Autumn means multi-colored leaves drifting down to carpet lawns and a fresh, colder bite to replace warm summer air – but not for everyone. Not all families have trees or backyards, and autumn happens in warmer climates, too. Wherever you are, your family can celebrate the last of the fall season using a little creativity.
Camp Out at Home
Brace for winter with one last campout in your backyard or in your living room or family room if winter comes earlier than December where you live. If you’re roughing it outdoors, warm up the night with a bonfire – just check with your municipality for any necessary permits first. Hang a bubbling pot of chili over the fire. Even young children can learn to toast marshmallows under your supervision. If you’re stuck indoors, build a tent with blankets and quilts draped over chairs, and roll out the sleeping bags. Turn off the screens – TV, phones and computers – and fire up the flashlights. Carve pumpkins and tell ghost stories to bid the Halloween season farewell for another year.
Plan a Scavenger Hunt
If you live in a city with few trees and no readily available red, orange and gold leaves, you can make them with some colored construction paper and a pair of scissors. Visit a craft store and buy other small, seasonal items, like turkeys, pumpkins, acorns and maybe a few pilgrims. Hide them and the leaves in the park, your yard or even your home for a scavenger hunt that will delight younger children. Challenge older kids by assigning them lists of things to find instead of items you’ve already hidden. If you know your neighbors, the hunters can ring doorbells to track down something orange or red, for instance.
Think Apples and Hayrides
Scout around your area for an apple orchard that welcomes visitors and allows your kids to pick a few of their own. Continue sharing the fun at home, making apple cider, applesauce or apple pies from scratch and letting them help so they can enjoy the fruits of their labors.
If you’re heading out of town for an apple harvest, look for farms that are open to visitors as well. Some allow kids to get up close and personal with resident cows, horses or chickens, or ride on a tractor or hay wagon. Others offer cornfield mazes – an active and fun challenge for older children.
Spread the Love
With the New Year just around the corner, give November over to separating the old from the new. Enlist your kids’ help to gather unused canned goods in your pantry – those with long shelf lives – and donate them to a food pantry or charity kitchen in time for Thanksgiving. Clean out toy boxes and closets ahead of Christmas, gathering up anything that’s mostly unused these days but still in good condition. Charities will be glad to have them, and you’ll make room for a new season’s rush of gifts. You might even let the kids pick their charity of choice to receive their stuff.
About the Author
Beverly Bird has been writing professionally since 1983. She is the author of several novels, including women’s fiction and children’s books, and has an extensive background in family law.