Family Fun This Fall and Winter at Little Expense
"A punkin? Can I keep it?"
"o, wait...maybe that is the one I want!!!"
Spring and summer fun
Family activities bring you the extra special time to make new memories.
Discovering new wonders in nature, hiking, camping, boating, and many other outdoor activities will bring you and your family hours of pleasure and together time.
Take time away from the techie devices that sometimes take up too much of family time and spend precious moments with loved ones.
Fall is one of my favorite times of the year. The weather cools down and a newness settles over the land. This is especially welcome here in Florida since we are famous for our HOT
Recently, I have opened my front door and have not been wrapped in a blanket of humid air before I even stepped onto the porch. It has been cool. A whisper that perhaps fall may not be too far off.
This time of the year there are so many activities to do that we may not do as often the rest of the year. It is time to slow down a just a bit and enjoy the simple pleasures of living.
Get lost in the wonder of it all as the aromas, the sounds, and the visual displays that await you this autumn.
Possible Scavenger Hunt Items to Find
- one clothespin
- a key
- one leaf that has turned color
- a rock, any size
- a stick
- an empty soda can
- a net
- a ball
- a feather
- a piece of string
- a small box
- an orange peel
- a shoelace
- a sticker
- an envelope
- a pencil
- a crayon
- a colored pencil
Some things to do that are not expensive
1.Take some meandering walks around your neighborhood. The emphasis is on the meandering---stroll and observe and let the calm wash over you.
2. Have a scavenger hunt
3. Bike ride
4. Go fishing
5. Be amazed by fall leaves.
6. Make snowballs and snow people.
7. Go sledding or sledging.
8. Make winter bird feeders from pine cones. Slather peanut butter on the cones and sprinkle with bird seed.
Time together enjoying each other's company and nature
- A walk with your family through the neighborhood gives you the chance to stop and admire the natural displays that may await you along the way. Make a leisurely walk a time to reconnect with one another. Leave cell phones at home except for one designated person for emergencies only.
- Bike riding is another way to reestablish the connection with your family. It says volumes to them about how much you value their company. Stop along the way, sit, relax, and unwind a bit.
- Fishing can be another very relaxing activity. It is often as much about the time to let your mind wander and your body fall back into sync with the natural rhythms of the universe as it is about catching the fish. Although that can be very exciting. Ice fishing is exciting too.
- Some of you live in the part of our country where displays of color put on by acres of trees is unrivaled by any artist's ability to capture such beauty. Mother Nature gets it right each autumn when a rainbow of color appears. For those of you who do not you might consider making a pilgrimage to a location to see them. It will be a spectacle you will not soon forget.
Sweet Little Doll is NOW 5!!!
Choose What Your Family Would Enjoy
9. Begin some collections: shells, rocks, leaves. Later, sort and classify.
10. Bake cookies and ice them.
11. Put together some fall and winter crafts
12. Put together puzzles, play board games---scrabble and monopoly for always fun and thee are many versions.
13. Have a Progressive Dinner.
Tips about your scavenger hunt
- Before you begin, explain any rules you wish to apply: no rummaging in the neighbor's yard, no pulling leaves off of trees, no breaking sticks off of trees or plants.
- Provide each child with a bag to hold found items.
- Try to make it light and fun but reminding children that they are to respect the neighbors and nature.
- You can of course choose any items you wish for this activity.
- Try to have the Hunt out of doors which will mean you will want to hide certain items before the actual Hunt begins.
- To make it more interesting, it can be timed.
- Kids can work in pairs if you deem it necessary. If you have very young children, you will want to work with them to accomplish this.
- It is a good idea to hide more than one of the intended items to be found. You can always hide as many of the item as there are participants. That way everyone has an equal opportunity to be first to collect all items.
- When it is over, sort and classify. It will be interesting to see what was collected. The longest stick, the most unusual rock, the amazing array of leaves.
You can serve apple juice and a granola snack when it is all finished. It is really fun and you will find that even those who grumbled at the thought of it found it was engaging and a lot of laughter ensued.
Enjoy Nature's Beauty ....
A Progressive Dinner is an experience you will wish to repeat after you participate in the first one.
What it is:
It is a dinner is a dinner that begins in one house and continues from house to house from appetizer to dessert. Sometimes the distance between houses can be 5-10 miles.
First, you need to plan. You need to email, text, or phone those that you think may wish to participate, family and friends. Decide who will provide what part of the meal: appetizer, soup, salad, main course, dessert. Each stop along the way will provide a beverage.
You can decide if you want to have a theme for your dinner if everyone will just serve what they wish. You may wish to have everyone to agree that foods are homemade. That is stricktly up to you and your Progessive Dinner Team.
Every dinner like this that I have been to has been like dining at a fine restaurant except you travel from location to location anticipating the next course.
Have one this fall.
Learn about or do something you do not do often.
- Making collections of rocks, shells, and leaves is an activity that may turn into a hobby.that will last a lifetime. Those who engage in this will soon become intoxicated at the prospect of finding the next new and unusual find to add to their collection.
- Measure, mix, cut out,and bake cookies together.Let each family member cut out a favorite shape. Having fun icing them. Serve them as a special treat later in the evening.
