As the summer heat gradually fades, we welcome the cooler temperatures and beautiful changing colors. Again, the fall season presents the perfect opportunity for children to explore the great outdoors. We should encourage our kids to put down their devices and engage with nature. It is important we foster a deeper appreciation for nature early on. Creating exciting fall adventures that will not only keep them active but aid in increasing their outdoor appreciation. Each season provides its own opportunity for nature education. With any outdoor experience, we should have our kids engage their senses: touch, smell, taste, hear, and sight. Something great about fall is seeing the season change in such a beautiful way. Life cycles of trees and common agriculture crops are harvested in fall. Here are nine fun-filled fall activities for outdoor kids to enjoy.
Table of Contents
1- Nature Scavenger Hunt
Create a nature scavenger hunt; they are fun and free! These are excellent ways to engage children’s senses while they explore the outdoors. Develop a list of items commonly found in the fall, such as acorns, colorful leaves, pinecones, and feathers. I like to split my kids into teams or have them work individually to see who can find the most items on the list. It’s a fun, educational game that will keep them entertained for hours. Last year we did this in Spring with friends; the kids looked for wild edible plants. We ended the day eating dandelion bread topped with dandelion jelly. The kids still talk about that day. There is something about making tangible nature experiences that etch memories that last forever. Here is a simple list of common foraging items found during the fall season.
Common Fall foraging list:
- Black Walnuts
- Rose Hips
- Crab Apples
- Dandelion greens and roots
2- Apple Picking
Fall is harvest season. It is a perfect time to take advantage of the bountiful apple harvest. Head to a local orchard for a day of apple picking. Let your kids experience the joy of plucking ripe apples from the trees. Afterward, use the fruits for baking delicious treats like apple pie or apple crisps together as a family. Dehydrated apple chips are my kid’s favorite snack. I enlist their help when it comes to washing a peeling. They truly enjoy being a part of the food preservation experience. If you like to can food, this is a perfect time to stock up on apple sauce, apple butter, and apple pie filling.
3- Pumpkin Patch and Corn Mazes
We cannot mention fall without talking about pumpkins. Taking a visit to a pumpkin patch is a classic fall activity that never gets old. Most pumpkin patches offer a day’s worth of fun with tractor hayrides, mazes, food trucks or stands, and gift shops. Take time to wander through rows of pumpkins, and let your kids select their favorites to take home. This outing provides an excellent opportunity for cute family photos and a chance to create wonderful memories. Pumpkins provide fun past the day at the patch, and it’s the gift that keeps giving. Many families are opting to paint the exterior of the pumpkins instead of carving them. This allows you to enjoy the pumpkin as an iconic fall decoration but then process it as a delicious pie filling and roast the seeds.
4- Nature Art
Nature art is hands-on and fun for kids. My kids enjoy making paint with natural dyes made from crushed berries, leaves, and flowers. You can even make your own paint brushes out of leaves, twigs, and twine. Encourage your little artists to express their creativity using materials found in nature. Collect fallen leaves, acorns, and twigs during a nature walk, then challenge the kids to make unique art pieces. They can create leaf rubbings, build twig sculptures, press flowers, or paint using their paint creations.
5- Leaf Jumping
This is such a simple idea, but raking up a big pile of leaves and jumping into them is a joyous fall activity for kids. Watching their faces light up with delight as they leap into the colorful sea of leaves brings a nostalgic memory for us parents. Many of us can remember doing the same thing when we were kids. It is always a cherished moment when we can recreate our favorite memories for our kids. Just be sure to check for hidden obstacles before jumping to ensure safety. Not every nature outing has to cost money or require loads of planning.
6- Hiking Adventures
Hiking not only provides exercise but also allows children to learn about different plant species, wildlife, and ecosystems in their area. I’m always a big hiking advocate and challenge myself to get my own kids out during every season. Fall temperatures allow you to hike longer distances without worrying about the extreme heat or cold. Make sure you pack plenty of water, snacks and have a good pair of shoes. Hitting the local hiking trails gives you the opportunity to observe and discover the beauty of nature’s fall transformation up close. Something I have come to enjoy about hiking is the spontaneity of the outdoors, and you never know what you are going to see. We regularly frequent a trail my kids love, and we have hiked it four or five times. Each time there is something new. Last fall, we saw cougar tracks, and this summer, we found wild garlic and onions.
7- Backyard Campfire Stories
Invest in a backyard fire pit or patio steel burn pit, you will not have to go far to create this outdoor experience. Gather around a crackling campfire on a cool fall evening and tell spooky stories, listen to music, and engage in conversation. Nothing says fall campfire like roasting marshmallows, making s’mores, and sipping apple cider. Mom hack: They now make chocolate-stuffed marshmallows; the chocolate melts as the marshmallow roast. Anything with less mess is a win for me! Campfires are the best to just enjoy the warmth of the fire while bonding as a family.
8- Bird Watching
Unleash your kid’s natural curiosity. Bird watching nurtures that curiosity by introducing them to the fascinating world of birds and their behaviors. There are numerous learning opportunities with bird watching. It provides them with chances to identify different bird species to understand their habitats and migratory patterns. Additionally, it’s a great way to teach kids patience, focus, and observation as they quietly wait to spot different birds. Bird watching encourages a deeper connection with nature, fostering a sense of responsibility and appreciation for wildlife. It only requires a little equipment to go bird watching; get a pair of kid-friendly binoculars. Start with a basic field guide to help identify common birds in your area. Perfect spots for bird-watching are local parks, nature reserves, or even your backyard to begin your bird-watching journey, teaching kids that bird-watching requires patience on the parent’s part, as well. Encourage them to sit quietly and observe, avoiding sudden movements or loud noises. Make a simple checklist of common local birds. Each time your kids spot a new one, it’s a small victory! Share fun facts you have researched about the birds you encounter and share them with your kids. It adds to the excitement. Reinforce the experience with note booking. Bring a notebook for sketching or jotting down observations. You can also take photos to create a bird-watching scrapbook. Get creative by building and decorating birdhouses to attract birds to your yard. This also provides an opportunity to speak about winter birds that do not migrate and their need for shelter during the winter season.
9- Camping Trip
With the welcomed cooler temperatures, there is a perfect opportunity to end the fall season with a memorable camping trip. Whether it’s in a nearby national park or just in your backyard, camping introduces children to the wonders of nature, stargazing, and the joy of spending quality time outdoors. There is no better time to pack up your camping gear and embark on a fall adventure with your kids. Fall camping offers a unique opportunity to connect with nature in its most enchanting season. It’s a chance to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of daily life and immerse yourselves in the outdoors. Camping with your kids opens the door to valuable life lessons you can’t teach indoors. Camping in the fall is a lot different than camping in the summer season. Kids can learn about adaptation as they witness wildlife preparing for the colder months. The only way kids will gain a deep appreciation for the changing seasons and the beauty it brings is to immerse them in it. Camping provides an opportunity to do that for a short duration of time. Be sure to pack your warm layers, prepare the camping snacks, and embark on an adventure of unforgettable memories and an intimate connection with your children.
If you caught on a lot, I mentioned “creating memories” several times. Your kid will not become an outdoors enthusiast overnight. It is a lifestyle that the parent or guardian has cultivated over time. Fall offers an array of outdoor activities that will excite and engage kids while nurturing their connection with the natural world. From scavenger hunts to pumpkin patches, each activity creates lasting memories and valuable learning experiences. Embrace the opportunity to step away from screens and immerse yourselves in the wonders of the great outdoors. So, gear up your little outdoor enthusiasts and welcome the season with these fun-filled fall activities!