As Summer fades and Fall begins, life tends to get busier. School is back in full swing, we begin planning for the holidays, and our minds are already thinking about next year. Before skipping ahead, take some time to smell the Fall breeze and enjoy the season with these free or inexpensive activities the whole family can enjoy.
- Take a Hike and Enjoy the Fall Foliage
Pack up the family and head to one of 22 Alabama state parks. Explore and discover Fall sights along the trail by turning your hike into a scavenger hunt. Jot down a list of things for the kids to find along the path, such as pine cones, red leaves, and animal paw prints. Pack a picnic and a football or Frisbee to make a day of it. If you’re looking for something a little more adventurous, such as a good bike path or an off-highway vehicle trail, check out American Trail’s comprehensive list.
- Visit a Pumpkin Patch or Corn Maze
Hit your local or not-so-local pumpkin patch and let the kids pick out one to carve and decorate at home. Another Fall favorite is to get lost in a corn maze. Many other activities can be found on these pumpkin and corn farms as well, such as tractor and hay rides, Fall festivals, haunted houses, and more.
- Go Apple Picking and Try Out a Fun Fall Recipe
There’s nothing quite like apple picking in the Fall. It’s both fun and educational, and it’s a great way to bring the family together. The fun doesn’t end when the picking is done, either; check out this easy baked apple recipe or one of these 23 recipes (including candy apple pops!) that you can cook up with the kids and that are sure to get your mouth watering.
- Craft a Pumpkin Out of Unexpected Things
From toilet paper to old book pages, you can craft a festive-looking pumpkin out of almost any household item. Check out these 16 family-friendly ideas and make festive pumpkin decorations without spending an extra dime.
- Craft a Thankfulness Tree
Try out this twist on the traditional holiday countdown tree by crafting a thankfulness tree. Use this template or this one to print and cut out your own tree and leaves. Cut out enough leaves to take you from the first day of Fall up to Thanksgiving. Divvy out the leaves and have everyone write down the things they are most thankful. Place everyone’s thankfulness leaves in a jar, and, as a family, pull out one each day to add to the tree. This is a great way to come together as a family and teach the kids about thankfulness and gratitude.
For a tabletop version, craft a Thanksgiving turkey box out of brown paper bags, a Kleenex box, and craft or construction paper.
- Make Leaf Rubbings
Hunt around the neighborhood or yard for different Fall leaves and turn them into rubbings that you can press onto bags, tags, Thanksgiving cards, and more. Check out this easy-to-do activity that the kids can enjoy.
- Collect Canned Goods for Your Local Food Bank
Grab the wagon, bundle up the kids, and go door-to-door in your neighborhood collecting canned goods for your local food bank. Take the kids along when you deliver the cans so they can see how their efforts help others.
- Make a Scarecrow
You don’t need a farm or a field to have a scarecrow. Go on a scavenger hunt around the house with the kids to find old items that can be used to build your very own scarecrow. Here’s one idea on what to look for, but use your imagination and see how creative the family can get!
- Thanksgiving Cards
Why wait for the holidays to send well-wishes to family and friends? Grab some craft paper or buy a pack of crafting note cards and make some homemade Thanksgiving cards with the kids. Check out these turkey hand print cards for inspiration.
- Construction Paper Turkeys
Grab a stack of construction paper, some googly eyes, and a bottle of glue for this quick-and-easy activity for the kids. For extra fun, thread some yarn or string through your turkey creations and hang them across a mantel or window to enjoy the family’s handiwork all through the season.
- Re-purpose Mismatched Mittens Into Puppets
Once it’s time to break out the scarves and mittens, go through your stash and pull out all of the mismatched mittens you’ve been saving in the hopes that their mates will miraculously turn back up. Re-purpose them into cute and fun puppets for hours of fun for the whole family.
- Try a Kid-Friendly Pumpkin Recipe
Fall would not be complete without pumpkin pie, and this 8-ingredient recipe is perfect for the young helper. Not to mention all of the other fun and tasty delights you and the kids can bake with pumpkin that are sure to get them interested in cooking.
- Check Out Local Fall Festivals
From barbecues to Oktoberfest and from fairs to craft shows, there’s a ton of fun to be had at Fall festivals. Check out these festivals unique to Alabama and some other great Fall events around you.
- Jump in a Pile of Leaves
Turn yard work into family fun by raking piles of leaves to jump into. Rake and repeat. Rake and repeat.
- Go Camping… Indoors
If the night air is a little too chill for your family’s taste, bring the fun of camping indoors. Pop a tent or build forts out of couch cushions and sheets. Roast marshmallows over the stove and then sip hot chocolate while you watch the family’s favorite Halloween movie from the front flap of your makeshift tent. Grab a flashlight and tell ghost stories from the dark folds of the tent sheets. You’ll create great memories the kids will remember for years to come without even leaving the comfort of your home.
Some of the most fun to be had and the best memories to make are the ones that don’t cost us anything. Let us know what free activities your family enjoys during the Fall, and we could feature it in this article. Email your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.