Summer may be seen as the outdoor season, but autumn also offers lots of opportunities for outdoor fall fun. Try some of these family activities, and fill everyone’s senses with delight.
Enjoy a color tour
Host a campfire cookout
If outdoor fires are permitted in your area, have the kids round up neighborhood friends for a cookout. Hot dogs, hot chocolate, marshmallows and s’mores are a traditional way to top off the season. Have everyone take turns telling stories around the fire. If you have little ones, check out library books with autumn themes to read to them.
Attend a football game
Gather your blankets and head to the stadium. High school, college and pro football games are great fun for kids and parents alike. Take along a bag of popcorn and thermos of hot cocoa, then snuggle up and get ready to cheer on your team.
Visit an apple orchard
Take your kids apple picking, and top off the day with cider and doughnuts, a hayride and an end-of-the-year picnic.
Make a scarecrow
What’s fall without a scarecrow on your porch? It is easy to make. Just buy a couple of bales of straw, then have each family member gather some old clothes and hats. Stuff them using string to tie off the hands, feet and head.
As flies and mosquitoes retreat, it’s the perfect time of year for a walk in the woods. Look for animals scurrying about, gathering for the long, cold months ahead, and don’t forget your binoculars. Contact state and local parks for wooded trails near you.
Do you remember diving into the crisp fall leaves when you were a kid? Grab some rakes and have your youngsters pitch in. Pile up the leaves to jump in, build a fort and even have a leaf fight for a classic game of fall fun.
Find a festival
Apple, pumpkin, fall harvest and many more festivals are found this time of year featuring food, arts and crafts, kids’ games, pony and wagon rides and more. Visit Washington Parent’s great Autumn Outings Guide to see what’s coming up.
Visit a pumpkin patch
Begin a family tradition of picking your pumpkins from a patch. After cleaning out the pumpkins, make roasted pumpkin seeds, a yummy treat that kids love. Rinse the seeds, pat them dry and coat with melted butter. Spread the seeds on a cookie sheet, sprinkle with salt and bake at 350 until golden brown. Be sure and stir them occasionally.
As fall fills the air, many birds begin to head south. Contact state and national parks or your department of natural resources for recommended birding locations, as well as bird festivals.
Shift through a cornfield maze
Kids delight in finding their way through cornfield mazes. To find a maze near you, visit cornmazesamerica.com. Also, check out the entertainment section of your newspaper.
Plant perennials and bulbs
Let your kids try out their green thumbs. After all, fall is the time of year to plant perennials and flower bulbs. Let your kids choose some plants from the gardening store, and allow them to help design the garden. A hand-painted rock or two adds color until the spring blossoms bloom.
Take a railroad excursion
With the colors of fall blazing under bright blue skies, a scenic railroad excursion is a sure bet. Check your local travel agency for tours nearby.
Hold a pumpkin sale
If you have little entrepreneurs, have them set up a pumpkin stand in your front yard. Find an orchard where pumpkins are cheap, then have your kids purchase a small stock to sell for a higher price. Hot cocoa, baked pumpkin seeds or doughnuts are profitable additions.
Head to the stables and have some fall fun on horseback. Enjoy the fall colors from a new vantage point. For horse rental listings by state visit horserentals.com.
Make a bird feeder or house
Kids will enjoy the carpentry experience and marvel at watching birds make use of their creations. Kits are available in hobby stores and online for making bird feeders. To make one from scratch, visit your library and check out a book on how to build a birdhouse, or watch the homemade bird house episode PBS Parents YouTube video from FullTimeKid.
Parades and marching bands
Find out when your local college or high school will hold its homecoming parade. Be sure to take a blanket and snacks, and enjoy the colorful floats, majorettes, cheerleaders and marching band. Also, don’t forget the spectacular Thanksgiving Day parades.