Say goodbye to flip-flops and sunblock and hello to cozy sweaters and all of the delicious warm beverages you can handle! Fall is here, and families are adjusting their schedules as school kicks into high gear.
Just because summer is over doesn’t mean your family has to put away the fun for the year. Between homework and extracurricular activities, you can still find plenty of time to enjoy seasonal activities with the whole family.
Looking for something to do this weekend? Try one of these classic fall activities:
- Get Crafty
Take your pick from the many fall craft choices available and make it a party! Put on your favorite tunes or podcasts, or keep the music low and take advantage of the time to talk, laugh and share as a family.
- Bake, Bake, Bake!
Anyone else feel less inclined to bake when it’s over 90 degrees outside? Now that it’s finally cool enough to run the oven without risking heatstroke, it’s time to dive into fall baking.
Go nuts with seasonal favorites like pumpkin, apple, pecan or sweet potato marshmallow pie. Bake pumpkin, zucchini or banana quick breads, or try your hand at whoopie pies, monkey bread or molasses cookies.
- Have a Family Photoshoot
A fall family photoshoot ticks all the boxes:
- Get an updated family picture to display at home or at work
- Get a jumpstart on your Christmas cards
- Make beautiful memories set against sunset foliage
- Do all that without melting in the summer heat or freezing in the winter cold
You can pay big bucks for high-end professional photos. For more affordable options, you can give a chance to a young freelancer, enlist a talented family member or use the tried-and-true tripod and timer technique.
- Start Picking
What better way to prepare for a fall crafting party or baking bonanza than to pick your own supplies?
Heading to a local apple orchard or pumpkin patch has become a quintessential fall activity. Enjoy apple cider, let the kids run free and come away with the perfect pumpkins to decorate your porch and enough apples for pies and homemade applesauce.
- Get Scared!
You don’t have to wait until Halloween to give your family a good fright! Look for local ghost tours, haunted houses and fields of screams to give your family a scare to remember.
Use your kids’ ages and maturity levels as a guide. You’re aiming for a fun family adventure, not reasons for therapy. Kids too young for big scares? Have a cozy scary movie night with blankets, popcorn, and age-appropriate scary movies.
- Discover Your Local Playground
Do you know where the nearest playground is? There are many hidden gems tucked away in quiet neighborhoods, so you may have one just a few streets over and not even know it.
Local playgrounds are a great way to let kids run, jump, learn and explore. While there is a great benefit to kids learning risk-management on the playground, safety is still a concern. Roughly 50,000 American kids go to the emergency room each year after falling from playground equipment. Keep a close eye on younger children and give everyone a refresh on common-sense safety tips. And read up on what to do if a child falls and hits his head.
- Check Out the Foliage
Is there anything more magnificent than the fiery reds, oranges, yellows, and golds of fall foliage?
Take the family out to take in your fill of this year’s beautiful, autumnal landscapes. Take a drive to view the leaves or make it more active by biking down wooded roads or taking a hike through the forest instead and search for nature treasures.
- Get Lost in a Corn Maze …
… and have fun finding your way out again.
Forget fancy escape rooms. Take your family on the classic escape challenge: a corn maze. Head to your local maze and spend a fun afternoon engaging your brains as you navigate the cornfield.
- Find Local Festivals and Fairs
Harvest festivals, local fairs, parades, and farm shows: Fall is full of opportunities for your family to come together with the wider community.
Local fairs and festivals have a lot to offer, from tractor rides to petting zoos, contests and games to delicious food. Consider having your kids enter artwork, photography, baked goods or other talents for judging. They could walk away with a blue ribbon!
- Take a Non-Summer Vacation
Who says family vacations have to be during the summer? Take a long weekend and head up to the mountains or into the woods for a family camping adventure.
Whether your idea of an outdoors adventure is a top-of-the-line camper or backpacking to a remote location, make sure you remember the one crucial ingredient: s’mores.
In fact, let’s make that the one rule for every fall activity: Add s’more s’mores.
Jennifer Landis the writer and blogger behind Mindfulness Mama. She’s a proud mama and wife who writes about healthy living, fitness, yoga, and parenting. She loves peanut butter, drinking tea, distance running, and Doctor Who. Follow her on Twitter @JenniferELanids.