Fall is a great time to get out and participate in fun seasonal activities for kids.
After the sweltering hot days of summer, fall brings a breath of fresh air, both literally and figuratively. Here are 15 fun fall activities for kids and families to enjoy.
Take your kids apple-picking
September is prime apple-picking time in many locations. This is a great fall activity for kids because you can get out and enjoy the fresh air. It’s also a great way to let kids see where their fruit actually grows and participate in the harvest.
Choose the date of your outing carefully though, because in many places, much of September is more like summer than fall.
The best thing about apple-picking is that, aside from the fun it provides your kids on the day of, you can continue to reap the benefits for weeks. Apples keep for a long time, especially when refrigerated. Your kids can continue to eat what they picked for quite a while.
Plus, you can use the apples you picked to bake various treats, such as apple pie or turnovers, or to make a ridiculously easy applesauce in your crockpot. (<–I basically use this recipe, except I don’t add any extra sugar or water.)
Baking is such a fun activity for kids anyway, but when you’re using ingredients they picked themselves, it really brings it to a whole new level.
Do a fall scavenger hunt with your kids
Scavenger hunts are one of my favorite fun activities for kids. I love them because they’re so versatile!
You can do a fall scavenger hunt with your kids (<—click the link to visit that post and download your free copy), but you can do it repeatedly by changing the items on the checklist. You can also make it harder or easier, depending on your child’s age.
If your child is a reader, use word-based lists. If your child is not yet reading, you can do picture-based scavenger hunts.
You can also make it competitive or a team-based activity, depending on the level of fighting you can tolerate from your kids.
Another fun fall activity for kids is attending a local football game.
If you live near a university, your kids may enjoy seeing the bigger stadium and the pre-game festivities offered. Many times the alumni associations, athletic clubs, etc. for the college host family-friendly games, face-painting, etc. that your kids may enjoy.
Bonus points if you live close to where you or your spouse attended college (or you live near a school that your alma mater might play this season). If you’re connected to/invested in the team, that makes the outing even more fun.
If you live near an NFL stadium, that can also be a lot of fun for kids, but the cost tends to be a lot higher (for everything: parking, tickets, food, drink, etc.). Unless your kids are old enough to appreciate the experience, skip the pro games.
If you don’t live near a professional or college football team, you can still take your kid to enjoy a football game. Local high schools would love to have the extra support and the cost is usually so much cheaper (typically around $5/ticket).
High school games still have the band, cheer/dance performances, excited fans, and most importantly to kids, snacks! Plus, it’s a great way to get involved in your community and support your neighbors.
While fall covers September through November, there are some fun fall activities for kids that are uniquely suited for October.
Go to a pumpkin patch and pick out a pumpkin.
You can do a tiny little pumpkin patch, where the pumpkin is the main (and sometimes only) event, or you can make a day of it by visiting one of the more elaborate pumpkin patches or pumpkin farms, where there may be animals, hayrides, and other attractions offered.
Be sure to Google the location in advance and check out your local Certifikid or Living Social deals. Some of these places can be surprisingly expensive (especially if you have multiple kids), but group tickets or advanced tickets can often be purchased at a discount.
If your kids are a little older, or don’t spook too easily, you can take them to a haunted house or a haunted corn maze. If they don’t like that kind of stuff, walking a corn maze is a fun fall activity for kids that is typically fright-free during the daytime hours.
It’s fun for kids to try on Halloween costumes, even ones they don’t want.
Choosing a Halloween costume is just part of the Halloween fun for kids. My husband likes to take our kids to Target at least ten times and let them try on all the ridiculous masks and costumes there.
If you get nervous about germs or, Heaven forbid, lice, this may not be the best fall activity for you to do with your kids. This is exactly why my husband does this with the kids instead of me (and I check all their heads neurotically when they return).
Watch a fun Halloween movie
During October, we usually take a break from any “regular” cartoons or shows. If we’re watching something as a family during this month, it’s Halloween-themed.
Netflix and Amazon Prime usually up their supply of seasonal content significantly at this time. Cable/regular TV/The Hallmark channel often airs these specials as well.
Here are a few fun Halloween cartoons and movies we prefer to stream in our house: Hocus Pocus, Casper the Friendly Ghost, Masha’s Spooky Stories (disclaimer: my boys love this, I do not), Room on the Broom, Super Monsters, and any of the Hotel Transylvania movies.
We also love and watch The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown every year, but we have that on DVD (but it will definitely run on network TV every year if you keep an eye on your listings).
If you feel a little guilty about so much screen time, many of these have related books as well. We usually check them out at the library. This adds some more festive, fall fun to our evening bedtime routines (and helps the teacher in me feel a little less guilty).
Participate in local Trunk or Treats with your kids
A trunk or treat is where people decorate the trunks of their cars and kids can trick or treat (ahem, trunk or treat) in a parking lot by walking from car to car.
This has a few benefits for parents. First, these events are usually sponsored by a school, church, or other local organization, so it’s a great way to support your community.
Second, it’s usually held on a weekend night, a week or two before Halloween. This means no staying out late on a school night. Your kids also get the opportunity to wear their Halloween costumes multiple times (especially if you hit up more than one trunk or treat).
Finally, if you participate by decorating your trunk, and not just trick-or-treating, it can be a fun activity for your family to work together to plan and execute your trunk design.
When Halloween is said and done, let the kids smash their pumpkins for more fall fun
The Type-A control freak in me cringes when we do this, but fortunately, my husband is more laid-back than me. The week after Halloween, he lets the kids take a baseball bat to the old pumpkins in our driveway. They absolutely love it! (He lets them do the same after Christmas with their gingerbread houses.)
Seasonal crafts are fun fall activities for kids to do, and they make great keepsakes!
I love to make various handprint crafts with the kids that I can display every year. I’ve used their feet as ghosts and their hands as spiders, to name just a few (Pinterest is full of fun ideas for this).
Another easy fall craft activity is to have kids collect some dried leaves from the yard and then do a leaf-rubbing. To do a leaf-rubbing, simply place the leaf under a single piece of printer paper. With a crayon, lightly rub the crayon back and forth on the paper (while the leaf is underneath).
The beauty of this craft is that the kids can collect a variety of leaves and each will look different when “rubbed” onto the paper.
S’mores are a classic camping activity, but… I hate to camp! As a result, we do fire and s’mores at home.
You can do this with a firepit, or if you don’t have access, you can even let the kids “toast” a marshmallow over a plain, unscented candlen (closely supervised, obviously).
We’ve also done it over the grill, but consider this my disclaimer: I don’t know if that’s bad for your grill or a fire hazard (but we all survived).
Sometimes the most fun fall activities for kids are the simplest.
Adults have a tendency to over-complicate things. We think that if it’s not elaborate, expensive, or time-consuming, it won’t be much fun. Kids remind us that this just isn’t true.
One of my kids’ favorite fall activities, every single year, is raking up the leaves and jumping in the piles. I loved this as a kid, but somewhere between ages 7 and 27, I forgot how fun it could be.
It wasn’t until my first, only a toddler at the time, spent literally hours jumping in the same two piles, that I remembered how enjoyable I once found it.
This has the added bonus of allowing you to tackle a household chore (raking) while the kids are having fun. Even better, get some smaller rakes and let them “help” rake the piles. The process won’t be any faster with their assistance (and could quite possibly be slower). Still, the kids won’t be nagging you or whining while you work. That’s a clear win!
What are some fun fall activities for kids that your family enjoys?
If I left any off the list, leave me your ideas in the comments!
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