Fall Family Weekends

Autumn can be one of the most beautiful times of the year. Try heading outside with your kids and take advantage of crisp air, vibrant colors and all that October has to offer!

Fall is truly one of the best seasons to take the family on a few outdoor adventures. Whether the family is discovering something new or flexing its creative muscles, spending quality time together can encourage curiosity in children and strengthen family bonds. Try these suggestions:

Animal Watch
Your backyard can be its very own nature show, and this activity is a great way to test your scientific skills. Go for a nature walk around your neighborhood and observe the animals. This is the time they start preparing for the cold winter months. Using a notebook and pencil, record all of the animals you see and describe what they are doing (for example, birds: flying south in V formation). When you are home, go on the Internet with your kids to do further research. Then, talk with your kids about animal behavior in winter, and compare that to human behavior. For example, some animals grow thicker fur to keep warm during winter. Humans wear warm layers of clothes to keep warm. Discover the similarities between animals and humans together.

Plant the Learning Seed
Visit your local farm for apple or pumpkin picking. Many farms that offer apple or pumpkin picking also provide hayrides, a lesson in farming and even treats like freshly made apple pie and cider. Call your local farm and inquire about day trips. It can give your child the chance to learn something new while breathing fresh air and bonding with family.

Scare Up Family Fun
Scarecrows-you see them everywhere, but have you ever made one? They’re easier than you think! Just gather old jeans, a tattered long-sleeved shirt, socks, gardening gloves, a straw hat, a pillowcase for the head, string or rope and your choice of stuffing. Take the family outside and get started!

  • First, tie the ends of the pants and stuff them with stuffing.
  • Next, tie the ends of the sleeves and stuff the shirt with stuffing.
  • Then, stuff the socks and tie them to the ends of the pants, and stuff the gloves and tie them to the sleeves of the shirt. Tuck the shirt into the pants.
  • Then, use a marker to draw a face on the pillowcase. Stuff the pillowcase and fasten it to the body with safety pins.
  • Top off your scarecrow with the straw hat.

You can sit your scarecrow against a tree in the yard, or on your porch against the house.

The Family Tree
Make a family tree using real leaves from trees in your yard. Take a walk in your yard and look for leaves that remind you of family members (for example, a red leaf might remind you of grandma because she always wears her favorite red sweater for the holidays). Gather enough leaves to represent your whole family. Leaves need to be dry and flat before making your tree. Place the leaves between two sheets of newspaper, and place heavy books on top of your leaves. The next day, you can begin making your family tree. Place leaves between two sheets of waxed paper. With an adult’s help, carefully press the waxed paper with a medium-hot iron. Let the leaves cool before handling them. Using scissors, cut the leaves out. Draw a tree trunk and branches on a piece of cardboard. Glue the leaves to the branches, and write each family member’s name near his or her leaf.