Hay rides. Bonfires. Haunted houses. There are so many quintessential fall experiences we want to share with our kids; it can be hard to keep track of them all. This is where it helps to keep a list of don’t-miss fall pursuits (or simply follow the one below).
1. Go apple picking. According to the U.S. Apple Association there are 7,500 apple growers in the United States, with apples grown in every state on the continent. Locate one near you at: www.orangepippin.com/orchards.
2. Jump in a pile of leaves.
3. Carve a picture in a pumpkin. Find hundreds of free downloadable templates atwww.celebrating-halloween.com/pumpkincarving/.
4. Write a gratitude list. Challenge your kids to see who can come up with the most things they are thankful for.
5. Make homemade caramel corn (hint: it’s actually quite easy). Look online or in a basic cookbook for recipes.
6. Serve in a food pantry, soup kitchen, or homeless shelter as a family. With 1 in 6 Americans facing hunger, your efforts will have an impact. To find a food pantry near you check out foodpantries.org.
7. Visit your local fire station during Fire Prevention Week the second week of October. Many fire companies host open houses and give presentations during this week.
8. Make homemade applesauce. Core and quarter sweet apples. Cook them in an inch of water in a large pot. Once the apples have softened, crank them through a sieve or food mill. Add cinnamon to taste. If you don’t have a sieve, you can make a small batch of applesauce by mashing the cooked apples with a potato masher (peel before cooking). Enjoy!
9. Go for a walk under the harvest moon, the first full moon after the autumn equinox. Unlike other full moons, the Harvest Moon rises right at sunset. This makes it very visible on the horizon, where it often appears larger and brighter than other full moons.
10. Drink hot apple cider, while eating caramels.
11. Visit a corn maze and try not to get lost. TheMaize.com provides listings of corn mazes in every state.
12. Create a toasty lap blanket from fleece. Buy one yard each of two fabrics. Place one on top of the other, wrong sides together. Along all four edges make cuts 4-5 inches into the fabric and 1 to 2 inches apart. Tie top & bottom strips into a single or double knot.
13. Go to a football game.
14. Watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. NBC broadcasts the New York City parade live starting at 9am ET every Thanksgiving Day.
15. Break the turkey wishbone.
16.Watch It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. This classic Halloween show from 1966 follows the Peanuts gang as they celebrate Halloween, while Linus waits for the coming of the Halloween benefactor he calls “The Great Pumpkin.”
17. Try a hearty fall soup like pumpkin, butternut squash, or baked potato to really get into spirit of autumn.
18. Cuddle an animal or two at your local humane society or pet rescue for National Adopt a Shelter Dog Month (October).
19. Fall for Autumn by going to an Oktoberfest celebration.
20. Pack a note in your child’s lunch along with a fall treat like candy corn.
21. Avast, mates & hoist t’sails for Talk Like a Pirate Day (September 19th). For more details on how to create some piratey fun for your family, check outwww.talklikeapirate.com.
22. Teach your children how to plant flower bulbs.
23. Learn how to can or preserve fruits & veggies. Jarden Brands (maker of Ball Canning supplies) offers an inexpensive starter kit. Learn all about canning at their website: www.freshpreserving.com.
24. Take a hayride.
25. Check out a model railroad exhibit in November for National Model Railroad Month. Local clubs often have displays open to the public for special events. Find a model railroad you can visit at www.greatesthobby.com.
Add in some trick-or-treating (and possibly that haunted house) and you’ll have enough activities to keep you steeped in the season all fall long. And you’ll gain many memorable moments with your kids along the way.
Editor’s note: last edit October, 2021