Fall is my favorite time of year. I love the clean, crisp air and the changes occuring in nature. I enjoy bringing these symbols of nature, such as mums and pumpkins, into our home as a daily reminder of the changing seasons.
My favorite Fall evenings are the cozy ones spent at home by the fire with a family read aloud (or by the bonfire on family nights and weekends), where it seems like there can never be enough cinnamon, apple, and pumpkin spice everything!
The entire family looks forward to the fun Fall family outings! Every year we get out all of our favorite Fall books and notebooks, along with our lists from previous years and begin the planning process. We all contribute to compiling a new list that includes our favorite traditional activities, along with some new ideas to try.
Traditional Fall Family Favorites:
Out and About:
–The Fair or Fall Festivals: Every October we gather the family and all of our gear and go on a special outing to the fair. This always includes rides, animals, and a funnel cake or a fried Oreo! Also, our library system holds a Fall Festival each year with games, candy, and a costume contest for the kids. And it’s all free!
–Apple picking: This is something we’ve done as a family for years. The orchard we visit is picturesque and we’ve made so many beautiful family memories on these trips. We always pack a picnic and our sense of adventure!
–The Farmer’s Market: We are fortunate to live in an area with an amazing farmers market that we are able to frequent quite often. In Fall, especially, the selection is fantastic: apples, muscadines, persimmons, pears, and pecans! We try to make it to the market as often as possible this time of year!
–Pumpkin Patch: We are all excited when there’s a weekend trip to the pumpkin patch to look forward to! These patches are also a great place to find good deals on corn stalks, different varieties of pumpkins, and other natural materials to use in crafting or decorating. The pumpkin patch we frequent even has a sunflower maze you can get lost in and find your way though. We always take home a bouquet of freshly picked sunflowers! There’s also an awesome hay tower that we climb to the top of for a photo each year and a hay ride. Most pumpkin patches offer some great as-they-grow photo ops too!
–Corn Maze: We really enjoy navigating a corn maze together as a family. It’s a great way to encourage and build teamwork! There’s also a corn pit at the maze we like going to and the boys have so much fun burying themselves and playing in the corn! Plus, there’s a petting zoo and pony rides! We’re all animal lovers so this is a must see attraction for us!
–The Great Outdoors: We all enjoy the outdoors, so we get in as much camping, biking, hiking, and canoeing as possible in the Fall!
–Picnics: We also try to have as many picnics as possible. We aim for at least one a week, even if it’s during a homeschool break in our own back yard! But there are so many beautiful places to set up your picnic gear for an afternoon of gazing upon the glorious red, yellow, and orange Fall foliage!
–Boo at the Zoo: Our local zoo holds a yearly event for children and families called Boo at the Zoo. It’s fun for the whole family and it’s not too scary. We always wait for the discounted tickets and we all get dressed up in non-scary costumes and have a great time.
Cozy At Home:
–Fall is in the Air: We almost always have some type of Fall scented candle burning, especially at meals times and in the evenings: lots of pumpkin, cinnamon, apple… We also like to simmer mulling spices on the stove and have natural potpourri sitting out.
–Unpacking: Each year we make a little party of getting out the Fall decor, clothing, and shoes (with special music and Fall treats). We also usually have out a simple craft to occupy the boys during this time. It’s something that must be done but we try to make it memorable and the boys always look forward to it.
–Fires & Bonfires: These is nothing like being cuddled up in front of a fire with the people you love most on a cozy Fall evening! Telling stories and making s’mores around the bonfire in the backyard is a close second! We also enjoy simply cooking over a fire whenever we get the chance!
–Pumpkin Carving and Painting: We always try to make a special event out of our evenings spent carving or painting pumpkins! This year the boys want to try painting a minion pumpkin and I told them I’m in. We try to do a mix of painted and carved pumpkin because the painted pumpkins last so much longer but the boys sure enjoy getting their hands dirty with the carving!
–Games and Puzzles: We like to pull out a Fall themed puzzle at the beginning of the season and put it on the dining room table to work on as time permits. Games come out every family night, as usually, but they are especially fun around the fire or just while enjoying fall treats with family.
–Leaf Pile: We love raking up a huge pile of leaves for the boys, and sometimes mom and dad, to jump right into.
–Front Door Decor: We always try to decorate the front porch area with pumpkins, mums, a simple homemade wreath or any other homemade seasonal decor. Several years ago we found come old overalls and made a scarecrow to greet our family and neighbors. Our son, Max, still talks fondly about his scarecrow making memories.
