Autumn Fun: 10 Ideas for Enjoying the Fall Season
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10 Autumn Fun Ideas
Fall Fun Ideas
Autumn is my favorite time of the year. The kids are back to school, the air is crisp and clean; brilliant leaves cling to their last breaths of life and those that have lost their battle rustle along the lane on which I live, creating a familiar and comforting sound. I can break out my favorite sweaters and take a brisk walk without becoming bathed in sweat. The sun sets in breathtaking fashion at a respectable hour, and I am encouraged to relax a bit earlier in the evening, windows open to the increasingly frigid night air. Autumn even smells different; the aroma of freshly baked pumpkin pies and apple crisp arouse the senses. The smell of logs burning and orchards whose trees are bursting with apples begging to be picked practically beg me to remain outdoors as long as I possibly can, so as not to miss one second of the wonder that the season holds.
I pity those that do not find the magic in this season; those that only mourn the waning days of summer and spend the “off-season” willing its return. So I thought I might take a moment to share some wonderful ideas for fall fun that will hopefully bring you and your family together to discover the complete joy and harmony of the earth’s most spectacular season!
Visit the Farm
Many communities, especially those in the Midwest, have farms within driving distance that are open to the public. These farms feature such fall-fun activities as hayrides, pumpkin picking, apple picking, corn mazes, horseback riding, tractor rides, and petting zoos. They are idea for families with elementary and middle school age children. Many of the farms also have farm stores featuring freshly baked pies and cobblers, caramel apples, popcorn, jams, jellies, breads and other goods made with produce fresh from the farm. Grab a tall glass of apple cider or a cup of hot chocolate and choose the activities that appeal to you. If you love the great outdoors, this is a wonderful family activity!
Baking and Canning
If you’re like most people, the aroma of freshly baked goods in your home creates a welcoming sense of warmth and friendship. Once you’ve been to the farm or orchard and picked your fruit, return home get busy! Baking or canning both make great family activities. Have a fun conversation around the kitchen table while peeling, coring, washing and slicing your fruits. Roll out a homemade crust. Let the kids add the ingredients and mix them up. The best part, of course, is eating your creation!
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Decorate for Halloween
Autumn fun would never be complete without spooky Halloween decorations. When visiting the local farms or farmer’s coop, you can pick up some hay bales and corn stalks to add a little extra harvest pizzazz to your front porch or yard. Corn stalks look great tethered to a lamp post. If you don’t have a lot of Halloween decorations, you can find great ideas for making your own in any number of online sites or seasonal magazines. Add spooky scarecrows to your garden; turn your yard into a dark and ominous graveyard, or if the macabre side of Halloween doesn’t appeal to you, add your own tongue-in-cheek flair to it.
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Leaf Pile Diving
If you live in a neighborhood with large, mature trees that dump copious amounts of leaves on your lawn, it can be frustrating. You rake, and more leaves fall. Instead of fretting over the workload in your front lawn, reset your mind. Those leaves actually make a great activity. Get the kids to help you rake them into the larges pile or piles possible. Then dive in! If you have slide or swing set in your yard, you might rake the piles so that you can slide or swing right into them. And don’t let the kids have all the fun! Mom and dad should get in on this too!
- Awesome Halloween Treats
No Halloween party is complete without a table full of spooky and delicious treats to set the scene. These ideas are sure to tickle your taste buds and impress guests of all ages!
There are several ways to decorate pumpkins. Maybe the kids just want to use paints or markers to draw silly faces on them. Use yard or raffia for the hair and top off with a silly hat. But if carving is your style there are amazingly intricate patterns out there that will have all your neighbors talking about your awesome pumpkins! You can find the patterns at any number of farm shops and discount stores such as Wal-Mart, Shopko or Target. All you have to do is remove the top of the pumpkin and dig out the seeds and guts. Next, tape the pattern to your pumpkin and use the small poker to transfer the pattern to your pumpkin. Then remove the paper pattern, and use the carving utensils provided to carve along the dotted lines. Once you’ve got your pumpkin carved and the edges are neat and precise, light a candle, set it into your jack-o-lantern and voila! You’ve got an amazing decoration. If you aren’t interested in that much detailed carving, you can design and carve from your own pattern.
