State fairs, caramel apples, leaf piles, pumpkin pie… and more leaf piles? There’s a lot to love about fall already but sharing the good stuff about autumn can make this season even better. What follows is a list of family-friendly fall activities designed to take the season from good to great. Give some of them a try and you might find that even if you’ve never been a fall guy, you’re suddenly jazzed to hit the pumpkin patch.
The Scavenger Hunt
This activity doesn’t require anything more than observant eyes. There are plenty of fall scavenger hunt printables out there but it’s actually more fun for parents when you pick items for the kiddos to find on the fly. Whether you hit the streets or stick to your own backyard, look for all the colors of the rainbow or street signs, adventure is guaranteed.
Classic Leaf Play
The paradigm has been around forever: dad rakes the pile and the kids destroy his hard work. Since it’s going to happen anyway, why not get in on the fun and take a few tumbles into the leaves alongside your offspring? Yes, it means crunchy leaves will inevitably end up on the bathroom floor but the rush of scattering that perfect pile can still be had in adulthood.
Do Good for Others
After you’ve destroyed and enjoyed your own yard’s leaves, head out into the neighborhood with your kids to help rake leaves for neighbors who can’t do it themselves. Or sign up the whole family to volunteer at the nearest food pantry. While Thanksgiving Day draws the most volunteers, don’t forget that food pantries and soup kitchens need help all year round. Why not sign up to help prep for the holiday rush now before the influx of one-day-only volunteers?
Be a Tourist in Your Town
When the weather isn’t too hot or too cold, there’s no reason at all not to hit up your local landmarks to learn more about your hood. A lot of community resources put on quite the show in autumn (e.g., Halloween events at the zoo or corn mazes at local farms) and these seasonal amusements are usually more affordable than movie tickets plus popcorn.
Have a Back Yard Camp Out
Grab sleeping bags and pitch the tent for some old fashioned fun that’s especially awesome for kiddos who never go without all the comforts of home. A fire in the fire pit is plenty thrilling for little ones, and spending the whole night outdoors is exciting for the whole family. You don’t have to go 100% low tech, though. Once the camp fire has died down and your supply of scary stories has been tapped out, the whole family can enjoy T-Mobile’s #BingeOn on the iPad Mini 4.
Do Some Crafts
While crafts are usually considered mom’s job, dads bring something special to fall crafts: we aren’t afraid to get messy! From carving jack o’ lanterns to apple printing, there’s no end to the messy, hands-on fall craft ideas you can tackle with your kids on a Saturday afternoon.
Sign Up for a Fun Run
If you’ve never done your town’s Turkey Trot, 5K Spooktacular or similar, make this the year you sign up. Running with your children isn’t the best workout – prepare for some degree of meandering – but it is a great way to teach them about the joys of exercise.
Go for a PJ Walk
If you’re like most dads you’re first chance to reconnect with your kids is post-dinner but that doesn’t mean outdoor activities are off the table. Prep for bedtime right after dessert, then bundle up the kiddos in their coziest PJs for a twilight walk with plenty of leaf crunching.
What’s more important than doing all the fall activities? Creating your own family traditions! Maybe apple picking and going to the farmer’s market isn’t really your thing. No problem! The point is to spend some time enjoying the season together and create memories that will last your kids a lifetime.