Raking leaves and jumping into piles…apple picking…making Halloween costumes…we all have our favorite memories of fall activities. But there are so many other more unique ways to enjoy the back-to-school season. So if you’re pining away for summer, have a look at this list we at JogAlong have compiled for you and maybe you’ll be inspired for some out-of-the-box fall fun.
1) Leaves, leaves, and more leaves
* At a harvest supper
One year, we had a harvest supper in October. We asked our friends to send us one word referring to something they had accomplished. Then we collected a bunch of leaves, pressed them between wax paper in books, and on the day of the supper, took them out and with gold paint pens, wrote one word from each friend on each leaf. We then scattered the leaves over a white tablecloth, added burgundy candles, and we had a beautiful art installation as the backdrop for our meal. Everyone felt included when they saw their word and the kids got to help by collecting the leaves, putting them in the books, and the older ones, writing with the gold pen.
* As a game of catch
This one from Anne of Montreal: stand under a tree and try to catch leaves as they fall. You can make this a collective game and play against the clock: “Let’s see how many leaves we can collect in five minutes!”
* As a rainbow
This one also from Anne: try to collect leaves of many different colors. Dry them out (with wax paper in between pages of a book) and then create a rainbow of color by gluing the leaves to a poster board or on cardboard from an old box. You can even paint the background white first to make the colors really pop.
* Other crafts
Great site for anyone interested in using leaves for arts and crafts projects: http://www.diyncrafts.com/3666/homemade/15-fabulous-fall-leaf-crafts-kids
You don’t need a lot to enjoy a campfire. Many of us think this is summer activity but it can be more fun with brisker temperatures. You can teach your kids how to prepare and start a fire if they are old enough. Invite friends who play instruments or sing acapella. You can also bring your cell phone and find a free karaoke site. Print words if you want to get really prepared so everyone can sing along. You can also invite people to tell stories, either one at a time or a collective story, with each person telling one sentence and then it’s the next person’s turn. If you want to make an easy meal, you can roast veggies, hot dogs, shish kabob skewers, and make s’mores for dessert.
3) Choose and plant bulbs for spring
Gardening and kids often go well together, and taking time to pick out some beauties that will bloom in the spring, while sometimes a long process, can feel like a miracle when you see those colors bursting forth after a long winter.
4) Host a neighborhood fall fair
Take advantage of the warmer weekend days and plan a fall fair. Get the big kids in on the planning. Make the day very physical with events like a three legged race, face or body painting, theater games, egg and spoon race, found object musical jam, burlap bag race, and wrap the mummy (two groups compete-armed with toilet paper, each group tries to wrap it’s mummy, usually a volunteer mom, from head to toe; the first group who does so wins). Offer snacks like roasted pumpkin seeds, apple muffins, squash soup, pumpkin bread. If you and a few other families collaborate, nobody has to work too hard.
5) Get the neighborhood kids together and create a “Haunted House” for touring
This is great for rainy days or colder days when it’s more fun to be inside. Break up your home into sections by hanging dark blankets or black fabric. Feature one spooky thing or character per section for guests to experience. Get bandanas to use for blindfolds for touring. Record a spooky soundtrack on your computer or phone and play it as the soundtrack. Use face paint, ketchup, and other found materials to create characters and scenes. Be careful not to scare the little ones too much.
6) Raise money for hurricane victims
This is a difficult time for many North Americans. Pick a charity like the Red Cross and hold a neighborhood event. Garage sales, talent shows, bake sales, and raffles are easy ways to both have fun and respond compassionately to those who are struggling.
7) Visit a senior resident home
Another rainy day activity. Contact your local senior residence and ask about visiting. Kids can do wonders for senior adults who are often lonely and without family or friends. It can be fun to bring a few of your kids’ favorite books to read together. Before you go, think about questions you have for the people you’ll meet which can help with shyness.
8) Ride up a chairlift
Most ski resorts have this option for summer and fall. When the foliage is at or near peak, this can be a perfect way to appreciate the beauty of the season.
9) Make a photo clothesline
It’s hard to keep up with our photos but everyone loves seeing them when we do get around to printing them and displaying them. Gather the family around and select six to eight great photos from the summer. Find a space on the wall and hammer in two nails. Attach some dental floss to each nail, creating a mini clothes-line (it can be wider or narrower depending on the size of the photos you print). You can use paper clips or find mini clothespins at a craft store to attach the photos to the line.
10) Alpha-bits book
11) Make an orange supper
12) Make a birdfeeder
We’ve done this using a plastic bottle, turning it upside down, punching a hole on each side and sliding twigs through for the birds to sit on. Then make one more hole on each side above the twigs so the birds can get the seed out with their beaks. Here’s one that’s made with an apple!
As the temperatures get colder, the stars become brighter. On a clear weekend night, wake your kids up to see the display. Even better, study a star chart to learn some of the easier constellations so you can try to find them. If there is a warm spell on a weekend, camp outside and leave the window flaps open for better stargazing.
If you have a favorite fall activity, let us know in the comment section. Happy autumn!!!