7 arts activities to get you out and about this autumn
BY: Natalie Christopher
18 Oct 2021
It's (nearly) half term, the leaves are turning and there is a bit of a chill in the air - autumn is here. At this time of year, it's natural to shift into hibernation mode; to want nothing more than to snuggle down with a hot chocolate and a good film or book. But autumn is such a beautiful time so why not make the most of the brighter, drier days to take your arts activities outside?
Here are some ideas to get you started:
Make your own woodland animal scene
Collect acorns, pinecones, chestnuts and conkers and combine them with other craft materials such as pipe cleaners, pens, fabric and googly eyes so your group can create their own woodland animals and creatures. If you make a backdrop you could bring them all together to make a woodland scene.
Take your drama group games outside
Games are a good way to keep warm on a chilly day and the great thing about drama games is that they can be adapted to almost any theme. Take Stop, go, jump, clap, for example; in this game you get the group to start following the actions as you call them. Then you tell them that the instructions are going to be reversed and that, when you shout 'Stop!', you want them go to go, when you say 'Clap!' you want them to jump, and vice versa; anyone who forgets to reverse the instruction is then out. The game gets increasingly difficult as you call the instructions out more quickly and in more complex patterns (you can find an example video of the game here).
These instructions could be adapted to an autumnal theme; your participants could scurry around like a squirrel, jump up in the air like a firework, float along the breeze like a leaf and stand still with their arms out like a scarecrow.
Brighten up your papier-mâché using leaves
Instead of using the traditional strips of newspaper, why no use brightly coloured leaves to make papier-mâché bowls? Use a glue (such as Mod Podge) and a paintbrush to apply the leaves onto the top half of an inflated balloon. For some really vibrant colour and interesting shapes, try using oak or Japanese maple leaves.
Fireworks inspired composing
Get the young people you work with to record the types of sounds the hear around Bonfire Night: loud bangs, the hiss of sparklers or the whizzing of a Catherine wheel, for example. They can then use these sounds to inspire their own musical compositions. This is a good opportunity to experiment with sounds so, in addition to using musical instruments, you could also try body percussion and incorporating sounds made by household items to find that perfect 'crackle' or 'pop'.
Make your own scarecrow
Let your young people go wild with surplus clothes and haberdashery to design and make their own scarecrows; there are some great step-by-step instructions on how to do this on the RHS website. If you're looking for a way to link your arts activities to research into artists, maybe the scarecrows could be inspired by their chosen artist for 'Arts Inspiration'.
From William Shakespeare and John Keats to Christina Rossetti and D.H. Lawrence, autumn has inspired many of the literary greats to put pen (or quill) to paper. Why not follow in their footsteps by taking you group on a nature walk to take in the sights, sounds and smells of the season and use these observations to write their own poetry? Alternatively, you could host an al fresco autumn poetry reading with young people reciting their favourite autumnal works.
No longer purely for Jack-O-lanterns, decorated pumpkins have taken a cottage-core twist over recent years and become a popular way of adding some pre-Christmas seasonal cheer to people's homes and gardens. Carve or etch shames or patterns into them, calligraphy names onto them, paint them different colours, smother them in sequins and glitter - anything goes!