Fall Activities for Kids
Fall Activities for Kids
If you have children, you probably find yourself looking for fun activities for kids on a regular basis. I know we do. We have nine grandchildren, so we sort of have to. The usual activities might come to mind first, but think outside the box, too. The autumn months are especially nice for outdoor activities for kids. There’s usually plenty of fair weather, and the heat of summer has disappeared. Summer heat is a real problem here in the Deep South, where July and August can be like a sauna. Most southerners tend to stay in the air conditioning, in the pool, in a lake, or in the ocean surf to escape the heat and humidity. When fall brings a respite from the misery, we gladly embrace it and begin thinking about fall activities for kids that we can enjoy with the grandchildren. There’s usually a lot going on in the way of fairs and festivals in the fall months, too. Check out the following fall activities for kids that we enjoy doing with our grandchildren! Hopefully, they’ll give you some ideas about activities for kids that might be available in your part of the country.
Paid Activities for Kids
There’s usually no shortage of activities for kids that you have to pay for. These include the regulars like theme parks, amusement parks, children’s museums, aquariums, and zoos. There are also some other paid-for activities for kids that aren’t quite so commercial in nature. For example, just up the interstate from us is a scenic train ride that kids love. Participants ride the train some thirty or forty miles to a nearby town, where they have time to look around and have lunch. Most kids around here rarely have the opportunity to ride a real train, so this is a great family activity.
Learning activities are always a good idea. If your kids learn something while having fun, it can be a great experience. Such great fall activities for kids might include visiting a living history museum, where the kids can enjoy hands-on activities. We’re fortunate to have just such a museum about a mile away, and the grandkids love it! They get to see what farming life was like in the late 1800s, and they can pet the animals, try their hand at printing with an old-fashioned printing press, sample country cooking, sit in on a lesson at the one-room schoolhouse, and tour all kinds of historic buildings.
Visiting farms and pumpkin patches are other fun activities for kids. We have a pumpkin patch in our area that has huge fields of pumpkins that are just waiting to be carved into jack-o-lanterns. The kids can choose their favorite as they amble through the field. Some of the pumpkin patches also include corn mazes, hay rides, pumpkin carving, and other fun activities for kids. Not only is this enjoyable for the entire family, it also provides lots of great photo opportunities.
Our local pumpkin patch includes pumpkins and other fall produce that can be picked and purchased, along with a giant corn maze, a hay ride, a playground, a corn pit, and games. Adjacent to the field of pumpkins is a large country store that sells cold drinks, candies, homemade bakery goodies, chips, nuts, and more. They even have a working beehive enclosed in glass, and visitors can watch the insects at work. Honey produced by the farm's beehives is sold at the store, too.
Trail Riding with Kids
Activities for kids that involve animals are often big hits. For a wonderful autumn experience, take your kids trail riding. Riding through the woods on horseback is a great way to experience the natural world. And don’t worry if you and your kids are horseback riding novices. Most reputable stables have gentle mounts that are fine for beginners.
Check the yellow pages of your phonebook or look for trail riding stables online. Find one close by and give them a call. Ask about the minimum age requirement for trail riding. Some stables won't allow children under the age of six to ride at all, and some allow small children to ride with a parent. Know before you go so that your child won't be disappointed.
Free Activities for Kids
You don’t have to spend a lot of money in order to keep your kids entertained during the fall months. If you’re willing to do a little research, you’ll most likely discover lots of free activities for kids that are available in your area. Of course, I can only speak for what’s available in my area, which is South Georgia. Your neck of the woods might offer more, fewer, or different opportunities.
In the cooler fall months, my family and I really enjoy getting outdoors. We like to make treks in the woods and take in the glorious autumn foliage. It’s sort of hard for us to enjoy the woods in the summer because of biting insects and the very real possibility of encountering venomous snakes. Once all these critters have been removed from the equation, we like to take the grandkids to my brother’s farm for a nice fall outing. We pack a picnic lunch and allow the kids to “run wild,” so to speak. He has lots of nice trails for us to enjoy, and the kids love this experience. In fact, it rates near the top of fall activities for kids with us!
Autumn is the perfect time for all sorts of outdoor activities. Something else we really enjoy in the fall is fishing. Again, we don’t have to worry so much about water moccasins and mosquitoes. Also, some fish species actually bite more readily once the water temperature cools down a bit. All my grandchildren enjoy fishing, but two of my grandsons are ardent anglers! In fact, the entire family loves being around just about any type of water. If your family is also fond of water, some other outdoor activities they might enjoy in the autumn months are boating, kayaking, or canoeing. Calm lakes that are surrounded by trees provide an amazing visual experience in the fall. The bright foliage of the trees is reflected in the water, doubling your fall foliage experience.
