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The sun is setting earlier, the grill is in storage, and you’ve swapped out tank tops and shorts for cardigans and corduroys. There’s no doubt about it – summer is officially over. And though your kids may be counting down the days until they can jump in the pool again, the cool days of autumn are packed with their own kind of fun. From pumpkin picking to easy arts and crafts, here are a few autumn activities the whole family can enjoy.
The transition from summer to autumn is a visible one; leaves go from vibrant green to an array of fiery reds, oranges, and golds, and once-blooming flowers go dormant until next spring. It’s the perfect opportunity to take a nature walk with younger children to explore all the fascinating changes taking place, from birds migrating south to animals storing food in preparation for winter. Take turns collecting leaves, pointing out the differences in them as you go along. Decorate the house with rubbed drawings of the best leaves you find – just place a piece of paper over the leaf and gently rub a crayon or pencil until its outline appears.
With Halloween right around the corner, older children may want to experience some of fall’s spookier activities. Find a haunted house with a reputation for mild scares, or, if there isn’t one nearby, take a trip to a craft store for supplies to turn your own home into a ghostly residence.
Just like summer, half the fun of fall is being outside. Want your kids to help out raking leaves? Tell them whoever rakes the biggest pile gets to jump in it afterwards. Many towns have local harvest festivals or autumn fairs, so check if there’s one nearby and make it a fun afternoon trip. Visit a pumpkin patch and see who can pick the biggest one; afterwards, you can scoop it out and carve a jack-o-lantern, and roast the seeds for an extra treat.
Apple picking is another great outing for the whole family, especially since many orchards also have fun rides and activities for younger children. Use the apples in pies, cakes, and other fall desserts that you can share with family and friends. You can also take advantage of the cooler weather by trying out recipes for hearty soups and stews, many of which are kid-friendly, one-pot dishes. Fall can be the perfect time to spark kids’ interest in cooking and have some fun times in the kitchen.
With a little planning and creative thinking, these next few months can be about a lot more than just Halloween and Thanksgiving. And after enjoying all the fun that only fall can bring, your kids may find themselves wishing it could last just a little bit longer.