Autumn is here…hurrah! I love autumn. Crunchy leaves, cold crisp sunny days, beautiful trees, the smell of bonfires in the air, a reason to drink hot chocolate again. Bliss. Last week Florence collected quite a few conkers on a trip to the park, and it got me thinking. Surely there are lots of easy, quick games to be played with these fabulous shiny little balls of nature*? I know we can thread them onto string but for the littler ones that’s a bit tricky and they will just generally whack each other until one of them cries. Trust me, I’ve tried it.
So we got playing and here’s what we came up with…
- Catch the Conker…use masking tape or string and tie some form of tube to a door or wall. I used a bit of card and masking tape here. A Pringles tube would work well. Give them a cup each. See if they can pop a conker in the top and then catch it with the cup. For older ones give them a ‘bat’ and see if they can “splat the rat” as it used to be called at my school fair (anyone else?) i.e. try to hit the conker when it appears at the bottom of the chute.
- Crazy Conker Tunnels…get a cardboard box and cut holes in one edge as shown in the picture. Write numbers on the top of each hole. 1-5 for little ones, and then whatever your little one is working on at the moment. For us it’s tens to 100. Roll the conkers through the holes and see how many conkers go in each. We then cut a hole in the back of the box so the kids could go inside and see the conkers roll through the holes!
- Number Hunt…write numbers on the conkers. We did 1-20. I then hid them around the house and as we found them we made the line so we could see which numbers were missing. Lots of counting and number recognition. You could play The Number Thief like this too, to mix it up a bit.
- Conker Races…choose 3 conkers each. Design your ‘conker team’ with a bit of paint or nail varnish. Make a ramp out of a piece of card or a sofa cushion and race each of them down. Get your wee ones keeping score. See who’s conker team wins.
- Name Search…write a letter from their name on each of the conkers. Put them in a sand tray or a large bowl of water then give your child a spoon/sieve/digger to retrieve them. For very little ones they could just look for the first letter of their name amongst lots of letters. For older ones, do middle and surnames. For very big kids, see if they can make up CVC words.
Five quick and easy games you can play with conkers that will work on…hand-eye coordination, number recognition and ordering, letter and sound recognition, competition, winning and losing, taking turns, speech and language in general but specifically positional language (under, behind, on top of), fine and gross motor skills – basically if you played them all you would tick off nearly everything on the curriculum within the confines of your living room, as easy at that! And then you COULD feel like a super hero (or one of the next closest things…a teacher! 😉 Just don’t forget THE GOLDEN RULE!
If you’ve got very little ones please pop to @beckys_treasure_baskets on Instagram for some lovely sensory ideas with Conkers too.
BONUS GAME! As usual the kids came up with their own game to add so we also played a version of marbles/boules with them. One was a target conker and with the others we rolled/slid them across the floor to see who could get the closest to it, or hit it. Lots of giggles and conkers flying under sideboards. Still don’t think we’ve retrieved them all!
*I promise I’m not also writing a dirty novel alongside this blog 😉
NB: Apparently conkers aren’t a thing in America? Or anywhere else for that matter. Just the British that are bonkers for conkers then? That figures…!