Perfect summer days may be behind us now, but the autumn is a great time to get outdoors with the whole family. With leaves to crunch and apples to pick, there are plenty of natural attractions that cost very little (or are completely free)! Here are a few ideas to inspire you to make the most of the fall, before the winter chill sets in.
Backyard scavenger hunt
For this first option, all you need is access to your own yard or garden. If you want to spend some time preparing for a scavenger hunt, you can make it more like a treasure hunt and hide clues for the little ones to find outdoors. Yet at its most basic, simply write a list of items to look for in the backyard, from a squirrel to a particular color of the leaf. For children who are too young to read just yet, draw pictures or cut out photos of what they’re supposed to look for. Another option is to choose a particular color and make it a color hunt instead. If they’re looking for “green,” they can look for anything outdoors that falls into this category and take photos as proof. It’s a way to get up close and personal with small details you may not otherwise notice!
Collect leaves for DIY Crafts
Fall leaves and family fun go hand in hand. Kids of all ages love stomping through crunching leaves or jumping into a pile that’s been freshly raked. To take the leaf play a bit further, you can let children collect particularly beautiful or interesting leaves for crafts back at home. Cut these up into geometric shapes when you’re at home and use them in collages for a mosaic effect, or glue them to clear mason jars to make a candle holder.
Even if you live in the city, there are probably accessible parks when you can venture off on a nature walk with the children. If you have access to transportation and nearby forests, all the better. There’s no need to structure this activity too much. Children love exploring the woods. Rather than focusing on how far you’re walking or reaching a particular destination, just give them time to wander and enjoy the scenery. Look at fallen logs, hunt for forest animals, and spend time sitting with a picnic lunch outdoors.
The fall is the season for hot cider and Halloween pumpkins, and it’s always more fun to pick your own! This activity may cost a small fee unless you have access to your own pumpkin patch or apple trees, but it’s well worth it to get out in the fresh air and see where your food comes from. Many pumpkin farms host seasonal events during this time of year, giving you a chance to dress up ahead of Halloween with fancy dresses from Funidelia or costumes from your dress-up box. For older children, consider joining a foraging course or walk to learn more about mushrooms and other seasonal produce in natural areas.
These are just a few ideas to help you get started. The fall is such a beautiful time of year, that you probably don’t need any encouragement to get outdoors and enjoy it!