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No Sunshine? No Problem!

A new palette of pretty colours are starting to appear amongst the Cyprus wildlife and the first dark clouds are beginning to block the sunlight after what feels like an eternity of Summer. This is the first month of autumn and with it brings changes to the weather of Cyprus and slowly gets us ready for Winter - - welcome November! But do not let the new weather push you indoors. Now is the time to go outside! Rediscover the warm clothing with your children and explore this transitional period of Cyprus.

There have been many studies about children and the outdoors that have refined and furthered our understanding that we have so many things to earn from nature, especially children. A simple walk in wildlife gives our little people the opportunity to come in contact with new things, stimulate their creativity and contribute to their learning, while also reducing stress, expanding their vocabulary and develops a sense of respect for other creatures.

Furthermore, playing in nature offers children the magic of multi-sensorial exploration where they can observe and interact with their surroundings. You yourself can see how it improves their communication skills, enhances their ability to work, broadens their physical activity and boosts their immune systems, which all in turn, of course, will make them happier. This gradual change in the seasons is a great occasion for you to encourage your children to begin to understand the world they live in, learning and experimenting through the nature.

Spending time together outdoors as a family encourages them to be responsible and protecting the environment. As role models we can begin to show how we ourselves are concerned for our environment, and your wonder at the natural beauty within the Summer-to-Autumn transition will rub off on them. By marvelling in the beauty of the natural world encourages a reminder that it is our obligation to stir the interest of our children for the natural environment as it is these little people that will take care of it in the future.

Outdoors Autumn Activities you could enjoy as family

A Rainy Day

Warm and waterproof clothing is a must as you go outside. Observe the cloud systems, run, dance and splash in the rain. After that, maybe your children are showing an interest in the Rain Cycle or about thunderbolts and how clouds are causing them. Small, easy experiments like these could help satisfy their curiosity.

A Cloudy Afternoon

Have a walk or a ride by bicycle on Pedhieos River Linear Park. or around Aliki (Salt Lake). You and your children could collect different falling leaves and make their own collection, perhaps observing the variety of shades that are scattered around. Who said sand toys are just for the beach and summer time! Get them out and have a dig in the wet soil near the river or around the fields near to the lake. Refine the olfactory sense and observe how the grass smells or the trees or the wet landscape. Mini beasts are preparing for the upcoming winter, so don't forget your magnifying glass so that you can see all the small details! Now that the salt is wet, the flamingos have also arrived to feed before their next migration. See how close you can get or invest in some binoculars to check them out. There is an abundance of bird species around the lake, keep an eye out for birds or animals that are living in these environments.

A Mountain Picnic

The Ministry of Agriculture has a variety of picnic sites for you to choose from which could give you the opportunity to breathe fresh crisp air and collect natural materials (sticks, pinecones, acorn tops etc) for craft activities like an autumn mobile. After a delicious meal, don’t hesitate to lie down on a bench for a rest, watching the leaves fall and listening the rustling of them, or perhaps cloud gazing for familiar shapes and animals. Listen to the sounds of nature and have a nap!

Agrotourism has been growing on the island in recent years and the official site for rural tourism where you will find many suggestions for alternative escapes. [Adults only: with these don’t forget to taste traditional warm wine “koumandaria” with grilled halloumi cheese in pita bread]…and for the children warm grapes jelly called “pallouze”!

These are just a few ideas to get you going which will surely inspire your own ideas!

Remember, children are born explorers and nature fills them with so much joy! When you step outside, remember to leave such phrases such as "will dirty your clothes" (pack a second), or "no running, you may hurt yourself" (pack a first aid kit). Give them the possibility to explore and feel with all of their senses to build a deep understanding of what Autumn is!

Because if “Winter is an etching, Spring a watercolour, Summer an oil painting, then Autumn is a mosaic of them all.” Stanley Horowitz


Andria is the Support Teacher of the Emerald classroom at Little Gems Montessori Nursery in Nicosia. If you'd like to know how we facilitate the change in seasons inside and outside the classroom, get in touch on 999 500 70.

Suggested reading:

White R. 2004. Young Children's Relationship with Nature: Its Importance to Children's Development & the Earth's Future.

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