School’s out, but what do you do with the little ones? With carpets of fallen leaves for kicking, colourful fungi to discover and conkers to collect, autumn is the perfect time to head outside for some wild fun with the family.

The education team at Sutton Courtenay Environmental Education Centre (SCEEC) near Didcot are hosting a Spook-tacular Science Halloween Special for accompanied 4-11 year olds at the nature reserve.

“It’s the perfect way for families to spend some time outside during half term to explore the spookier side of our nature reserve,” says education officer, Charlotte Evetts.

“Crunch through the leaves to explore the outdoor activity trail and you can mix your own herbal potions, catch flies like a toad, discover extinct monsters and explore some gooey natural slime.”

Families can come inside to warm up by the wood stove while they make a batty candle lantern to take home or design their own spider. There is also a story-telling session about some very unusual pumpkins.

The ghostly special runs from 10am- 2pm until October 31, but do book in advance.

Witney Gazette:

Woodlands in autumn are full of fun for families. At Warburg Nature Reserve, nestled in the Chilterns just north of Henley, children can become nature detectives and follow the nature trail.

Borrow a backpack from the interpretation centre and explore the reserve. The trail was designed by one of the wildlife trust’s trainees and changes each season.

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At this time of year children can look for some of the 900 different species of fungi that have been recorded at the reserve. There are colourful, autumn leaves to collect with which to make an autumn collage.

Discover who has been nibbling nuts, which mini-beasts shelter under logs, and what animals live on the reserve, as tracks on muddy paths reveal the secret life of the reserve.

Families can also follow a Creepy Creatures nature trail which features activity stations including bird spotting, owl sounds, and mammal tracking.

Read more: The truth behind our loveable badgers

There are lots of activities that help wildlife that you can do at home in your garden as well.

Some bees come out of their winter homes on warm days in late winter and early spring. If you plant some bulbs now these will be ready to provide a boost of pollen and nectar for them. Why not make planting bulbs a family activity, you could each fill a pot with bulbs and see whose attracts more bees next year. Snowdrops and crocuses are good choices as they bloom early and will be ready for any bees that appear.

Witney Gazette:

Did you know that ivy’s tiny green flowers give some bees a final boost of nectar to top up their stores and last them through the winter? If you’ve got some ivy growing in your garden, leave some of it for the bees. Other insects spend the winter hidden in the shelter of its leaves and birds eat the dark ivy berries, so it really is a great plant for all sorts of wildlife.

Whether you’re staying at home or getting out and about this half-term, make sure you indulge your wild side.

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