Fall is a great time for fun and family, and there are a lot of options for kid-friendly activities. No matter what your budget, you can find things to do that the whole family will enjoy.
“Life becomes busier as the autumn season begins. School begins and extra-curricular activities become more common,” explains Andrew Kotsis, D.O., Riverfront Family Medicine. “This means that there is less time in the day for children and adolescents to become active. It is a great time of year for families to review their health and lifestyle.”
Here are 5 suggestions, including some creative twists to the old stand-bys:
Go for a scavenger hike.
Fall hikes are great, and they can be even more fun when you turn your hike into a nature scavenger hunt. Bring some bags or backpacks, and look for cool bits of nature to bring home with you. Fallen leaves, acorns, pinecones, nut shells, bits of moss, pieces of bark and flower petals can make great finds. And when your hike is over, you can create collages, terrariums, leaf etchings and all sorts of great stuff.
Go apple picking.
Fall wouldn’t be complete without apples, and apple orchards are all around. Pack up the car with the kids, and get to an orchard. Pick a few or a few dozen, and enjoy your time in the great outdoors. Many orchards have family activities on site, so you may even get to experience corn mazes, hay rides (even haunted hay rides), petting zoos, and apple bobbing. And if you’re lucky, you can pick up some pre-made apple-y goodness – fritters, pies, jams, cider and more.
“Family excursions to cider mills and farms have plenty of walking, which is great, just be careful of indulging in too many doughnuts and other delicious sweets,” adds Dr. Kotsis.
Look up at the night sky.
Every clear night is a good day for stargazing, but this year, November has a bunch of nights that should make for some spectacular sights. So check out the astronomical calendar to see when and where to see things like a hybrid solar eclipse and meteor showers (the Taurids and Leonids are coming this fall). There’s also the newly discovered comet ISON. It’s approaching the sun this fall, and it’s supposed to result in a comet that could be as bright as a full moon. If you can, drive away from the bright lights of town, bring sleeping bags to keep warm, find a comfortable spot, and enjoy the show.
Have a pumpkin party.
Pick up some pumpkins and start decorating. Paint them, carve them or decorate them with anything you can find. Bonus points for getting out to a pumpkin patch and hiking around to find your own. And if you decide to carve or cut the pumpkin, keep those seeds and roast them.
Go to the park.
Take advantage of the crisp days, and play a family pick-up game of football or soccer at the park. You can grab the bikes and ride there. If you’ve got all day, bring a picnic with you, and take in all the sun you can.
Being active doesn’t have to stop when the weather cools down. There are a lot of things to do in the fall with the whole family. Dr. Kotsis says, “The weather can be nice and cool, perfect for long brisk walks. Flag football and soccer are other great activities for the family on the weekends.”
Do whatever makes you and the kids happy – maybe even let them plan the activity! Just remember to be safe and dress appropriately for the changing weather.