50 Fall Activities to Jump Start Your Favorite Season

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Summer may be winding down, but that doesn’t mean your family plans on doing the same. In fact, they’ve been dreaming up fall bucket list adventures for weeks! Add any of these fall crafts, activities and other ideas, like visits to your local pumpkin patch, to your list to make sure it’s a truly epic season. Keep reading to be inspired.

photo: iStock

1. Take a weekend road trip. Turns out summer hasn’t completely cornered the market on family road trips. Fall is a great time to plan one too. From changing leaves to pumpkin patch odysseys, there’s plenty to see all season long!

2. Jump in a leaf pile. It doesn’t get any easier than the tried-and-true "rake, gather and repeat" to help the kids hop into autumn.

3. Attend a fall festival. It seems like almost everything has its own festival during the harvest season. See our picks for the best fall festivals in the country here.

4. Build a bonfire and make s'mores. While you can do this anytime, there's something about those chilly nights that really make this special. Amp up your s'mores game with these unique takes on the classic treat.

5. Take a wagon ride. That fall festival you're attending? See if you can add a wagon ride in for old-fashioned fun.

6. Find or stash a Geocache. Let your phone guide you … to hidden treasures in your neighborhood. Seek one out, or stash one of your own for others to find. Get the whole story before you head out.

7. Do a fall-themed science experiment. From exploding pumpkins to learning about why leaves change color, we've got easy experiments you can set up in the afternoon.

8. Pick apples at a nearby orchard. U-pick, we pick, your kiddos will love picking bright crispy apples on a sunny day. See our favorite U-pick orchards here.

9. Check out the fall foliage. Court fall’s most colorful stars by taking a stroll around the ‘hood or hiking a tree-lined trail. See our favorite spots by clicking here.

10. Host an apple cider tea party. Tea parties are always fun. But, an apple cider tea party? That screams fall all over.

photo: Allison Sutcliffe

11. Hop aboard a fall train ride. From cider sipping to leaf watching, to visiting Charlie Brown’s Great Pumpkin patch, historic trains are taking families to fall’s hottest spots.

12. Visit a haunted house. We've got the best ones for kids right here.

13. Whip up a few wicked (pretend) potions. 'Tis the season for magic, spells and easy afternoon fun. We rounded up our favorite potions kids can make here

14. Go bird watching. Grab the binocs and a local birding guide from the library before heading out on this quiet adventure. Don’t forget to record your finds in a field note journal you can use year after year.

15. Jump in puddles. Embrace the changing weather and splash around a bit.

photo: Gabby Cullen

16. Visit your local botanic garden. Tiptoe through the fall colors at a botanic garden, where you’ll find more than just picture-perfect spots. Discover local kid perks at gardens near you here.

17. Build a fort outside. The weather is still nice enough for long outdoor afternoons. Take advantage and help your kids get set up with their own pad

18. Make something with apples. Take all those apples you brought home from the orchard and put them to good use in one of these awesome apple recipes.

19. Watch a family Halloween movie. Because you can! 

20. Spend time on a swing. Preferably under a tree whose leaves are changing color.

photo: Meredith Browand

21. Take in one more ball game. Bundle up for one more game with peanuts, Cracker Jacks…and a specialty stadium hot dog, if you know what’s good for you. Through September families can catch a final baseball or soccer match before they focus their attention on football at one of our favorite family-friendly parks.

22. Have a fall-themed crafternoon. Fall is the perfect time to perfect your Pinterest game. Plus, we've got the best fall projects for kids right here.

23. Bob for apples. Because it's fun. And you still have apples left from the orchard. 

24. Play Halloween games. When else besides fall can you play Witch Pitch and Pop the Pumpkin

25. Go on a leaf scavenger hunt. Put your little sleuth on the case of the missing leaves (identify the ones to find ahead of time: maple, oak, pecan, evergreen, etc.).

photo: courtesy Tara's Organic Ice Cream

26. Go for ice cream. Or fro yo. Or shave ice. Before it gets too cold to enjoy these chilly treats on a sunny day. You won’t regret it.

27. Play ball. Throw, kick or bounce your way over to the local outdoor sports court or grassy park for quality (family) game time.

28. Pick pumpkins at a patch. Nothing says fall quite like the annual pumpkin patch outing. Let your sidekick climb the hay bales or jump in the corn bin while you sip hot apple cider nearby. We gathered the best patches from coast to coast.

29. Read books in the backyard. The fall weather invites you to grab a blanket, a kid and read outside. See our favorite books of 2021 (so far) right here.

30. Make hot chocolate and sit outside until the sun sets. 

31. Bundle up for a bike ride. Get more mileage from your outdoor time on your trusty two-wheeler. Whether you’re trailer-ing your crew or they’re balance-biking alongside you, there’s no denying the joy that comes from a family bike ride.

32. Make pumpkin-spiced something. You should have plenty of ingredients for this one because you've already been to the patch, right?  Find your new favorite recipe here.

33. Take a hike. Cooler weather means it'll be easier to hit the trail with kids. Have you done any of these bucket list hikes?

34. Tailgate at your favorite game. Whether it's your alma mater or the local high school, setting up with snacks and hanging out with friends before kick-off time is classic fall fun

35. Watch the birds fly south for the winter. Look up to see those V-shaped groups of feathered friends heading for warmer pastures.

36. Shop your local farmer’s market. Glossy red apples, stew-worthy root veggies and a cornucopia of squashes are waiting for you at your local farmer’s market in autumn. Get yours before the markets go on hiatus for the winter.

37. Stop and breathe. Take the kids outside and take a few deep breaths. As a bonus, ask them if they can smell anything that screams fall!

38. Go on one last picnic. Before the winter weather sets in, pack the basket full of everyone's favorite picnic foods. Then find a grassy spot to enjoy the spread.

39. Watch a sunset. The leaves changing colors don’t have anything on the fall’s glorious sunsets. Bring your tiny tot out to enjoy the colorful show before she hits the hay.

40. Make a pillow fort and read Halloween books. Our favorites can be found here.

41. Get lost in a corn maze. Fall is a great time to take advantage of old-school farm faves, like winding your way through a corn maze. Find our favorites here.

42. Plant winter veggies. Things like kale, spinach, lettuce and asparagus will grow through the chilly months!

43. Bake a witch-y treat

44. Make fall luminaries. They'll be glowingly good for Halloween night. We love this easy tutorial from Where Imagination Grows.

45. Decorate your front door for Halloween. Make your home a wickedly welcoming one. We've got easy ideas here.

46. Plant bulbs. Get your little green thumb into the mud before the first freeze to plant bulbs now so you can enjoy them this spring. Let your garden grow!

47.  Find an Oktoberfest. Raise a glass to this festive family outing. Bundle up the kidlets for face painting, dancing, parades and of course, a few frothy mugs for mom and dad. Cheers!

48. Decorate your front yard for Halloween. We've got the best ideas to inspire you!

49. Find constellations in the night sky. Fall’s shorter days and longer nights mean kids don’t have to stay up too late to find dazzling patterns overhead. Here's our step-by-step guide to stargazing with kids. 

50. Go to an amusement park that's better in the fall. From LEGOLAND's Brick or Treat to the Halloween Spooktacular at Sea World Parks, fun fall events and the crisp weather are perfect reasons to spend a day being thrilled.

—Allison Sutcliffe with Gabby Cullen

Featured image: iStock 



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