As the leaves turn and back-to-school routines start to settle, fall into fall with these fun family activities.
1. Leaf peeping
The colorful transformations of trees in autumn are truly dazzling! Take in one of nature’s most fascinating spectacles with your family and go leaf peeping. Go for a walk in your neighborhood or visit a local park and identify as many trees as you can. If you’re feeling like a bigger adventure, go on a day trip with nothing planned other than to admire the countless colors of the leaves!
2. Leaf rubbings
When admiring beautiful fall leaves with your kiddos, have them collect leaves that stand out to them. Encourage them to pick a variety of shapes, sizes, and textures. Once you’re back from leaf peeping, gather the leaves you collected, paper, and bits of broken crayons and do leaf rubbings together. The endless patterns your kids can create with this simple crafting technique will provide them with hours of entertainment.
3. Pumpkin picking
Visiting a pumpkin patch is a tradition that everyone should experience at least once. Pumpkin patches typically have pumpkins for carving and smaller pumpkins better suited for eating, so get some of both. If you’ve never cooked with fresh pumpkin, don’t be intimidated: it’s technically a squash, so cooking with it isn’t much different.
4. Decorate pumpkins
One of the best parts of fall is seeing creative pumpkin décor everywhere. Everyone can decorate pumpkins, no matter their age or ability. You don’t need to do intricate carving work to get in on the fun. You can even paint on pumpkins or apply other craft supplies to make any designs your imagination can conjure. Pumpkin patches are known for having displays that can be quite elaborate!
5. Bake with pumpkin
Whether you are using a pumpkin you picked yourself, or something you picked up in a can, you can’t let fall go by without cooking with pumpkin. Pumpkin works well with both sweet and savory flavors. Pumpkin soup? Spectacular. Pumpkin muffins? Miraculous. Pumpkin pie? Perfection. If you think you don’t like pumpkin, maybe you just haven’t had the right dish yet.
6. Roast pumpkin seeds
Don’t waste those seeds when you’re carving pumpkins or baking with them. Pumpkin seeds are an awesome snack. After you’ve cleaned off any remaining pulp from your seeds, dry them off, toss them lightly in oil and season any way you like. Even if you have a ton of seeds from all of your pumpkin projects, save ALL those seeds to roast. They store well, and are so addictivethat they won’t last as long as you think!
7. Add pumpkin spice to EVERYTHING!
It's hard to think of fall and not think of pumpkin spice these days! Even if you don’t want to add pumpkin to anything other than your Thanksgiving pie, add those pumpkin pie spices to other foods to get in the spirit of the season. Mix up a batch of powdered cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and ginger to have on hand so you can add a dash to your coffee, your pancakes, or whatever else inspires you!
8. Apple picking
There’s nothing quite like crunching into a crisp apple – expect for when it’s one you picked yourself! Some farms have both pumpkin patches and apple orchards, so you might even be able to pick both fall favorites with your family in the same day. If not, taking a trip to pick your own apples is worth it on its own. Your kids will be fascinated by the variety of shapes, sizes, colors, tastes, and textures that apples come in. And they can take pride inknowingthat they helped pick the food they’re enjoying later.
9. Bob for apples
A game of bobbing for apples can liven up any fall birthday party, Halloween party, or other gathering. Just fill a widemouthed bowl or tub with water and apples. Then let everyone try their best to pick one out by biting a stem with their hands behind their backs. You may even want to play this game at baby showers or other gatherings intended primarily for adults. Add a blind fold into the mix for an extra challenge.
10. Sip cider
Apple juice is great and all – but cider is something to get excited about! Fresh apple cider makes fall even more comfy and cozy. It’s good cold. It’s good hot. It’s good spiced. It’s good with lemon. It’s goodplain. It’s just plain awesome, really! Even if you can’t head straight to the source and get cider from an apple orchard directly, you’re almost certain to see fresh apple cider at your local grocery store once September rolls around.
