Autumn is a favorite time of year for many. It’s not too hot, not too cold. All the fall colors look beautiful against a blue-sky backdrop. And there’s nothing like the sound of dried-up leaves crunching beneath your feet. So seize the day and get out with your kids before the snow flies!

Here are 8 great activities to do with your kids this fall:

  1. Go to an apple orchard. The best apple orchards have so much to do. You can take hay and pony rides, taste and pick apples, drink fresh-squeezed apple cider, see farm animals, get all sticky as you devour caramel apples, run freely through fields or just sit back and watch it all.
  2. Bake apple crisp. Using kid-safe peelers, have a contest to see who can peel the longest continuous piece of apple skin. Let your kids measure and mix the apple crisp ingredients. Then play a card game like Uno, Go Fish, or Old Maid while you enjoy the delicious scent of your apple crisp baking. Serve the fresh-baked dessert a la mode and with caramel topping.
  3. Get lost in a corn maze. You’d have to fly yourself and your kids all the way to Europe to see some of the world’s most renowned hedge mazes. Get a similar experience for a fraction of the cost by checking out a local corn maze. When you get there, let the kids lead you through the narrow channels and dead ends. Pretend you’re counting on them to help you find your way out before nightfall. Cheer together when you reach the exit and celebrate with some fresh-popped kettle corn.
  4. Jump in a pile of leaves. Don’t ask your kids to help you rake. It sounds too much like a chore. Instead, have all the rakes, work gloves and leaf bags ready outside. Then — just before your kids tell you they’re bored — challenge them to see who can make the biggest pile of leaves to jump in. Bring your camera for this great photo op, and beware of doggie do.
  5. Build a scarecrow family. Now you have a great use for your torn-up old jeans and shirts that are way past their prime. Stuff ’em with some of the leaves you’ve just collected to build scarecrows. Display them in front of your house and passersby will surely do a double take.
  6. Take a nature walk. Get away from the concrete jungle. Find a place where you can walk with your kids that has no cars, buildings, or power lines in sight. Pretend you’re Hansel and Gretel trying to find your way home, or Little Red Riding Hood bringing a basket full of food to Grandma. Let your kids set the pace during the walk, reminding yourself your walk is a journey, not a destination. Enjoy every minute of this special time with your sweeties, and lose yourselves in the wonder of the view, fresh air, foliage and wildlife.
  7. See a play. Once you’ve spent time playing with your kids, take them to see a play. It doesn’t have to be at a big, fancy — expensive — theater either. Check out the plays showing at schools near you. They’re quite entertaining. Or find out when your local theaters offer pay-what-you-can performances or cheap seats. Be sure to reserve them in advance.
  8. Feed the birds. Pick out a bird feeder with your kids, along with birdseed and all you need to hang it outside your window. Keep the bird feeder stocked throughout the long winter months and delight in watching the birds eat their meals outside while you enjoy yours indoors.

On the surface, it might seem like we need to come up with elaborate plans to show our kids a good time. Wait for these, and the fun times you have together will be few and far between. So instead, think of simpler ways you can make memories with your kids everyday. They grow up so fast. Enjoy every second of their precious childhood while it lasts.

Featured photo credit: Colorful Autumn Leaves/Viktor Hanacek via picjumbo.com

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