightings!) If you need some more pointers on what to look out for at this time of year, you can find out more about Britain’s busiest autumn wildlife here.
Autumn is also a good time for bird watching. Whether you’re walking in our woodland or open countryside, it’s worth keeping your eyes open to see how many different birds you can spot. If you’re lucky you might see a few native birds of prey like red kites and buzzards perched on branches or drifting above. They tend to glide slowly on the currents with their wings outstretched so are often easier for children to watch or photograph than some of the smaller, faster birds.
Another fun sensory experience is ‘bird spotting’ with your ears. Try sitting quietly for a few minutes (OK, we know it’s not always easy with young children) and listening to the birds singing. You’ll be surprised how many different calls you can hear. You can even use the RSPB ‘What Bird is That’ identifier to investigate which birds are singing to you.
Remember to look at the floor too. You might find some tracks in the mud that will help you investigate which animals live here. And if you find a feather, why not see if you can find out if which bird it came from here?
2. Become a tree detective
With thousands of leaves falling to the ground, it’s fun to pick up a few of your favourites and learn about the trees they came from. Leaves come in all colours, shapes and sizes and are fascinating to look at up close especially if you have a microscope app on your phone. If you’re not sure which tree’s leaves you’ve discovered, you can always try the Woodland Trust’s tree ID app or ask your nearest friendly Bryngarw Country Park Ranger.
3. Discover the mysterious world of mushrooms and toadstools
These are some of the most curious things that grow in the park, although it’s obviously important to make sure your children look but don’t touch. Fungi are truly incredible organisms but can also be very dangerous if you don’t know your puffballs from your death caps. Having said that, it’s always a welcome surprise to find their strange, colourful forms sprouting from an old log or dotted across grassy fields.
They’re often well-hidden, so make sure you watch where you’re walking or you might miss out. If you’re interested in fungi, you can find out more about the common UK varieties here.
4. Play spot the poo!
In our experience, this one is a pretty popular activity with most children! Stumbling across (but hopefully not actually stepping into) animal droppings is inevitable part of exploring the great outdoors. So, why not use it as a natural opportunity to identify and learn about the habits and diets of the animals they come from? Sounds a bit on the gross side, but it can be really interesting – and usually something most kids are gruesomely fascinated with learning about.
5. Learn in nature this autumn at Bryngarw Country Park
A simple walk in nature can be a really effective tool for teaching your children about the world around us. And you can also join in with some of our own events. Our experienced rangers love sharing their expertise on all the things that live and grow here at Bryngarw Country Park. That’s why we offer a range of environmental education activities. Whether you join us for a nature walk, minibeast hunt or a spot of pond dipping, all our events are designed to help children explore and learn more about the natural world.
Planning a day out or a country walk at Bryngarw Country Park? We’re open between 10am – 4.30pm from 1st October to 31st March.