Fall Fun: Outdoorsy Family Adventures

by Kimberly Blaker

Summer may be seen as the outdoor season, but autumn also offers lots of opportunities for outdoor fun. Try some of these family activities, and fill yours and your kids’ senses with delight.

Enjoy a Color Tour
Parks are the places to be in the fall. Contact your nearest city park, and find out when fall colors will be at their peak and the best routes for picturesque views.

Attend a Football Game—In Your Backyard
Gather your blankets and head to the backyard. High school, college, and professional football games are great fun for kids and parents alike. Bring the TV onto the patio and bring the stadium to you with a bag of popcorn and thermos of hot cocoa. Snuggle up and get ready to cheer on your team!

Visit an Apple Orchard
Take your kids apple picking at a local u-pick orchard. If you can’t find one near you, bring home apples from you local fruit stand and make some apple cider or apple pie.

Leaf Fun
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.

Make a Scarecrow
What’s fall without a scarecrow on your porch? It is easy to make. Just buy a couple of bails of straw, then have each family member gather some old clothes and hats. Stuff it using string to tie off the hands, feet, and head.

Host a Campfire Cookout
Enjoy a night at home with a cookout. Hot dogs, hot chocolate, and s’mores are a traditional way to top off the season. Have everyone take turns telling stories around the grill. If you have little ones, check-out library books with autumn themes to read to the youngsters.

Walk in the Woods
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.

Bird Migration Watch
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.

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.

Horseback Rides
Head to the stables and enjoy the fall colors on horseback. Many local stables offer ponies for younger kids!

Make a Bird Feeder or Bird House
Kids will enjoy the carpentry experience and marvel at watching birds make use of the kids’ 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 find free instructions on the Internet.

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.

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