11. Bake with apples
Fresh apples are such a treat on a fall day. But let’s be honest, one of the best parts about the fall harvest is all the sweets we can make with apples! Apple pie, apple sauce, apple butter, apple cider donuts... how do you pick a favorite?
12. Candy apples
Candy apples aren’t only tasty, they’re so, so fun to make! You can get as creative as you want with this project. First, decide what you want to be the main coating for your apples. The most common choices are caramel and chocolate. If you want to coat them in caramel, you can buy pre-made wrappers that fit over top of your apples. This is a great alternative to working with melted caramel or chocolate, especially with kids! You can add whatever you want to your coating from nuts, to crushed up candy pieces, to whatever your sweet tooth is craving.
13. Make a costume
Halloween is more fun when you’ve made your own costume. Rather than going out to buy a ready-made Halloween costume, challenge your kids to come up with ideas they can help make themselves. Brainstorm with your children to find ideas that they’re enthusiastic about, but are also realistic and cost effective. You can also create costumes together that incorporate items that they already have in their closest. A visit to your local thrift store can also help you find inspiration, not to mention, save some cash!
14. Trick out your treat bag
When it comes to trick or treating, the most important thing is to secure the bag! Otherwise, you’ve got nothing to help you carry your haul. Really, any kind of bag can work. But if your kiddos are feeling restless one fall afternoon, why not decorate your trick or treat bags to add some extra magic to your Halloween holiday? Gather up old pillow cases and some fabric paint. Then, let your kids create whatever creepy, crawly designs they want to personalize their trick or treat bag. This can also ensure that no one mixes up their loot with someone else’s – we can’t have any candy snatching, now, can we?
15. Go trick or treating
Once you’ve created the perfect costume AND your own trick or treat bag, it’s time to head out and get all the candy you can! Many communities designate certain days near October 31st for trick or treating since Halloween doesn’t always fall on a weekend. Decide when and where your family will go trick or treating, and then get ready for the big event. We all love an excuse to play dress up and eat sweet treats, so don’t be afraid to get in on the fun, too.
16. Visit a haunted house
Once your kids start to age out of trick or treating, try celebrating Halloween by visiting a haunted house attraction in your area. Many amusement parks have haunted house rides, though you’re also likely to find other haunted house attractions organized locally in your community. Some of the largest include haunted corn mazes, which combine two favorite fall activities in one.
17. Have a movie night
When the weather starts to get cooler and the days get shorter, we tend to find ourselves indoors more and more. Light up your nights with a family movie night. Of course, Halloween movie marathons are always a favorite at this time of year. But, you can pick any movie theme, or no theme at all! Just cozy up with your favorite snacks and check off all those blockbusters on your watch list.
18. Go on a hay ride
You’re likely to find hayrides offered when you visit pumpkin patches, apple orchards, corn mazes, and other favorite fall spots. But that doesn’t mean you should overlook this essential autumn activity. Just the words “hayride” instantly bring back thesweet, earthy scent of hay in the crisp fall air.
19. Make a pot of soup
The right bowl of soup can turn around the dreariest day.Especially if it’s paired with an ooey-gooey grilled cheese sandwich! There are so many great soup recipes out there that are fast, easy, and affordable to prepare. Making soup is also a great way to use up a little of this and a little of that in your fridge. That way you can reduce food waste and save on your grocery bill.
20. Take family Christmas photos
As soon as you’re done carving pumpkins with your kids, you’ll practically be baking Christmas cookies! There are so many things to do to prepare for Christmas, and the list only seems to get longer every year. One thing you can check off early is taking your family Christmas photos. You can book everyone’s favorite holiday tradition – photos with Santa –at hundreds of locations in North America easily online. And when you schedule your visit in advance, you can beat the crowds and have time to get personalized holiday cards made featuring your Santa photos. Just keep your eyes on whereissanta.com to be the first to book your spot!
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