Guest blogger: Dan Gilbert
10 Affordable Ways to Make Autumn Fun for Children
Autumn is upon us. The leaves are falling, our kids are back in school, days are getting shorter and the nights are getting colder. Fall’s a transition from the warm summer days to spending the night bundled up, but that doesn’t mean autumn evenings have to be boring. Autumn offers many fun activities, many of which can be enjoyed outside in the crisp, fall air. The best part is– they don’t always have to cost a lot of money, “After all, imagination is free,” Dr. Mary Zurn, Vice President of Education for Primrose Schools.
One important focus of autumn is education. “It’s important to keep children’s minds active during the summer, but it doesn’t take an expensive activity or big vacation to capture their attention,” said Dr. Zurn. Remember to plan fall activities that inspire and encourage your children to use their imaginations and creative thinking skills. Fun, smart playtime activities will ensure your kids go to school this year with a head start. It’s also important to keep your kids active. Be sure to incorporate as many activities as you can that take place outside.
Here are 10 ideas to help make autumn fun for the whole family:
1. Nature Notebook: Autumn’s a season of change for the natural world around us, and it’s a great time to help teach your kids about the world and get them interested in nature. Leaves can be found everywhere, and some of them are spectacularly beautiful. Purchase a few notebooks or photo albums for your kids to start dried flower and leaf collections in. After they find some good leaves or flowers, press them into heavy books for a few days then take them out and glue them into the notebooks.
2. Backyard Football: One tradition of the fall season is football. It’s easy to keep your kids active and healthy if they enjoy sports, so try and plan a family football night. Flag football’s a good way to introduce children to the sport. Make sure to make it a fun game. Also be sure to reward your teammates with plenty of beverages and snacks after the game!
3. Pumpkin Patch Fun: This Halloween, bring the family to your local pumpkin patch and have your kids pick out the biggest pumpkin of them all. You can then cut it off the vine yourself. This special tradition is akin to chopping down the family Christmas tree. You may have to travel a bit to find a real pumpkin patch, but pack a picnic and make a day of it. Don’t forget to plan a night for carving your pumpkin!
4. Spooky Stories: All children love ghost stories. Plan a night where your family sits down and enjoys some popcorn, cider and fun ghost stories together. They don’t always have to be scary. If you don’t know any good stories, research some. Cultural and family ghost stories are a great, personal way to start. Make sure to encourage your kids to come up with some, too.
5. Nature Bike Ride: Fall’s a fantastic season for bike riding. It’s cool enough to enjoy the weather and all the trees are changing colors. Pick a good park or trail for riding, then gather the whole family up and have an adventure.
6. Family Pie Night: Making pies is a tasty autumn tradition that’s easy to get your family excited about. If you’re a novice baker, you can even buy pie crusts that are refrigerated. Encourage your kids to help you out in the kitchen, and when the pies are baking, you’ll be sure to gather the entire family’s attention. Two family favorite pies are apple and pumpkin. You can even pick your own apples for the pies.
7. Farmer’s Markets: Most towns these days have farmer’s markets, especially during the summer and fall months. If you’re not sure where one is, do some research. Farmer’s markets specialize in farm-fresh produce, but you can also find family entertainment, crafts and food at them. They’re a great way to encourage your kids to enjoy fresh produce.
8. Halloween Crafts: Another great idea for October fun is to create Halloween crafts with your kids. You can create masks for costumes or decorations for the house. Both can be made with inexpensive fabrics, construction paper, paints, sequins, glue and scissors. Be creative! Make a mask of your favorite superhero or create some spooky bats to hang up outside.
9. Puzzle Night: For those cold, rainy autumn nights, jigsaw puzzles are a good way to bring the family together. Buy one that’s challenging enough for the whole family to enjoy. Don’t forget to glue it together and mount it on the wall when you’re finished with it. With a jigsaw puzzle, you get entertainment plus a pretty picture to hang up.
10. Schoolwork Quizzes: Take up an interest in what your kids are learning about in school, and quiz them on it. This works well for learning time tables, spelling, state capitals and more. Make sure to make the questions fun, and provide some cool, inexpensive prizes as rewards.
This list is just a starting point. After a short time, you and your family will be able to come up with all sorts of fun ideas. Encourage your children to come up with fun ideas of their own and have a great autumn!
Submitted by Dan Gilbert on behalf of Primrose Schools. For over 25 years, Primrose has helped students achieve higher levels of success by providing them with AdvancED® accredited, education and early child care services. Through an accelerated Balanced Learning® curriculum, Primrose Schools students are exposed to a widely diverse range of subject matter giving them a much greater opportunity to develop mentally, physically and socially. Dan has written a number of articles on topics varying from bilingual learning to teaching the importance of volunteering.