Fall is such a special time of year. It’s not too busy, not too cold and there is so much to do. It’s an exciting time for kids – picking out their Halloween costumes and playing outside before the snow falls. The only problem is that fall will be over before we know it, so we have to enjoy it while it lasts. Here are some of our favorite fall activities.
Visit a farmers market. Fall's bounty of fresh fruits and veggies is one of the best offerings of the season. Visit a farmers market and stock up on your favorite seasonal produce. Fresh apples, pumpkins, squash and many other delicacies are a healthy and tasty way to add variety to your autumn menu.
Hit the road. The leaves are changing color and it's a beautiful time of year to enjoy with the family. Take a long drive somewhere that you can see the brilliant shades of autumn on the trees. The gorgeous reds, yellows and oranges are breathtaking. If your kids get bored youcan sing songs, play games, roll the windows down and breathe in all that fresh fall air. You don’t have to go too far to find the perfect foliage.
Clean up with fun. If your front and back yards are covered in fall leaves, get the family outside to help rake and gather. But before you get into the serious task of cleaning up, play tag in the leaves or rake them into piles and let the kiddos fall or jump into them. My kids love this. I always bring a camera outside – you can’t go wrong with fall colors and laughing kids.
Take a hike. There are many gorgeous places to hike, so bring a lunch, some snacks, dress appropriately with sneakers or hiking boots, and take a nice, long hike. Your kids may complain about it at first, but once you’re out there, they will love it. They can collect leaves, learn about nature and maybe even spot an animal or two. You don’t have to go far - try Chestnut Ridge Park, Delaware Park, Artpark, Reinstein Woods and Tifft Nature Preserve just to name a few.
Take a trip to the Cider Mill. This is like a must-do every fall. Check out Mayer Brothers in West Seneca and buy some of its cider. Or pies. Or both. They have some pretty neat treats for the kids and some cool fall decorations.
Go on a hayride. There is something fun about going on a hayride with the kids. They’re all bundled up, holding on to you, looking around and loving every minute of it. I don’t do the haunted hayrides because my little ones would be petrified – but if your kids are older, that’s a great idea. There are plenty of options with a pumpkin farm in just about every town these days. Bring the camera.
Go to a pumpkin patch. This is a pretty good year for pumpkins so let your kids pick out their favorite pumpkin in the patch and they’ll love every minute of it. Even let them wear their Halloween costume. Then, head home and forgo the knife and get out the paint. We love painting pumpkins. Bring everything outside onto the grass, put your kids in play clothes and let them go nuts. The pumpkins will last longer if you paint them, too. My kids are always so proud of their work. Another great photo op.
Plant bulbs for next spring. This is another one of those activities that kids aren’t too crazy about at first, but end up loving. Kids normally like instant gratification, so waiting for spring to see the fruits of their labor may be tough so show them pictures of what will grow. At first, my kids will ask every day when the tulips and daffodils will bloom, but after a few days, they’ll forget. Once they pop up in spring they think it’s the coolest thing.
Go apple picking. This is an inexpensive way to have an awful lot of fun with the kids. My big girls remember apple picking from when they were little, and my little ones love it now. It’s fun, low-key, low stress and you end up with a bushel of apples. Take them home and bake a pie, an apple crisp or some muffins – and it is literally the perfect fall day.
Be grateful. Fall always seems to be the best time to take time and count our blessings. Maybe for me, it’s because my four daughters are fall babies and I have an abundance of gratitude this time of year. But, there’s something about the leaves, the fresh air and things slowing down a bit. The back to school rush is over and Christmas isn’t on the top of our minds just yet. So, it is a time to reflect on the many blessings we enjoy and may take for granted. I like to make notes with my girls, the small joys, things that make us happy, and then put them in a visible place. The refrigerator, the bathroom mirror, by the front door. It’s a great reminder of the many blessings we have, and it gives us a healthy perspective of what matters most.