–Halloween Movies: We like to watch a ‘not so scary’ Halloween movie with the family. We always find a great selection of fun and family friendly Halloween movies at our local library!
–Halloween Advent Calender: This year we are trying a month long Halloween advent calendar. Last year we made an advent calendar for the week before and the kids enjoyed looking forward to what they would find each day, sometimes a sticker or an acorn and occasionally a sweet homemade treat.
–Home Halloween Party: We spend a lot of time out and about this time of year but after trick-or-treating on Halloween night we all settle in for a fun family party. We decorate earlier in the day and bring out special snacks and punch. We always bob for apples, play a bean bag toss game, and see who can eat their hanging donut the fastest with their hands held behind their back. It’s always a great success and even the boys end up tired out after these shenanigans!
–Apple Prints: We like to make prints with the apples we pick at the orchard. You can cut the apple in different ways. Make sure to find the star inside of the apple and read an accompanying story about it!
–Homemade Play Dough: We like to make cinnamon or pumpkin scented play dough in the Fall. We’ve been making our own play dough for years and these scents in particular are nice to work with. Yes, mom plays with it too!
–Preserve Leaves: We’ve had fun in the past preserving leaves with glycerin for decoration and crafts and we’re going to give it a try again this year.
–Leaf Art: We always enjoy doing simple art projects with items collected from our own back yard or on nature walks. Lately, we’ve been collecting leaves and we paint them, make leaf impressions, and we are even planning to make a leaf wreath.
–Halloween Gingerbread House: We have been buying Halloween gingerbread house kits at the store for several years now but I’d really like to start making our own! It’s going on next year’s list! These are always a blast in our family! Messy but super fun!
–Apple Everything: With our yearly trip to the orchard, there is always an abundance of apples. Therefore, we are usually busy making as many apple recipes as possible. Our yearly favorites include apple pie, baked apples, baked apple chips, apple crunch muffins, crock pot apple butter, caramel apples…
–Apple Cider: My favorite hot drink, besides hot tea, is hot apple cider. We have yet to make our own cider but hope to in the years to come. I plan to linger over my first hot apple cider of the year by letting it warm my hands while inhaling its deliciousness!
–Popcorn Balls: These are always a big hit! They are a little messy and a whole lot of fun! We used the Pioneer Woman’s popcorn ball recipe, with the candy corn in it, last year and plan to use it again this time! Anything with candy corn in it is going to get an approval from the boys!
–Caramel Corn: We enjoy popcorn anytime of year but in the Fall we like to experiment more with making caramel corn. Haven’t met a recipe yet I didn’t like!
–Soup with Homemade Bread: Our favorite Fall dishes are mostly soups, stews, and chili served with homemade bread or cornbread. And the more Autumn veggies included the better!
–Pumpkin Everything: As far as I’m concerned the more pumpkin I can fit into my diet the better! We make pumpkin bread, pumpkin spice cookies, pumpkin scones, pumpkin butter, pumpkin spice waffles and pancakes (for a special treat we add pecans!) Pecans are plentiful at our farmers market this time of year!
–Silly Food: The boys are big fans of silly little fun ideas like drawing jack-o-lantern faces on oranges. I’m always trying to come up with fun food ideas for the boys to get a laugh out of them!
–Apple Cider Marshmallows: I found a recipe on pinterest for apple cider marshmallows. It seems like it would be impossible to go wrong here. Combining apple cider and marshmallows! My mouth is watering just thinking about it!
–Pumpkin Cookies: We’ve made pumpkin cookies but I found a new recipe online for soft pumpkin cookies with cream cheese frosting that I can’t wait to try!
–The Switch Witch: I’ve heard about this tradition for years and think it would be a great fit for our family! We do enjoy baking but we are also very health minded and mostly eat a plant based, whole food diet. From what I understand the main idea behind the switch witch is that you leave out your left over candy on Halloween night and the Switch Witch switches it out for a toy. If I had a child that just loved his Halloween candy, I might feel like a meanie and think twice about doing this but our son always forgets about his candy after Halloween night and doesn’t ask for it again. I’m hoping we can turn this into a new fun family tradition and I can sneak a cool new learning toy in there for homeschooling as well!
This is not an exhaustive list but it’s already gotten pretty long. I’d love to hear some of your ideas! Happy Fall!
What are you most looking forward to this Fall? What are your favorite traditions? Do you have any new plans you want to try with your family this year?