It’s fall, fall, fall! Even though the calendar declared it a few weeks ago, it is just now starting to look and feel like fall here in Boston. I couldn’t be happier!
Our family has many quirky (and not so quirky) traditions, and many of these seem to revolve around my favorite season. Something about fall just entices me, draws me in, and begs to be enjoyed. Over the years we have experienced many fun–and frugal–fall family activities. I wanted to share a few of them with you today.
Top 10 Must-Do Fall Family Activities
1. Take a Leaf Walk
Pile the kids into the car and take the whole family to the nearest county, state, or national park. Choose a trail that will suit all hiking levels and take off. Our children are little now, so we tend to favor small parks with mile loops through lightly wooded areas. However, if you have older children who are good hikers, take off into the back country. Truly experience the beauty of the changing leaves.
Bonus: Take pictures and frame them for instant seasonal decor.
2.Have a Bonfire
Summer seems to have a monopoly on grilling and campfires, but fall is, in my opinion, the best time for them. The warmth of the fire is especially inviting when there is a slight chill in the air. So, pull out the hot dogs and marshmallows. Enjoy an evening of outdoor eating that will last long after the s’mores have been devoured.
Bonus: Tell stories around the fire–funny stories from your day or your past or even ghost stories.
3. Go Apple Picking
Find an apple orchard within driving distance and devote one Saturday morning to filling baskets with Jonagolds, Honey Crisps, and Pink Ladies. Many apple orchards also have hay rides, apple goodies for sale, and….apple cider donuts. If you haven’t tried one yet, go right now. You won’t be sorry.
Bonus: When you return from apple picking, spend time in the kitchen cooking up apple pies, apple sauce, or apple butter. Yum!
4. Rake Leaves
Do you remember the thrill you got when jumping into a huge pile of leaves? Flying through the air, landing with a crunch, and watching red and gold sparks shoot everywhere? It’s still fun. Plus, your kids will love it, too. Remember, piles under a low tree branch are golden–hours of fun there.
Bonus: Teach your kids how to make leaf houses. Rake the leaves into outlines of rooms and let them play house outside.
5. Do a Leaf Craft
I am quite possibly the least crafyt mom in the world. However, even I can help my kids do Leaf Rubbings. (This post from First Palatte walks you through it.) Little ones also love to do Apple Prints (as demonstrated by I Can Teach My Child). My elementary aged son had a blast making Leaf People (courtesy of Meet the Dubiens). Let your inner preschool teacher shine as you recreate craft projects from your past!
Bonus: Make a gallery wall of your children’s fall artwork. Frame some of the best to use next year.
6. Go Through a Corn Maze
Confession time: Corn mazes freak me out. I start feeling a little claustrophobic and wonder if I will be spending the rest of my life among dried out corn stalks. However, the rest of my family loves them, so I conquer my fear one day a year. A local farm even has a fun scavenger hunt to do while you’re in the maze, which keeps even the youngest child entertained.
Bonus: Divide into teams and race each other to the finish. The team with the best time gets hot chocolate first!
7. Carve a Pumpkin
There’s a reason that every one of your Facebook friends posts a picture of their toddler with pumpkin goo all over their hands. Pumpkins and kids are just a cute combination! Let the children draw diagrams of the faces, pull out the seeds (or the “pumpkin guts” if you have elementary school-aged boys), and help carve. Light a candle and enjoy the pumpkin in all of its spooky glory.
Bonus: Find a local pumpkin carving contest and enter. You will be amazed at all of the creative entries!
8. Plan a Scary Movie Night
When the weather starts to get cold, there’s nothing better than cuddling on the couch with a family movie. Pop some popcorn on the stove, make some hot chocolate or apple cider, and settle in for some tame scaring. This year we are going to watch The Wizard of Oz with our third grader and kindergartener. We also watch It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown together each year. If your kids are older, why not try Hocus Pocus or Hotel Transylvania?
Bonus: Invite another family over and make the hot chocolate a little “grown up” for the adults!
9. Shop the Farmer’s Market
Farmer’s markets are amazing places in the fall. Each week I seem to discover a new type of squash. I swear that my regular producers know me as the lady who says, “So, just how do you cook this thing?” You’ll also find all types of pumpkins, decorative gourds, sweet potatoes, apples, pears, and everything else needed for some seriously tasty fall dinners.
Bonus: Cook a fall-themed dinner together using ingredients you bought at the market. You can even make it a “Chopped” themed evening and come up with an appetizer, entree, and dessert.
10. Read Fall Books Together
Finally, pull your kiddos close and settle in with a good fall book. The littlest ones will love Lois Ehlert’s classic Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf or Steve Metzger’s We’re Going on a Leaf Hunt. For elementary kids try Betsy Maestro’s Why Do Leaves Change Colors and Apples, Apples, Apples by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace.
Bonus: Create your own Family Fall Book. Add pictures you’ve taken, crafts you’ve created, and have the kids write down their memories. Instant scrapbook!
Fall is the perfect time for some family fun. So, what are you waiting for? Go jump in a leaf pile. You’ll be glad you did.
What does your family do in the fall?
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