Wait, it’s October already?! Fall really creeped up on me this year, and now that it’s fall, winter is coming. The mornings are starting out a little cooler, the days are getting shorter, and (eek!) the Halloween costumes are showing up in stores.
As much as I hate it, I love it. Fall is a wonderful season. A welcomed refresher from the long, hot summer days; even for a lady like me who could happily bake in the sun all day, every day. If you’re a fan of jeans and sweaters, pumpkin spice lattes (or pumpkin everything), cooler temperatures, the kids going back to school (did I just write that?), or the thought of Christmas just a few short months away, there’s something for everyone to love!
So whether you’re dreading or happily ushering in the change in season, read on for some fun, NEW ideas for what to do with your kids this fall. It doesn’t matter the weather, there’s always something to do outside.
1. Corn maze. This is a classic in my book – (although I’ve never actually been to one myself)! It’s on my to-do list every year and for some reason we never make it happen. I’ll blame it on the fact that we lived the city life for the past few years, and it really is harder to get into farmland depending on where you live. But make this year THE year, to start new traditions that aren’t focused around Christmas or the holidays. Children will love running around the rows of corn, and you’ll get your exercise chasing them while carrying your newborn. And even better, there are almost always more activities for the kids, like face painting, pumpkin pickin’, photo ops, hay rides, and sometimes even a petting zoo!
2. Pick your own. The flowers are starting to look a little wilted, the blooms less frequent, but what better time to pick your pleasure in flowers and bring a beautiful fall bouquet into your home! You have plenty of options, like open fields (wildflowers are still plentiful) and designated pick your own gardens, or maybe even your own backyard! If you want the flowers to continue to grow, snip a couple at a time from the same plant, and leave about 1’ from the ground so the stem has enough to grow more flowers.
So, while flowers are on their way out, veggies are on their way in! Squash, corn, pumpkin, zucchini, potatoes, carrots… there’s so much good food to be picked and eaten. Find a nearby farm that offers pick-your-own, or check out your local farmer’s market or farm stand for veggies that are fresh and in season.
Pumpkins! Check out the pumpkin patch and pick out your perfectly plump pumpkin. Have fun searching through the field for that special pumpkin, and maybe a few smaller ones for the kids. If they can carry it, they can have it! Take them home, carve em’ up, bake the seeds, or just paint the outside with the littles and avoid all the mess of pumpkin guts!
3. Oktoberfest. In today’s wonderful world filled with beer and wine to get us through the day, why not celebrate with other parents and adults at your town’s Oktoberfest?! Here in Colorado, there are plenty of city-specific parties and events, generally open to the public. Some do have an entry fee, but there are also plenty of free events where you pay per drink instead. These public events cater to families with kids, with bouncy castles, dancing, music, and yummy treats to gobble up. Can’t find an Oktoberfest nearby? Host your own party, and dress up the littles in dirndl dresses and lederhosen!
4. Hike. This is one of my favorite times of the year to go hiking. It still gets warm enough to break a sweat at higher elevation, but you’re not roasting in the heat and avoiding any midday excursions. Be sure to bring a jacket with you, but not always necessary. Use this opportunity to try a longer hike, now that you’ll have treasured daylight hours that you don’t have to spend looking for your next shady rest spot.
If you’re interested in hiking but not sure where to start or what to bring, read my latest post on how to hike with a toddler!
5. Press leaves. As the leaves start to change color, try something different than the typical ‘throw the kids in the car and hope they don’t fuss during the long car ride to see the fall colors’. Instead, make it an interactive activity to find the best leaves and collect them all into a basket. Gather a few books (old textbooks work great – I’ve finally found a use for these!) and have fun placing leaves and flowers into the pages of the books. I prefer to use a paper towel around the plants, to prevent sticking to the pages and to protect any valuable pages you might have. Wait a couple of months and, voila! An exciting surprise that I can almost guarantee the kids will have forgotten about!
6. Watch the sunset. With the shorter days comes something good: being able to watch the sunset with the family without keeping up the littles ones way past their bedtime. Is it just my kid who goes to sleep as early as 7pm? Believe it or not, it used to be around 5 or 6, and we were able to push it back gradually. I cherish our nighttime as a couple again, but it makes it harder to relax on the porch as a family when the sun doesn’t set until 8:30 at night. Thank you, shorter fall days! Get the kids ready for bed a little early, and head outside for a nice little picnic with a view.
7. Try a new recipe. Now’s the time to experiment! Maybe you’ve been eyeing that one recipe for weeks now, and haven’t had any reason to make it. Or maybe you’re looking into bringing something new this year to the holiday potluck. A change in season is the perfect time to do something different, make a change or create a new habit. Once the holidays come around – trust me, you won’t have a lot of free time! So how does cooking in the kitchen count as “outdoorsy”? Bring it on your next picnic, use as a snack break while raking the leaves in the yard or on your next hike!
Looking for a new recipe? Try this delicious pumpkin bread recipe, and you’ll get plenty of compliments!
8. Football. YES, please. Football is big in our family, and it’s hard to get anything done on game day. Why not make it a family affair? If you can’t seem to understand how the game works even though you’ve been told only about 20 times, you can still participate. Is fashion more your thing? Find a cute outfit for the little one to wear on game day. Or bring the game outside during halftime and make your own rules to football games at your place.
No matter what you value as a family, there’s something for everyone. Fall is a great time to be outdoors, and it doesn’t last for long so enjoy it while you can!
What do you and your family enjoy about fall?