Between back-to-school mayhem and holiday preparations, fall can turn into a blink-and- you-miss-it season. One minute you’re sending the kids off for the first day of school, and the next thing you know, it’s winter break.
It’s no surprise that everyone is busy, but it can be a shame when seasons slip by without the chance for fun family memories. That’s why it’s so important to take advantage of seasonal activities. Getting a few can’t-miss-it fall outings on your schedule can help you carve out space for family time.
Need a few ideas to get you started? Here are five essential family activities to try this fall:
Create Seasonal Curb Appeal
Does your family have a bit of creative flair? Why not turn your combined enthusiasm on your front porch? While Christmas tends to be the season of choice for all-hands-on-deck decorating, there’s no rule against getting your curb appeal on any other time of the year.
Autumn brings a number of decorative options. Your porch could end up filled with Halloween whimsy or overflowing with ghoulish horrors. You could go for a rustic corn-and-hay bales vibe or stay simple and classy with neutral tones and textured wood and burlap. Find more fall decorating ideas here.
Go Nuts at the Playground
Playgrounds are a great year-round activity! Unfortunately, a lot of parents forget about them once school is in session and life gets a bit busier.
Of course, that can work in your favor! Your local playground may not be quite as busy once summer ends, which means your kids may find they have the run of the place.
You can pack a simple picnic lunch (good ol’ sandwiches will do!) and spend a Saturday at your nearest park. Or, if your schedules permit, select a day to pick the kids up from school and drive to a different playground each time.
Almost half of all playground injuries are the result of a fall, which means it never hurts to be extra vigilant when it comes to playground safety. That doesn’t mean you have to hover constantly or cover your kids in bubble wrap, though. Just be sure to reinforce simple safety guidelines, make sure all shoelaces are tied and keep an eye on younger kids.
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Get Started Stargazing
Stargazing can be a little intimidating if it’s not already your area of expertise. Just what should you be looking for, anyway?
Thankfully, the Internet has you covered. There are plenty of helpful sites to explain what constellations and planets are visible or to give you an introduction to the myths behind the constellations. Print them out or bookmark them on your phone or tablet, and you’ll be all set for your first stargazing session.
Nights can get a bit nippy, so make sure you have blankets, hot cocoa or cider available to sip as you gaze at the heavens. You can also combine two great activities into one: stargazing and s’more making. Get a campfire going in your backyard and cook up some tasty campfire treats to enjoy as you learn about the stars.
Get in a Few Scares and Thrills
Choosing to get scared is… oddly fun. Haunted houses, ghost tours, field of screams: These fall fright fests are perennial favorites for a reason. It can be a blast to get your adrenaline pumping and heart racing, knowing that it’s all pretend.
Of course, depending on the ages or maturity level of your kids (or heck, even your own fear threshold), visiting a haunted house or going on a scream-filled hayride may not be a healthy or appropriate choice. Luckily, there are plenty of scary movies that are perfect for younger kids. Try modern classics like Coraline or Paranorman or nostalgic hits like The Nightmare Before Christmas or Hocus Pocus. Curl up on the couch with a bucket of caramel corn and a pile of blankets — and you’ve got the perfect family night in.
Go Produce Picking
A Saturday spent picking apples and selecting pumpkins is always about more than just the main event.
True, you get to walk away with hand-picked apples to turn into pies, tarts or applesauce. You also have pumpkins to carve, eat or paint. However, half the experience is just running around together in the crisp fall air, laughing, working and getting a little appreciation for the food-to-table process.
If you’re lucky, your local orchards and fields will have a few extras perks — maybe some fresh cider for sale, cute animals to pet or a corn maze to test your skills.
Don’t let the fall season pass you by! An afternoon, an evening or a weekend is all you need to make some amazing memories!
Jennifer Landis is a writer, blogger, foodie, yogi, runner, and mama.
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The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blog contributor’s. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Writers may have conflicts of interest, and their opinions are their own.