While the weather might just be turning autumn-y, pumpkin spice and everything nice is bubbling into view like a witch’s brew. No matter where you are, here are three of my favorite fall things to do as a family.
(Photograph by me)
- Shop a Farmer’s Market – Fall is the season of harvest, and many cities have local markets that offer fresh produce, arts, crafts, and live music for all ages. This time of year, they often feature on-theme merchandise so look for bouquets of sunflowers, pumpkin bread and donuts, and wooden hand-painted “Welcome Fall” signs for your doors. Plus, you can support local businesses if you purchase, and often learn a bit about an artisan’s craft.
(Fall display at Apple Works)
- Visit a Farm or Apple Orchard – This is one of my favorites. There are several close to my family and we make a day of it. Sample apples and apple cider, then depending on the location they have some (or all!) of these options: kids can play on the fall-themed playground or pet animals, walk a corn-maze (there might be a haunted one for the older kids), pick apples, bump along on a hayride or tractor-pull, and find the perfect pumpkin in the patch. Many don’t charge just to look so you can enjoy some of the features without cost. Two of my favorite local (Indiana) orchards are Tuttle Orchard and Apple Works. We always go home with our arms full of apples, cider, dumplings, caramel apples, and pie. Oh my!
(my son picking a pumpkin last year)
- Autumn Artwork – Not keen on lots of time outdoors? No problem. Simple indoor crafts with things you quickly find in nature are another fun way to celebrate the season (and talk about why nature is littering on the sidewalk).
- Pinecone Flowers – Paint pinecones you’ve found in red, orange, or yellow. Then drill a hole, or use craft glue, and attach a wood skewer or wire stem and place them in a vase. For older children, the pinecones can be attached to a blank wreath with hot glue (parents, please assist) or wire for a Pinecone Wreath. (Check your thrift stores for salvageable wreaths. Remove the old decor to add something new. Very on-brand for Autumn’s rebirth theme.)
- Leaf Wreaths – find recently fallen leaves (so they aren’t too brittle) of various colors. Cut out the middle of a paper plate to make a wreath shape and glue the leaves around the frame. If you don’t have colorful leaves, you can use any leaf and paint with colorful abstract designs. If you want to try to preserve the leaves, use a clear decoupage like Mod Podge to finish it.
- Fall Rock Painting – Find a rock the size of your palm or larger for ease of making your design or image. I love metallic color options in tempera paint. You’ll want a few sizes of brushes, then use inspiration from the internet. You can write messages like “Hello fall”, draw a leaf, or paint a tree with falling leaves. Something simple like painting a rock orange and once it’s dry adding a black paint stroke for a pumpkin’s stem is something for any artist level.
(Rock painted by my son)
Whatever you do, and wherever you are, autumn traditionally has been a time to reflect on change; what has passed and preparing for what is yet to come. Find something that your family has done this year that brought you joy and talk about it. Then find something that is yet to come to be excited for. Trees losing their leaves is a part of their cycle. What new memory branches will your family grow next year?