Fall…it's that season where we put away our swimsuits, pull out our sweaters and hot chocolate mugs and start getting cozy.
I have a confession to make: I don't do cold weather well. I get cold easily and my fingers go numb quickly. Then I stay cold and can't warm up. As a result, I spent many years hating Fall because I knew that meant winter was right around the corner.
But I've changed my opinion of Fall over the last 10 years or so. I've come to welcome the break from the intense summer heat, and I enjoy putting on those cozy sweaters and cuddling with my family under a blanket.
Fall is also my favorite time of year for family activities. The weather is stable, the leaves turn colors creating gorgeous backdrops, and I enjoy Fall and Halloween activities.
So with that in mind, I came up with a must-do list for your family in the Fall. These activities are things my family loves to do together, and in doing them, we create wonderful, lasting memories.
22 Must-do Fall Family Activities
Jump into leaf piles
As a kid, there is just nothing better than jumping in giant piles of leaves. As a parent, I love nothing more than to watch my kids having the time of their lives while running around and falling into leaf piles. This activity also provides some of my favorite photos from over the years.
Open the windows and enjoy the crisp air!
This especially applies to anyone who lives in an area where it gets super hot during the summer. The Fall provides a wonderful opportunity to open the windows, air out the house, and enjoy the fresh air. I love it!
Make an apple dessert!
Since apples are ripe and get picked during the Fall, they are fresh and delicious in any dessert. My favorite is apple crisp with some vanilla ice cream on top. That crumble topping is so delicious that it just gets me every time. Other delicious apple dessert ideas: apple pie, apple cobbler, apple cake, and caramel apple cookies.
Go to a pumpkin patch
Our family has so much fun every year going to a pumpkin patch and picking out 2-3 pumpkins. It's almost a contest…who can find the perfect pumpkin? Who can find the wackiest pumpkin? Did anyone find an interesting/different pumpkin?
Plus, this is another spot where I tend to get really great pictures of the kids!
Decorate/carve a pumpkin
So. Much. Fun! I love seeing what designs my kids come up with each year to carve or decorate their pumpkin. We have decorated real pumpkins as well as those plastic pumpkins that advertise being carvable. I've never tried carving them because I like sticking to the real thing.
A simple way to decorate pumpkins for the little ones is to purchase pumpkin poke-ins. Simply push the decorations into the pumpkin and it's done! You can do this for Halloween and Thanksgiving!
Roast Pumpkin Seeds
Once you carve that pumpkin, save the seeds and roast them. It's a simple activity that provides a healthy snack with loads of versatility. You can flavor those seeds in so many ways! Make your home-roasted pumpkin seeds the new family favorite snack this year.
Make Fall Crafts
I personally think Fall crafts are some of the very best. There are so many different kinds of items you and the kids can use, and of course everything is super colorful.
Examples of items to use during the season: apples, candy corn, pine cones, and leaves!
Make wreaths, handprint crafts, popsicle scarecrows, Fall leaf suncatchers, and so much more. A quick search in Pinterest will provide tons of ideas and loads of inspiration.
Make some hot chocolate
Maybe you would prefer a steaming cup of tea or coffee. However, for kids (and me), nothing beats a mug of hot chocolate. It's delicious and comforting and really brings out that cozy feeling on a chilly day.
Attend a Fall Fair/County fair
There can be some variation in terms of when these take place. Sometimes it's late summer and sometimes it's early Fall. Either way, my kids always have a blast when we go to a County Fair.
They get to ride rides (while I try to not freak out about the potential safety hazards there) and eat funnel cakes and go for a spin in a monster truck. For three boys, it just doesn't get any better!
Explore Fall Colors
This is one of my favorites because it's a fun family activity that is free! Basically, you just need to get outside in some way. Go on a hike or nature walk, kick leaves through the yard, check out the trees and fall flowers, go for a bike ride. The possibilities are endless.
Make Pumpkin Recipes!
Just like apple recipes, pumpkin recipes are outstanding during the Fall. Grab the kids and make pumpkin bread together. Other delicious ideas include pumpkin pie bites, pumpkin spiced latte, pumpkin roll, pumpkin rice Krispie treats. Yum…pumpkin!!
Make Halloween crafts
Halloween is one of the most fun parts of Fall. My family loves to get into the holiday with decorations, crafts, activities, costumes and more. Whether it's mummies, witches, skeletons, or something else your kiddo wants to make, check out Pinterest for endless ideas.
Huddle under the blankets and watch a great movie together
Fall can be busy with school starting, activities and sports starting back up, and so on. Our family loves to cuddle up together and watch a fun Fall movie – usually Halloween-themed.
Some of our favorites include It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, Harry Potter, Halloweentown, Monster House, and Casper
Go to a Corn Maze/Fall festival
I have to admit, this is probably my favorite of all the fun Fall family activities mentioned here. Colorado is host to many Fall Festivals, and our family loves the variety of activities we can find there.
I love getting lost in a corn maze and finding our way out. Now that our kids are older, we usually give the map of the maze to one of them and see if they can find the way for us. Not only is that a great learning experience for them, but it provides tons of laughs for us along the way!
Many Fall festivals also have barrel rides, hay rides, pumpkin shooting into a field, petting zoos and so much more. It's the perfect Fall family activity for all ages!
Go for a hayride
We usually do this while we are at a Fall festival, but they can also be found as a stand-alone activity in the Fall. If you don't catch a hayride at a Fall festival, be sure to scout one out in your area. The kids love them!
Make or buy a Halloween costume
There is just something magical about pretending to be something you aren't – just for a little while. For one day, you can be a superhero, a vampire, a mad scientist or a million other things.
The creativity behind Halloween costumes (especially homemade ones) is something I look forward to every year. My kids go crazy over their costumes, debating several different ideas before finally deciding on one.
Get Family Photos Taken
Family photos are spectacular in the Fall with the incredible backdrop of the seasonal colors. Getting professional family photos taken in the Fall is on my bucket list for sure.
Pop Some Popcorn
Popcorn is another one of those foods that I think of in the Fall as I'm getting cozy under a blanket to watch a movie. And just like the pumpkin seeds I mentioned earlier, popcorn is very versatile, so you can make many different flavors to add variety.
Chilly days demand warm and hearty soup! Anything from vegetable soups to stews to bean chili works. Add a salad and/or some dinner rolls to round out the meal.
Go to a haunted house
This idea is directed more toward the older kids and adults of the family. My 11-year-old still has not gone to a haunted house because he probably wouldn't sleep for a week afterward.
I, however, love them. There is so much suspense for me as I walk through this haunted house filled with creepy images and knowing that someone is going to jump out and scare the daylights out of me. I can't figure out why it's so much fun, but I'm thinking it has to do with all that suspense!
Add a fall scent to your home
Apple, cinnamon, pumpkin, vanilla, orange, cloves. I love having my house filled with them in the Fall. It's comforting and invigorating at the same time.
Use candles, diffusers, cooking and baking, or cinnamon pinecones that you find at the grocery store or arts and crafts store.
With the Fall harvest bounty comes canning season. Make some time to can something to save for later. I made my grandmother's pickles this year. 1 bushel of cucumbers made 80 (!!) jars of sweet pickle chips. Here's hoping that batch lasts 2-3 years!
Besides pickles, you can make pumpkin butter, apple butter, pickled beets or carrots, various jams and so much more.
It's important to savor the cooler days of Fall by doing as many fun Fall family activities as you can! Build memories together that will last a lifetime, and these 22 kid-approved ideas will help.
What is your favorite Fall tradition or activity to do as a family?