Make a Pile of Leaves
. . . and jump in them!
Play With Sidewalk Chalk
One bucket of sidewalk chalk will lend itself to hours of entertainment and tons of learning opportunities. All you need is a concrete space, a wild imagination, and a hose for cleanup. Try these five ideas to start with.
Feed the Ducks
If your kids have been begging for a pet of their own for months and you're simply unable to oblige, give them the next best thing. Grab some stale bread to use as duck food, and head to your nearest lake or pond. You can even make a half-day trip of it, packing a lunch and hanging by the playground.
Go Apple Picking
Seek out a nearby orchard and get picking! This will also solve your dilemma of what to do on upcoming rainy or overcast days, as your bushels of apples will make the most delicious pies, muffins, breads, and more.
Write a Fall Bucket List
Teach the kids about setting goals early on with a Fall bucket list. It doesn't have to be anything serious — think friendships, new sports, and recipes — but it will be fun to turn to your list for ideas next time you hear a chorus of "Mom, I'm bored . . . "
Make Chalk Spray
Switch up their usual sidewalk chalk play a bit and let them spray their artwork instead. By mixing paint, water, cornstarch, and soap, they'll have a unique formula that's fun to spritz on the driveway and sidewalk.
Take a Hike
The whole family will get a healthy dose of exercise by exploring a local park or new neighborhood on a kid-friendly hike.
Make a Garden Sensory Bin
Sensory boxes are a fun way to get kids talking about what they're seeing and feeling. This garden sensory bin is a great way to wrap a theme around the bin.
Play Dress-Up With Face Paint
Turn the kids into their favorite animals with face paint, glitter, and jewels. Don't worry if you're not a professional makeup artist, we have all the tips and tricks you need to know!
Go Pumpkin Picking
Carving a jack-o'-lantern is so much more satisfying when he's made from a pumpkin that your kids picked on their very own.
Make Ice Cream in a Coffee Can
Avoid the mess of making ice cream inside with this fun and toddler-friendly activity. Simply mix the ingredients and then have the kids roll the can back and forth!
Have a Campfire
Some of the best Indian Summer memories can be made around a campfire. If you have a fire pit or access to one, let the kids roast everything from veggies to s'mores. After everyone is fed and full, tell stories and share some laughs.
Plan a Treasure Hunt
Pull out the pirate hats and send your littlest mateys off on search of buried treasure. Make a map leading them to the bounty by staining paper with coffee and burning the edges. Then, have a prize — like gold coins — hidden at the end of the journey. Watching their excitement will be just as much fun for you as it is for them.
Set Up an Obstacle Course
Get the kids into a competitive spirit with an obstacle course. Using objects you already own (ropes, tubes, and beams), you can create a backyard course that tests their agility and will keep them entertained for hours. It also makes an affordable party theme!
Cruise For Fall Foliage
Follow Ralph Waldo Emerson's sage advice: "Life is a journey, not a destination," and take a meandering drive down a scenic stretch near your home — simply to soak in the beauty of the changing leaves. Not sure where to start? Check out The Weather Channel's guide to the best scenic drives in the country.
No need to wait until Christmas — bake up a batch of chewy sugar cookies and let your kids go to town with some al fresco frosting and decorating fun. Use cookie cutters, food coloring, and sprinkles to make each cookie unique.
Plant a Garden
Starting a garden is a great way to teach your kids about the value of fresh food, and inspire them to take an interest in the culinary arts later on. Between the watering and the weeding, a garden will give them an ongoing project that'll also be a fun and hands-on way to teach responsibility.
Plan a Picnic
Pack for a picnic and head to the park; it's time for an adventure! Bring along your family's favorite on-the-go eats and these picnic essentials for an afternoon of fun under the early Fall sun.
Make a Spray-Paint Craft
Get out the spray bottles: this artistic project may get a little messy, but when it's executed outdoors, cleanup's a breeze.
Have a Scavenger Hunt
Put your little detectives to work with a scavenger hunt. This is a great activity for a group of kids, and you can set it up anywhere: a park, your backyard, or around the neighborhood. Keep it simple or turn to this detective party for clues on how to set up a more elaborate adventure.
Go Backyard Camping (For a Few Hours!)
Actually spending the night outdoors may be a bit chilly in Fall, but for an evening of family fun, pitch a tent, make s'mores, and tell campfire stories — then cuddle up in the comfort of your own beds. It's the best of both worlds!
Encourage your little shutterbugs to get snapping by creating a list of "photo missions," and accompanying them on a photo safari. Include things you're apt to see around your neighborhood — a red door, a mom with a double stroller, a white dog . . . get creative!
And don't forget to wear your ro•sham•bo shades while doing all outdoor activities! The air may be colder, but the sun still shines just as bright in the fall - even brighter when it has snow to bounce off of!