With cooler temperatures, lower humidity, and the leaves turning brilliant colors, fall is a beautiful time of year to spend a day outside with the family. Even though families are getting busier with school starting back up and gearing up for the holidays, there are plenty of outdoor activities to do on a weekend day that won’t interfere with everyone’s busy schedule. So dig out those sweaters and pick a few of the following 12 tried-and-true fun outdoor activities for your family to do this fall:
1) Fairs and Festivals
Fall is an excellent time for fairs and festivals. There is no shortage of county and state fairs and Septemberfest or Oktoberfest celebrations with delicious autumn-inspired street food, games, and music. City, town, and state websites will often have listings of upcoming events, and a quick online search will reveal those close to home and nearby communities.
2) Head to the Orchard
Apple picking at a local orchard is a fun way for the family to secure a winter’s worth of healthy snacks and desserts. Homemade American apple pie, apple crisp, apple sauce, and caramel apples are always big hits. Apples are easy and inexpensive to store at home, so your harvest can last until the following year’s crop is ready and will give the family something to do together.
3) Make a Leaf Scrapbook
Once the leaves start to change color, spending a day outside collecting leaves from various species of trees in various stages of color changes can make for a fun and exciting fall project. Once you have collected enough specimens, the leaves can be preserved by dipping each one in melted wax. Lay the leaves on wax paper until the wax is dry and then mount the leaves on a poster or cork board. Be sure to use caution with little ones around as melted wax is hot and can cause burns. Also, wear an effective tick and mosquito repellent lotion or spray; these pests are fond of hiding in leaf litter.
4) Decorate the Front Yard
Trick out the front yard with corn stocks, hay bales, pumpkins, and scarecrows in preparation for Halloween and Thanksgiving. You can add special touches for each holiday, such as ghosts, goblins, and skeletons for Halloween and cutouts of turkeys and pilgrims for Thanksgiving.
5) Visit a Corn Maze
Trying to find your way through a corn maze can be a challenging and fun day for the family, and most areas with farms that grow corn will have at least one maze. Some farms design standard mazes whereas others cut maze designs of tractors, airplanes, sports logos, and even words.
6) Adopt a Trail or Park
Head out to clean up your favorite park or trail where you have noticed litter piling up. All you will need are some trash bags and gloves and you can even make some easy trash pick-up sticks by duct taping long nails to some long sticks or poles. Pack a lunch and make a day of it and if you live in a state that has redemption for bottles and cans, you may even make a few dollars. Bugs can be thick in the woods so be sure to wear an effective tick and mosquito repellent lotion.
7) Raking Leaves
If there is one thing fall can be counted on for, it is bringing falling leaves, and these must be picked up before spring, or the leaves will inhibit the new spring growth of grass. Since it has to be done, you might as well have some fun doing it. Rake the leaves into a big pile and take turns jumping into it or use the leaves to make a labyrinth. After you have had your fun, put the leaves into trash bags for disposal or use them in a compost pile. However, be aware that ticks may be in leaf litter, so wear a long-lasting insect repellent lotion or spray.
8) Pick Some Pumpkins
While carving pumpkins are great fun, going out to pick your own adds a special touch and makes a fun family activity. There may even be a hay ride involved and many pumpkin patches also offer crafts and fall snacks like cider and donuts. You can even pick some extra pumpkins for making pies for the holidays or home canning.
9) Pumpkin Carving
Once you have your pumpkins, it is time to get to carving. You can do the old-school method of drawing a face or design on the pumpkin with a felt marking pen or find some stencils of intriguing designs at stores or online. Because it takes a sharp knife to cut through the tough skin, it is not the best idea to let the little ones carve their own pumpkins. Instead, let the younger children scoop out the insides to keep them involved.
10) Ball Games
The cooler weather is ideal for playing sports outdoors and touch or flag football, soccer, basketball, or whiffle ball are all games that don’t require many players to have a great time and get some exercise in the cool autumn air.
11) Geese Watch
One of the most spectacular sights of autumn is seeing large flocks of geese flying across the sky as the birds make haste to warmer latitudes. Geese are big birds, so they are hard to miss once they start their migration, and their loud honking can be heard half a mile away. Explain to younger children why the birds migrate, where they end up, and what they eat along the way. Secluded bodies of water, like isolated lakes and ponds and cut-over corn fields, are great places to find geese resting and feeding during their migrations.
If you have a wood stove or fireplace, you are going to need firewood. If you have access to a truck and chain saw, you can make a day of going out into the woods and getting a cord or two. Note that any trees that have fallen over naturally are fair game if you live near a national forest. If you have your wood delivered, it will still need to be stacked. While the actual cutting is a job for older children and adults, young ones can help carry and stack the wood even if it is just one piece at a time.
Don’t Forget the Bug Spray!
Even though the temperatures are cooling down, there are still plenty of biting insects to ruin your fun. Mosquitoes are active at temperatures down to 50 degrees Fahrenheit and ticks remain active until the mercury hits freezing so everyone should wear bug repellent until the first freeze. While many people are concerned about using preparations with harsh chemicals, there are effective bug sprays with low acute toxicity, such as picaridin-based preparations.
Fall is a wonderful time to spend with the family out of doors; these should be enough ideas to keep your family entertained throughout the fall. However, because insects are still active and mosquitoes and ticks carry viruses and bacteria that can cause serious illness and even death in some cases, it is essential to protect yourself from insect bites when outside. Proven Insect Repellent makes a line of picaridin-based insect repellent sprays and lotions you can use with confidence on the whole family. ProvenⓇ 14-hour odorless mosquito and tick lotion offers long-lasting protection, has moisturizing properties and is easy to apply. ProvenⓇ is available in travel-size tubes and bottles as well, great for hiking and on-the-go activities. Find ProvenⓇ online at ProvenRepellent.com, Amazon and in-store at Meijer, Tractor Supply Company, Target and ACE Hardware.