With Labor Day over, cool weather moving in and the first day of fall right around the corner, I can't help but crave all of those wonderful things that make this season so enjoyable: sweaters, fires, food, mums... the list goes on and on.
That being said, I always try to to soak up the simplicity the seasons brings and hope that my boys will someday appreciate the little things too.
Here are some fun and nearly free activities to do this fall with your little ones:
1. Bob for apples
Grab a bowl, an empty cooler or even a tub, throw a few apples in there and see who can get one the fastest. You can also tie the apples on a string, hang them up and bob get after them for some family laughs.
2. Jump in leaf piles
Rake as many leaves in your yard as you can and create fun piles to jump in—before bagging later. This is a great way to get the kiddos involved in cleanup and have a little fun! (Plus, for us task-oriented parents, it's a nice middle ground.)
3. Make popcorn balls
These are not only delicious, but so fun to make and pack to school in the lunchbox! Here's one of my favorite recipes.
4. Get lost in a corn maze
Last year we managed to get lost in a corn maze. In the moment, I never thought I would say it was fun—but now I totally do. We pulled together as a family and found our way out. We still laugh about it to this day!
5. Make leaf crowns
Jumping in leaf piles is great, but save a few of those to make a beautiful leaf crown. All you need is some craft wire to string your leaves on, mold it into a circle and wear!
6. Eat your way through an apple orchard
Picking apples is fun, but snacking on them as you do so is even better! There's nothing quite like picking an apple, fresh off the tree and taking a bite.
7. Bake up a bunch of apple recipes
When we got back from the apple orchard, I let my little guy use my old-fashioned apple peeler. It's fun to watch him turn it around and around—and it helps me out tremendously as I get to work on apple pies, applesauce and apple butter!
8. Take a scenic road trip
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Pack a cooler lunch and hit the road to admire the beauty of the fall season. Pack a DIY I-spy game to see who can spot fall staples first.
9. Roast pumpkin seeds
Instead of dumping the seeds from your jack-o-lantern project, turn them into yummy treats. I like playing around with several different flavor options, such as sweet, spicy and savory.
10. Make leaf people
Find a few of your favorite leaves and turn them into people for a fun, super cheap craft. Then branch out and make a whole leaf zoo!
11. Make a sensory bag with pumpkin guts
If you've got a baby in the house, hold onto those leftover pumpkin insides, place them in a safe ziplock bag, tape it to the floor and let your little one squish around with it!
12. Roast dinner over an open fire
Throw some hotdogs on the fire and enjoy and family dinner together. Easy, fun and tasty! (Just be sure to team up with your partner so someone can always keep an eye on little ones by the flames.)
13. Draw pictures of the changing scenery
Encourage kids to think about the animals that come out this time of the year and doodle those into their nature journals.
14. Have a face-painting party
This is a great warmup for Halloween—especially since there is no shortage of face-painting supplies at local party stores this time of year.
15. Make bird feeders
Gather pinecones, slather some peanut butter on them and roll them into birdseed. Then hang from a tall branch and keep track of all the birds who come to visit!