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It's finally fall! This is one of my favorite times of the year. Now that I'm a mom to a toddler, I'm having such a great time introducing my son to lots of fun fall activities, so I thought I'd share my personal list of all the things that we've been up to this autumn as well as some of the things that we are planning to do. I hope that this list inspires you to get out and enjoy this beautiful season!
- Go apple picking
Few things scream fall to me like picking your own produce…. Snuggle up in your favorite plaid, scarves, and boots and hit up a local apple orchard. They typically have a variety of different apples and you can get a great deal on large quantities of produce. Make sure you take lots of pictures at the orchard! There are a ton of orchards where I live in New York but if you aren’t sure where to find one near you, check out this great site I found that includes a directory of apple orchards but country and state!
- Make caramel apples
Obviously you’re going to have to find something to do with all of those delicious apples that you’ve picked. Apple pies, apple crisp, apple butter, and apple muffins are all great options, but for an extra special treat why not make some gooey, delicious caramel apples? One Green Planet has an amazingly yummy recipe for VEGAN caramel apples! It’s definitely something to add to your fall bucket list.
- Jump in a leaf pile
Something so simple, but some of my favorite fall memories from childhood are raking up big piles of leaves and jumping in them again, and again..... and again. You can bag up or compost the leaves eventually, but why not have some fun as a family first and create some sweet, sweet memories?
- Go to a harvest festival
We’re really lucky to live in an area where there are lots of fun fall activities for families.... and a lot of them are free! We’ve already been to a couple of fall festivals and have plans to go to a few more. So far, we’ve had kettlecorn, painted (free!) pumpkins, gone on a hayride, ridden on a Halloween train, and gone trick-or-treating at these festivals, so you can see there’s usually a ride range of activities and it’s definitely worth taking a day out of your weekend to check one out.
- Visit a pumpkin patch
Going to the pumpkin patch is my favorite thing to do with my family in the fall. There’s a local farm that we love and visit every year. In addition to taking a hayride out to a pumpkin patch to let our son pick out a pumpkin, there are pony rides, a hay maze for kiddos, and hot apple cider and other yummy treats! We always pick one Saturday in October to spend the whole day at the farm and my son calls it “Fall day”.
- Make a creative Halloween costume
I’ve made a Halloween costume for Ransom every year of his life. For his first Halloween, I only made the costume because I couldn’t find a store-bought costume of what I wanted him to dress up at (Totoro). But I ended up having so much fun making the costume and realized that it is SO much cheaper to make a costume than buy one, that I made him a costume last year and this year as well. You can keep it fairly simple or go crazy and do something really creative. Either way, I think it adds to the fun of the season and makes your little one’s costume a little more special.
- Sip apple cider and munch on apple cider donuts
Yummmmmm! Nothing like hot apple cider and donuts to welcome in fall weather. You can make a special trip for apple cider and donuts (we always get them at the pumpkin patch), but I highly recommend keeping your house regularly stocked with them for the entirety of the fall season. You know, just to be safe ;)
- Get lost in a corn maze
This is one i haven’t done in years but I’m really itching to do now that Ransom is a little bigger and super active. There just happens to be a big corn maze right down the road from our house, so I’m just waiting for the perfect fall day to grab a hot apple cider and get lost in a hay maze. But really, last time I did a hay maze I really did get lost, so keep your fingers crossed for me. If you see smoke signals, it’s probably me.
- Have a bonfire
Have family and friends over and get cozy! We just had a wonderful bonfire last night, complete with trick-or-treating for the kids, fireworks, and s’mores. These crisp, cool fall nights won’t last forever, so let’s enjoy them while we can!
- Make a homemade pie
Apple is my personal favorite, but it seems like most people I talk with prefer pumpkin pie during the fall. This Pumpkin-Spiced Apple Pie is the perfect compromise!
- Watch a spooky movie
When I was a kid, we had a family tradition that we got a new movie every Halloween and watched it together while we ate all the candy that we had collected earlier in the evening. Ransom has been a little too young for that up until now, but this year I want to start doing the same thing for him. I love Ray Bradbury, so I’d really like to do The Halloween Tree, but I think that might be a bit scary for this year, so I think we’re going to snuggle up with some caramel corn and watch It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.
- Carve or paint pumpkins
My little man is still a bit too young to carve pumpkins himself and since I want him to be involved in the process, we choose to paint pumpkins instead of carving for the time being. Finger paints work really well with toddlers, and you can just let the kids go wild with the paints!
- Roast pumpkin seeds
This is especially good if you choose to carve pumpkins instead of painting. These cinnamon sugar pumpkin seeds are delicious and really quick and easy to make.
- Make a hearty chili
Paired with some homemade cornbread, this makes the perfect fall comfort food. This recipe is not only delicious, but vegan and chock full of fresh veggies and all the great nutrients that come along with them!
- Go to a football game
Okay, this is coming from someone who does not follow sports AT ALL. I generally watch football once a year at our family’s super bowl party, and I really only go for the unlimited guacamole. But still, there is something that seems very fall about going to a football game.
- Make a Halloween House
Why should we only make cookie houses for Christmas? Our family has started making haunted cookie houses every year in addition to our Christmas gingerbread houses. This year, my husband and I did most of the construction and decoration while Ransom supervised and taste-tested the candy. I think the finished product lasted a whole 20 minutes.....
- Cozy up your home for the winter
If you’re on social media, you’ve probably heard of Hygge by this point. Hygge (pronounced hoo-gah) is a Danish tradition that has been growing in popularity a lot lately and focuses on slowing down, embracing positivity, and enjoying the small simple things in life. Fall is a wonderful time to start to introduce Hygge into your home. Some easy ways to get started include:
o Making your house as warm and cozy as possible – you’re going to be spending a lot more time indoors now that temperatures are getting cooler, so now is the time to invest in some cozy throws and pillows.
o Curl up next to the fireplace with some warm socks and a good book.
o Have some family and friends over for a warm meal.
o Light candles and enjoy an evening as a family without any electronic devices.
- Make leaf art together
Leaf art is so much fun with toddlers and kids because it’s two activities in one – going outside and collecting different leaves and then making a beautiful creation with them. It’s a great opportunity to talk about different kinds of trees and leaves and what they are often used for (my son loved learning about maple trees and how maple syrup is made), so take advantage of that conversational opportunity!
Some of my favorite leaf art ideas are:
o A fall wreath to cozy up your entryway.
o Make a leaf mobile using leaves that you preserve using this cool method.
o Make leaf critters with your little one and talk about the different animals, the sounds they make, the foods they eat, etc.
- Go to the library and check out books about fall
I’ll take just about any opportunity to squeeze in some reading time with my little guy. With all the wonderful things to do in fall, why not read about them?! Here are some great books about the changing seasons, apples, pumpkins, little animals in the fall, and celebrating fall traditions and holidays.
- Make a homemade pinecone bird feeder
I love our backyard birds! As it gets colder and the bug population starts to die off, I like to give them a little encouragement to stick around. We’ve historically just put up standard bird feeders in the winter, but I’m really excited to try making a pinecone bird feeder with Ransom. The Outdoor Parent has a great tutorial over on their blog. Bonus: we can have a little scavenger hunt in our yard looking for pinecones to use!
What fall activities do you have planned for the season? Let me know in the comments below!!