Fall is one of the absolute best times to spend your days outdoors. The weather is cooler and much more tolerable. Take the kids outside and soak up the sun. Here are some free and simple activities to do with your little ones to keep them occupied while taking advantage of the glorious weather.
Rake leaves…and then jump in them: Who hasn’t wanted to do this? As a child, I would spend hours playing in the fallen leaves with my siblings and cousins. We would rake huge piles just to run as fast as our little legs would go and jump right in. We would hide under them during a rousing game of hide and go seek. We would play house and make beds and couches out of them. Let your imagination run wild with your kids and see what you can create with a pile of leaves. Bonus: the yard gets raked with no complaining.
Go for a Hike: Gone are the sweltering days, and annoying bugs. The time outside is actually enjoyable, so grab the kids and take them for a hike. Head out to a local park, field, or just around the neighborhood. Toddlers will especially love taking all the sights in. Be prepared for a slow, leisurely hike with little ones as they examine every rock, animal, or leaf they see. Use this time to talk to your kids about anything that comes to their mind.
Bubbles: Relax on the porch and blow bubbles. Fill the sky around you with those beautiful, iridescent globes. The kids will wear off some energy trying to pop them all, and it can be a great stress reliever for parents.
Sidewalk Chalk: Use sidewalk chalk to create a fall masterpiece on the driveway. Draw pumpkins, witches, and ghosts. Have the kids practice their letters or just scribble away. Play hopscotch or tic-tac-toe. I think I love coloring on the sidewalk even more than my kids do. It’s very relaxing.
Have a Picnic: Make a quick lunch of PB&J, crackers, milk, and fruit and head outside. Lay a blanket down and enjoy an easy picnic with your children. They will love this time with you and will be sure to ask for another picnic soon after. Let them run around the yard – be crazy. Who cares if they make a mess or spill their milk? It’s easy clean up.
Collect Leaves: I still have a book in my house that has leaves pressed into it from a walk I took when I was 6 years old with my grandparents. Walk around the yard or block with the kids and have them find their favorite leaves or acorns. Press the leaves into a sturdy, heavy book, create a leaf and acorn bouquet, or just scatter them on the mantle. They will love showing everyone their special finds.
Make a Scarecrow: Use items from your home to create a fun scarecrow. Find an old shirt and stuff it with newspaper or leaves. Create a head from a pillowcase, and stick a hat on him. Get creative! Prop him out by the mailbox or your front door when you are finished to greet your guests.
Create an Obstacle Course: Set up a fun and easy obstacle course in the backyard. Use hula hoops, balls, bikes, the swing set, and anything else to challenge the kids. Time them while they run the course, and then run it yourself. The kids will love to see you out there trying it too.
Clean up: Grab a bucket, some soap, and some sponges. Create a washing station and help the kids wash their bikes up. Feel free to wash any outdoor toys as well, or even the siding on the house. Playing in suds and cleaning up – win win!
Have a Campfire: Fall is the perfect time to cozy up near a fire. Roast marshmallows and hot dogs, and listen to the night sounds before the weather turns too cold. Have your child share his highs and lows of the day, tell you her Christmas list, or make up a fun, silly story together.
The best memories are often made of the simplest tasks. Spend as much time as possible this fall making those special memories with your kids.