Most kids love seeing farm animals. We have some state-run livestock farms around here, and they allow the public to visit. Kids can see whitetail deer, dairy cattle, beef cattle, and pigs. At one of the farms, there’s a cow with a hole in her side. The cover can be removed, and you can see how the bovine processes food. Check to see if there are any farms like this in your area.
Even if you don't have any government or research facilities nearby where your family can view farm animals, maybe a local farmer or livestock producer will allow you to pay a visit. Ask around. Some pick-you-own farms have petting zoos, and admission to these is usually free. If you find a petting zoo, your kids won't just get to see farm animals - they'll probably get the chance to pet and feed them, too.
Fall foliage is one of the best things about the autumn months. It's the perfect time to take a drive in the family auto to view the countryside. No matter where you live, you’re probably not too far away to view some beautiful fall foliage. Pack a cooler with some snacks and drinks, and be sure to take a camera. You might want to let the kids have their own inexpensive cameras to shoot their own pics of the colorful landscape.
For the best foliage views, get out of the city and into the country. Make s few stops along the way and let the kids get out and play in the leaves. You might want to make it a contest to see who can find the most different types of leaves. You might also want to help the kids learn to identify tree species by their leaves. Remember - I'm all about fun learning activities!
Consider taking a family bike adventure. Find a park that has bike trails, and get started. Drinks and snacks can be carried along in backpacks, or if you’re planning on a longer ride, you can always pack a picnic. Bicycle touring is fun, and it’s also great exercise!
Local bike shops will probably be able to tell you about bike treks and trails in your area. Be sure to match the length and difficulty of the trail to the youngest family member's age and skill level. Of course, you take breaks whenever you need to, but if the incline or terrain is too difficult, the kids aren't going to have a good time.
It's best to find a bike path that doesn't include much, if any, automobile traffic. Find one that includes nice scenery so that you can take advantage of the beautiful fall vistas. Some bicycle touring treks take you across old covered bridges, by streams and rivers, through woodlands, and near rolling meadows. In many cases, wildlife encounters are possible, so find out what animals might venture onto the path. Talk to your kids beforehand about the possible dangers of trying to get close to wild animals. It's best to take a photograph from a distance!
If your kids are horse lovers, they’ll love visiting a horse farm. Find out if there’s an Arabian Discovery Farm near you. These farms usually welcome the public in an attempt to educate people about Arabian horses. Many of the Discovery Farms owners allow visitors to interact with their horses, and some will even allow guests to ride the equines.
If there's not a Discovery Farm near you, maybe you can find another locally owned horse breeding facility. If you find one, contact the owner about scheduling a visit. Most horse breeders will have foals on hand, and the kids will love seeing the baby horses. If the owner doesn't have time to spend with you, ask if it's okay to just drive through the farm and allow the kids to pet the horses over the fence. Few horse farms would have a problem with that.
Fall Festivals and Fairs
All across the U.S., there are fall festivals. Many of these festivals don’t charge an admission fee, so these could provide some good free activities for kids. Some provide interactive activities that are both educational and engaging. Of course, even if admission is free, you’ll probably want to take some cash along to purchase some of the yummy foods that are often a big part of fairs and festivals.
These events can provide lots of learning activities, too. Some have live demonstrations of making arts and crafts. Others might have booth displays that are informative and educational. Many fairs have all sort of fun contests, too, and your children might enjoy entering.
To find fairs and festivals in your state, check the internet. There might also be some smaller events in your area that aren't widely advertised, so check your local newspaper, too. In most cases, your city's chamber of commerce will be able to give you information about local events.
Camping with Kids
Other fun activities for kids that you and your family might enjoy during the fall months include camping. You don’t have to pack up and go to a campground – camp out in your own back yard! My middle daughter does this often with her kids, and they absolutely love it! Shan pitches a tent in her back yard, and she and the kids spend the night in the tent. Sometimes the kids invite a couple of their pals to join in the fun. Shan builds a fire and the kids roast hot dogs and marshmallows. They usually spend the evening singing and telling stories. Even if you don’t want to do the overnight thing when camping with kids, having an open fire is still a great idea. There’s just something wonderful and cozy about gathering around an outdoor fire on a chilly autumn evening! It gives families a chance to reconnect, without the distractions of televisions, computers, cell phones, and video games. Family members actually have to talk to each other, which is always a good thing.
Go ahead and start planning a few fall activities for kids now. If you wait until autumn is actually here, you're bound to forget about something you had wanted to enjoy with the children. Write down a few things you'd like to do, and make the necessary contacts to find out if the outings you have in mind are feasable. If you've discovered a lot more possibilities than you have time for, let the kids vote on which ones they'd like to do most. You might want to use a rating system, like a #1 for two or three must-do things, along with a few #2 and #3 choices. You won't be sure exactly how much time you'll have until the season is upon you, so you need to be somewhat flexible. Of course, if everything falls into place, you could have time to do everything on your list of fall activities for kids!