By Jennifer Chung
Fall is almost here and it's truly a beautiful time of the year.
If you live in an area where the air is turning cool and the leaves are crisp and changing colors, it's even more amazing. Summer is now over, school is in full swing, football games are plentiful and kids are starting to anticipate Halloween. Fall offers a full range of fun activities for the whole family to enjoy - the options are really limitless.
Here are 10 of our favorite ones to share with you. So this weekend, get your family outside to enjoy this special time!
1. Take a nature walk. Make a list of things for your kids to find, such as: a yellow leaf, "pretty" rock, feather, pinecone (grab some extras for activity No. 9), small stick, etc. Give each family member a bag for their finds. Next, head to a nearby park, nature reserve or woods to get some fresh air, exercise, and collect your items.
2. Jump in leaves. Come on, who doesn't love a good jump into a big pile of leaves? Grab your rake and start piling up those leaves. Find your inner child by encouraging the whole family to take a running leap into a big pile of newly raked leaves. There'll be plenty of laughs and a perfect photo op!
3. Pick apples. This is the ideal time of year to find a local apple orchard and take the family apple picking. Apples are plentiful and at their best at this time of year. This activity is sure to create lasting family memories. To find an orchard near you, go to an online site such as PickYourOwn. When you get home, try your hand at making a few batches of applesauce to have on hand for winter. Homemade applesauce is very simple to make and your kids will love helping out.
4. Tailgate in your driveway. Host a kid-friendly tailgate party in your driveway and invite your neighbors and friends. Add a small fire pit to keep everyone warm and the kids can roast marshmallows or make s'mores. Make sure you have some warm apple cider for everyone! Then head out to a local football game and show your support.
5. Visit a pumpkin patch. Everyone loves the pumpkin patch and these days it's easy to find one. While you're there, visit the corn maze and go on a hayride. Then head out to the field to find yourself the perfect pumpkin to carve!
6. Host a pumpkin carving party. Annual pumpkin carving is customary in many families. Kick it up a notch by making it into a fun get-together. Include friends or just your family. Make up some popcorn and serve hot apple cider and let the carving begin!
7. Make a scarecrow. Have the family head to the backyard for some wholesome family fun by making your own scarecrow. You'll be amazed at how much everyone will enjoy creating the family scarecrow. Find some old jeans and shirt, and stuff them full with leaves or hay. Add a pumpkin for the head and place a straw hat on top. Voila!
8. Take a fall foliage drive. Around October (or earlier depending on where you live), pack the family in the car for a drive to view the changing of the leaves. Take note of the beautiful colors and gorgeous landscape. Ask everyone to take photos and combine them in a photo book or Facebook album. Make a picnic basket before you leave and take in the scenery while enjoying an outdoor meal.
9. Make homemade bird feeders. A great indoor or outdoor activity is making homemade bird feeders for winter. While on your nature walk, grab a few extra pinecones. Attach a string or ribbon before starting so the pinecones can hang from a tree branch. Using a small spatula or kid-friendly knife, coat the pinecones in peanut butter then roll them in bird seed or sunflower seeds. After they've dried, hang from your trees and watch the birds enjoy them over the winter.
10. Bake your favorite fall foods. Now is the perfect time to gather in the kitchen over a cup of hot chocolate and whip up an apple crisp or applesauce with your apples from the orchard, or use one of your pumpkins for making pumpkin bread. Families love to gather in the kitchen over food - it is the heart of most homes!
Finding fun fall activities to do with your family does not need to be complicated or costly. Just take the time to do a little planning and put your imagination to work. Channel your inner child and enjoy these carefree times.
ABOUT JENNIFER CHUNG
Jennifer Chung is a parenting expert and co-founder of Kinsights: part parenting community, part online health record. Kinsights provides parents with a safe place to seek answers to their questions while also helping them track their child's health information. Organize your child's growth and developmental milestones, immunizations, medications, allergies, and more. Connect with Kinsights at Kinsights.com to learn more and sign up. You also can follow them on Facebook/kinsights and Twitter (@kinsights).
Distributed by MCT Information Services