Fun Fall Activities for Kids
Every season offers kids the opportunity to witness changes in nature and appreciate the unique experiences each one presents. Don’t let Fall pass you by without wringing all the enjoyment from it you can.
Delve into Fall with an exploration of the senses by having your kids record their observations of the world around them. What do they see in the Fall? Maybe Halloween costumes, pumpkins, apples, scarecrows, and colorful trees. What do they taste in the Fall? Perhaps crunchy apples, cider, pumpkin pie, and candy corn. They might hear rustling leaves and scratching rakes, they might feel a cool breeze on their faces, all while the smell of pumpkin-scented candles or blooming mums wafts through their nostrils.
Take a nature hike. Find a metro-park, nature center, local arboretum, or other hiking trail where your kids can experience nature’s fireworks display of red, orange, yellow, and brown exploding in branches and gracefully descending to the ground. Supply each child with a bag during your hike and instruct them to find as many leaf types as they can. You can use these leaves for crafting later. If nothing else, arm your kids with rakes and let them gather leaves in a pile to jump in for some good, old-fashioned fun!
Many communities host a variety of Fall events. Check with your local recreational complex to see what children’s programs are available. Some offer community Harvest Parties where kids can dress in Halloween costumes and play fun games for a minimal fee. Area churches advertise trunk-or-treat events as alternatives to trick-or-treat, where parishioners offer kids treats from the trunks of their cars in the church parking lot. Corn mazes and hay rides promise family fun, while trips to the Farmer’s Market will snag you the tastiest produce from this year’s harvest. Visit an apple orchard, or plan a trek to the closest pumpkin patch, and let your kids design face templates for you to carve. Waste not, want not—save those pumpkin seeds for roasting!
On a rainy day, enjoy Fall from indoors. It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is available on DVD, and the Fall season wouldn’t be complete without its annual viewing. Hide pumpkin foam cut-outs (from the dollar bins at Target) around the house, and see how many your kids can find. For a change-up, allow each child to have a turn hiding a pumpkin and play “hot or cold” as the rest try to find it. Curl up with some great fall books that are both entertaining and educational. Scholastic offers a fall pack that includes Fall Apples: Crisp and Juicy, Fall Harvest: Bringing in the Food, Fall Leaves: Colorful and Crunchy, Fall Pumpkins: Orange and Plump, and Fall Weather: Cooler Temperatures.
These books not only present the science of the season, they serve as the perfect springboards for fall cooking, baking, and crafting!
Delight your family with the tastes of the season. Involve your children by including recipes that are easy enough for kids in the kitchen time. Buy a gallon of cider at the grocery, and then try a tasty mulled-cider recipe. Applesauce is simple to make too and usually a kid favorite. The hardest part is peeling and coring the apples, but once that’s done, let your kids take over!
Taste of Home scored a home run with their hit recipe, Apple Nachos. Beneath the chocolate, caramel, nuts, butter, and marshmallows are healthy apples. Consuming this dish once each year won’t kill you! And Chex, the unofficial snack mix king, shares a Cinnamon-Apple Chex Mix that is sure to please and is simple enough for kids to make under your supervision. Look them up!
Celebrate Fall with crafting. Remember the bag of leaves you collected on your nature walk? Use them to make leaf peopleor animals. Just glue the leaves onto construction paper or card stock, and then add the necessary details to create a person, animal, or object from them.
Print a leaf template for a fall mosaic. Have kids cut or tear yellow, orange, brown, and red construction paper into pieces and glue them onto the leaf.
Check the fall aisle at Walmart or your local craft store for packs of small fall leaves. Cut the center out of a paper plate (up to the ridges), and then glue leaves onto the outer circle. Hole punch a spot at the top for a pipe cleaner, yarn, or ribbon, and voila--a fall wreath even young children can make successfully.
Did you over-estimate how many apples your family would eat? Are some of them going bad in your fridge? Cut them in half and let your kids use them as stampers. Put green paint on one foam plate and red paint on another. Kids can dip the flat part of the apple into the paint and create their own designs on construction apper. This is a great activity to develop find motor skills for younger children, and they will be delighted to learn apples aren’t just for eating!
While you have the paint out, continue with the stamping theme so your kids can gain sensory experience. Use large marshmallows to circle stamp colored leaves onto a fall tree, which they can also paint brown. You can draw or print a bare tree onto card stock, or, if you feel daring, you can paint their hands and forearms brown and use those for fall tree imprints. Some kids will marshmallow stamp neatly while the younger ones might do more smearing than stamping. It doesn’t matter. Projects don’t have to be perfect to be fun and opportunities for learning!
No fall craft time would be complete without the classic leaf rubbing activity—it might be an oldie, but it’s still a goodie. Leaf impressions are simple for young children, and older children can vary the activity for more complexity by positioning several leaves on the page in a design and coloring each one differently.
For a variation on this craft, place your leaf on top of the page instead of underneath. Grab a paint brush or sponge and paint across the edges of the leaf and out onto the page. Do this technique all the way around, and then lift your leaf from the page. You will be left with a leaf outline print. Do more than one leaf per page in a variety of colors for a uniquely creative design.
You might be pining for the dog days of summer and dreading the pending winter, but even if Fall isn’t your favorite season, you can still make the most of it. Don your favorite sweatshirt, grab a hot cup of cider, and start planning your own fun, fall adventure with family and friends.