The colors are amazing at this time of year. The best way to see them is by horseback. Many communities have farms or stables nearby that feature horseback riding as a formal activity. Riders often get to choose the horses they want to ride and trails are typically well-groomed and safe. The horses have trod across those trails countless times, so they know the way. All you have to do is sit back and enjoy. See how many different forms of wildlife you can spot while riding. Breath in the crisp fall air. Listen to the rustling of the leaves and trickling streams nearby and allow yourself to relax and meditate to the sound of hoof beats on the path.
Fall Color Tours
If horseback riding isn’t your thing, that’s okay. Driving in the country to appreciate the fall leaves is still a great fun way to be outdoors and appreciate the beautiful scenery. Map out your trip ahead of time and when possible, choose routes that are less traveled on days and times when traffic is guaranteed to be minimal. Bring a camera, a blanket and a picnic. Pulling off the road to enjoy a thermos of hot chocolate or cider under a brilliant red tree can be quite poetic. You might also choose to spend a bit more time and money by finding a quaint bed and breakfast somewhere and spending two or three days there. You can hike, bike, picnic and sightsee at your leisure before collapsing into your cozy room at the inn. Wake in the morning to a homemade, farm-fresh breakfast. Mmmm. Talk about relaxing!
Sightseeing by Waterway
We’ve covered the various ways that one might appreciate the fall colors by land. Don’t forget the water! There is something so serene about floating down a river in your kayak or canoe. If you don’t own one, there are plenty of places that rent. Kayaks also come in double format if that is more your style, but I prefer paddling my own. Dress warmly, as the weather always seems colder when on the water. Personal flotation devices are always provided by the purveyors. If you don’t have a kayak bag, bring along a large ziplock baggie for your car keys, wallet and cell phone, just in case you tip. If you blow air into the bag before zipping it, it will float if you tip. The advantage to sightseeing by waterway is that the streams and channels you have access to give you access to areas that you often cannot reach by car or sometimes, even on foot. There is also an unparalleled peacefulness on the water that one simply must experience to appreciate.
While summer may be too hot to enjoy sitting around a fire, spring is often too wet and winter is just too darned cold, fall is just right! Build a bonfire or use a small grill or fire pit to create a cozy campfire in your own backyard. Make smores, roast marshmallows or hotdogs and tell ghost stories. There’s something magical and mystical about sitting around a fire. So build one and see what transpires at your house! Just be certain to take proper precautions to prevent your fire from spreading. Due to the dry air and blowing leaves and browning grass, it is wise to dampen the earth surrounding your fire pit in order to prevent floating embers from setting fire to the surrounding area.
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Create a Fall Project
There are many projects that you can create using items from the natural world. They make great activities for families, so be sure to enlist the help of your children. First, you must collect the items you will need, based upon the project you’ve chosen.
a. Autumn Harvest Wreaths. You can purchase the twig wreaths at a local craft store along with colorful ribbons in harvest colors such as gold, orange, rust, or burgundy. Then find the accents to finish off your wreath while out hiking. Great items include acorns, pinecones, chestnuts, colorful leaves, pine boughs, pussy willows and cattails.
b. Leaf Preservation. Kids love to preserve their leaves by ironing them into collages between two pieces of waxed paper. Be sure to choose the most colorful, diversely shaped assortment of leaves possible.
c. Charcoal Leaf Imprints. All you need are a few sheets of thin tracing paper pencils and leaves with intricate patterns that will make interesting sketches. Place the leaves under the tracing paper and color over them using the charcoal or the side of a pencil lead.
d. Centerpieces. Create magnificent centerpieces out of hollowed out pumpkins. First cut a hole in the top of your pumpkin. Clean out the insides and allow it to dry. Place a Styrofoam ball or half ball into the center and insert a variety of stemmed accents into the Styrofoam so that they protrude nicely from the mouth of the pumpkin. Items to use include pine boughs, cattails, pussy willows, and Chinese Lantern plants. You can add pinecones, red berries, acorns or chestnuts as accents.
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