Like so many, Fall is my favorite time of year. It is the time of back to school and back to structure, but also so much Fall fun!
This year, I am feeling a little bit sad as I realize that my kids are growing up so fast. I know that people say that all the time, but now that I have two boys, I have really come to realize just how much faster time goes by. My second will be turning one this November and this past year has gone by too quickly. In preparing for his birthday celebration, I was looking at photos of both the boys and I can see they have both grown so much in such a short period of time!
It is amazing to me what a great memory my older son has. He remembers things from last year and even before. I am not sure if it is because of pictures that he has seen or if he really has the memory, but it always surprises me that he has such amazing recall. I like to think it is because some of the things we do have left an imprint to make a memory and I feel like those are just so precious.
I always try to make things memorable if I can. I really want my boys to grow up and say, in the Fall we always do A, B & C — it is our thing. I feel like when you do the same things each year, it makes for amazing memories and it creates tradition. Christmas isn’t the only time for setting up amazing traditions, you can do it with anything and kids love it!
Here are some activities which you can enjoy with your toddler to make some amazing memories, create new traditions and take some great photos 🙂
Activity # 1 Jumping in Fall Leaf Piles
We had a huge, beautiful Maple tree at our old house, and it looked so beautiful when the colors changed. However, it required a LOT of leaf blowing. The only good part about having to clean up all those leaves is seeing how kids react to being asked to jump into a pile of them. We had a large amount of leaves so we were able to make pretty big piles, but it doesn’t have to be that large…even the smallest mound is exciting!
Ask your toddler to help collect the leaves in the yard. Make a heap for yourself and ask them to compare the heaps. Once collected and compared, combine the two heaps and make a larger heap! And don’t forget the jumping part.
Activity # 2 Create a leaf journal
Or if you already have a leaf journal, add an Autumn section.
You can start in your yard and take a walk around the neighborhood. You can also take them to the forest preserves to try to identify different trees.
Collect different leaves and try to identify the different shapes and colors. Paste these leaves in their leaf journal. Make a home-made journal or even a binder. The idea is to paste the leaves on paper and collect it in a book.
This personal presentation of plants and their transformation across the seasons will encourage toddlers to take an active part in the collection and pasting process.
Activity # 3 Apple Picking
Apple picking is something that I am going to try to do every year for as long as I can since it is something all ages can enjoy. A lot of farms add extra fun to the visit with hayrides and petting zoos. I love picking apples, riding the wagon to the trees, eating apples on the way, and figuring out what we are going to make with all the apples when we get home — and I am an adult!! I also always pick up apple cider and apple cider donuts from the orchard store before we leave. I think that is why this is such a great tradition for families, because everyone enjoys it.
Activity # 4 Plan a Camping Weekend
You can make it a weekend trip out to a nearby campground or you can camp out in your backyard, but I think Fall is the best time for camping.
If you do not have a tent but are interested in camping — try a cabin! Also, check out if there are any campgrounds with family friendly activities near you. They usually have things like a craft time, story time, flashlight games, etc. at various times throughout the weekend.
There are so many activities associated with camping that your whole family will love (fishing, s’mores, games, scavenger hunts, cooking outside). It is perfect in the Fall since sometimes Summer is a bit too hot for little kids.
Activity #5 Pumpkin Everything
Pumpkins are everywhere in the Fall!! There are so many things to do with pumpkins and so many things to make with them! I love to get excited for the Fall flavors because it really adds to the special time of year.
My favorite thing to do with my pumpkin is to start by letting him paint it. The paint allows the pumpkin to last a lot longer than when you puncture it. I let him paint whatever he wants and I use washable paint since it gets everywhere. Then, after a week or so, as another pumpkin activity, I use the sticker faces on the pumpkin and put those outside (some stickers are better than others in terms of holding up better outdoors). Finally, when it is getting close to Halloween, we will carve it. Pumpkins generally last only about three to five days after they are carved so I like to leave this until the very end.
While the big pumpkins are fun, the small ones work too! I’ve let him paint those as well and he really enjoys it. He gets so excited to see the pumpkins out at the stores 🙂 We also get excited together to try the different pumpkin flavors of things!
These activities will not only allow you to spend more time with your kids but also enable them to explore the world around them.
Fall is an amazing season that marks the start of year-end. There are so many activities and these are just a few. I hope this starts getting you to think of new ways to create traditions with your family!