- Put puzzles out to be 'works in progress.' Try to find some with a fall theme if you wish.It becomes a habit as you and others pass by the table where it is waiting to be put together to stop and put in a few pieces. Soon it is beautifully assembled.
- One of my stations some years ago when I was teaching school was puzzle assembly. The kids loved to glue them together and take them home when they were dry.
If you wish, you can glue it and frame it and hang up for all to enjoy.Have a Progressive Dinner.
Take Time to Become Immersed in the Simple
11. Go for a boat ride
12. Make sinkers
13. Have a picnic
14. Go to a museum
15. Give back.
One type of mold used to make sinkers
New experiences around every corner
- Boating can be truly relaxing. You may have your own boat tied up at the dock in front of your house. So making this happen will be easy. If not, some parks and camping areas rent boats that you can use to meander down rivers and springs soaking in the beauty.
- Make sinkers. You need solder, a torch to melt the solder, and a sinker mold. There are a variety on line that you can purchase. An adult can melt and pour the solder. Then older children can help cut off the extra solder from the sinkers. Little bitties too young to use a knife can be given the important task of carefully placing them in boxes.
- A picnic is always a great way to change up mealtime. It can be indoors or outdoors. If it is raining on the day you have planned to picnic, spread a blanket on the floor and have an inside picnic. It will be perfect minus the ants and pesky flying, biting critters.
- Visiting a museum often charges admission so check in advance for the cost and hours of operation. Usually when visiting a museum you can stay as long as you wish so it is not a rush, rush, hurry up situation. Give them a try: Military, Historical, Art, and Science Museums may all be found in your area.
- Giving back is important for children to learn. Your family can give back in one or more of the following: find a neighbor who needs a lawn raked, some chores that need tending to around their place, a nursing home to visit, donate gently loved clothing and toys to a shelter.
16. Go to an apple orchard and pick some apples
17. Make scarecrows or snow people as mentioned above.
18. Go to a real pumpkin patch to select pumpkins.
19. Go to State Parks and National Parks in your area and hike through them.
20. Take some day trips.
21. Rake leaves and jump in them ....everyone in the family can participate.
22. Have everyone help with clearing snow.
Baby grandson at his first pumpkin patch
A few of the many State Parks and to Visit in Florida
- Paynes' Prairie State Preserve, Micanopy...wildlife is varied
- Wekiwa Springs State Park, Apopka...swim and camp/endangered animals including black bear and American bald eagle often are spotted here
- John Pennekamp State Park, Key Largo...snorkel and dive
- Blue Springs State Park, Orange City....manatee
- Biscayne National Park, Homestead....snorkel, camp, boat, watch wildlife
- Dry Tortugas National Park, Monroe...blue waters, coral life, marine life, birds ...all sure to captivate
- Everglades National Park, Homestead...tropical wilderness, must experience
A Few National Parks You May Wish to Consider
- Yosemite, California
- Zion, Uthal
- Grand Canyon
- Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee
- Yellowstone, Wyoming (amazing wildlife not to mention the geyers)
You know your state
Each state offers unique and wondrous State Parks many within a short drive from your home. I would love it if you would share the names of your favorite and a bit about it so I can add it to this article.
Making and doing things together creates lasting memories.
- Visit an apple orchard in your area and pick your very own apples from the trees. It is intoxicating. Use those freshly picked apples to make: apple butter, apple cider, apple dumplings, apple pie.
- Making a scarecrow will be an activity that often leads to lots of laughter. You may wish to make more than one. Stuff a shirt and pants full of straw and top off the head sculpted from straw with a straw hat.
- Go to a real pumpkin patch to select your pumpkin. Make all of those dishes you love that create that an aromatic wonderland throughout your home. Make jack-o-lanterns, pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin soup, bake the seeds, dry some seeds and plant next year.
- State Parks in your state are always an option that you can count on to be filled with lasting memories and each time you go it is a new experience. Select what you wish to do: camp, hike, swim, snorkel, dive, just sit and watch the water flow by as you totally drift off to a place of calm. Take along a basket filled with granola snacks and water for everyone.
- Heading off on Day Trips to unusual, out of the ordinary spots is an option that may lead to discovering some new and unique treasure of a village you have missed in your travels to more high profile tourist destinations.
- Jumping in piles of leaves brings back the kid in each of us. And even if you opt not to run and jump in that huge mound of leaves, your mind will travel back to the time when you did and you may that you squeal as loudly as the young 'uns who are rolling around with leaves stuck to their hair and clothes.
Rolling in the leaves...who will rake them up again??
Just as beautiful as when I visited there in the 70s
Dry Tortugas...about 70 miles (113 km) west of Key West
So many ways to inexpensively enjoy your family
- Have a totally unplanned weekend once in a while, just to relax and enjoy the company of your family members.
Every weekend does not to be planned and orchestrated. Sometimes it is just nice to have no agenda, no schedule for a day. Just take time for a casual relaxed day with the family.
Most of these family activities can be accomplished without a huge outlay of fundage. Most of them just take a little planning.
You know what is in your area. Research and do. This will bring your family together.