We set off on an autumn walk to collect leaves and make sun print pictures! 

Oh my goodness, I love Autumn! I’m split between wanting to be out on the water with all that clear, crisp air and the wind in my hair and wanting to walk through crunchy leaves with my hands shoved in my coat pockets, breathing out clouds of dragon breath while my smallest boy races on ahead. Last weekend the walk won and he and I set off to one of our favourite haunts with a picnic and a bounce in our steps.

Picnics don’t stop for colder weather in this family; on boat or land it’s a flask of hot soup to warm our bones, a veg packed frittata or simply bread and cheese with grapes. He was impatient to get out after a long week in a classroom so I didn’t stop to make anything from scratch – I just grabbed the simplest things! Some rosemary breadsticks and carrot batons with hummus, a bunch of grapes, a handful of tomatoes and a Little Yeos yoghurt would serve us very well.

Packing a picnic

In Spring we gather elderflowers by the river on this walk, in Summer we hide in the labyrinth which has been planted in the meadows and in autumn we collect leaves, pine cones and sticks to make things with when we get home. We have been walking here together since before we had children, we spent hours here with all of them as they grew and I’m now enjoying spending time here with just him, he’s a fabulous country companion!

This time we were lucky enough to spot a dragon fly which seemed to be just as curious about him as he was about it. They chased each other around the perimeter of the pond for a good ten minutes, stopping every now and again to stare into each other’s eyes.

We waited patiently on the river bank to see if the heron would stride into view or the kingfisher would zoom by showing off his iridescent plumage. Children love familiar places – life doesn’t always have to be full of new adventures and a constant barrage of stuff, it can be slow paced and warmly lived. We love returning to the familiar to see how it’s getting along, observing the seasonal changes, noticing how we too have grown and changed.

Autumn walks

We saw a family standing on the bridge where we have played many games of Pooh Sticks – I smiled at the memory then he made me laugh out loud as he suggested we could play Duck Sticks with the little family of quackers which were swimming by ‘We could sedate them then throw them over the bridge and see which one appears on the other side first!’ – well, we could…but, no, I think not!

Bradford on Avon Bridge

We stopped to catch our breath and eat our picnic on a bench and we nattered about his week and his plans for the rest of the weekend.

Autumn Picnics with Little Yeos

Wandering back the way we had come we filled our pockets with autumn leaves before ending up at the play park for a nice swing.

Autumn Picnics - Walking with Children

Once home, we pressed our leaves between large books just until they laid flat and then we made some sun print pictures with them. I did this years ago with the older ones but had completely forgotten to do it with him. It’s a lovely, easy little thing to do with things you collect on a family walk or with things you find around the house. All you need to make sun print pictures is some sun print paper, the sun, some interesting objects and a tray of water.

Our Sun Print Pictures

We had maple leaves

Sun Print Pictures - Maple Leaves

And oak leaves

Sun print pictures - English Oak Leaves

But we decided that we needed something a bit more dramatic for our sun print pictures; something which would let more light through and make a more interesting print – a leaf skeleton did the trick, isn’t it beautiful?!

sun print pictures - leaf skeleton

So, as Autumn gets into its stride, we’ll be out there. We’ll be carving a wake through the waves, we’ll be climbing hills and flying kites, we’ll be wading through mud in our wellies and we’ll be collecting nature’s treasure either to eat or to turn into something – maybe a leaf bowl, a wreath or a cute creature.

how to make a leaf bowl

And we’ll have a picnic with us every time! I’ve had a working relationship with Yeo Valley for as long as I’ve been blogging and a personal relationship for as long as I’ve been a parent. Their yoghurts have helped to raise my brood whether we are sharing a large pot between us (we always try the special edition flavours throughout the year!) or tucking into Little Yeos individual pots. We don’t live far from the Yeo Valley Farm and I do like being able to buy good organic yoghurt which has been produced locally and contains no nasties!

We grabbed two small pots of raspberry fromage frais for our picnic (grown ups are allowed to eat them too you know!), they are just the right size for picnics or lunch boxes. He also likes tucking into the larger sized creamy yoghurt pots and has one of these when he comes home from school or for supper most days.

You can also buy a 6 pack of Natural Fromage Frais with no added sugar which is ideal for weaning. Mix them with pureed fruit or veg to create your own flavours and you have a lovely organic start to life! When you get to weaning you can move on to the 6 pack of fruited Fromage Frais.There are 4 recipes in this range all made with creamy organic fromage frais and organic fruit purées and containing no added refined sugar. Finally there’s the larger sized pots which come in a 4-pack of yoghurts and are just the job for bigger children’s appetites. Creamy Yoghurt, some puréed fruit and just a little bit of organic sugar – he loves these! Have a look at the Yeo Valley website to see what’s available for children and to see what flavours they currently have as a limited edition! 

Do you have favourite walks – places you return to again and again?

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. This post also contains an affiliate link. Both these things enable me to keep writing Thinly Spread! 

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