9 Autumn Activities for the Whole Family

Welcome to fall! The time of year when you tend to move your activities inside as you prepare for shorter days and chillier weather. But don’t be so quick to shut off the idea of outdoor fun. Grab your favorite sweater, because there are plenty of outdoor autumn activities that you can enjoy as a family. So as football season approaches, get off the couch, head outside and tackle these fun (and mostly free) family fall activities!

1. Nature Hunt Match Game

Everyone loves a matching game, so why not take the same idea out into nature?

Go outside and grab a leaf off of each kind of tree you have in your yard, then send the kids out to find its match.

Next up, it’s time to match some bark. Run outside and do some bark rubbings on each kind of tree by taking the paper off of a crayon, holding a piece of paper on the side of a tree and rubbing the side of the crayon against the paper. Then, send the kids out to pin the drawing to the matching tree. Not only will your kids have a blast matching the bark to the trees, but you’ll have original pieces of artwork!

While on the hunt, look for acorns, pine cones, sticks, pine needles and other nature “craft supplies” to save for a future scarecrow art project.

2. Make Bird Feeders

Our bird friends need to fuel up before making their flights down south. Help them out by filling up their bellies.

You’ll start by doing a little backyard clean up. All those pine cones have to go somewhere, right? Pine cones will make the perfect treat for the birds. Once you’ve gathered them all in a pile, let the kids choose their favorite pine cones and cover them with peanut butter. Then roll the peanut butter covered cones in bird seed. Tie a string at the top and hang from a tree. Your kids will love watching the birds nibble on their new feeder over the next few days. 

You can also make fall-shaped cookie cutter (pumpkin, leaf, football, turkey, etc.) bird feeders. Here’s how: 

  • Mix together an envelope of gelatin with ¼ cup of water and bring to a simmer while stirring.
  • Continue stirring until the gelatin is dissolved.
  • Remove from heat and let cool.
  • Stir in ¾ cup of birdseed, adding a little more if there is still some liquid in the bottom of the pan.
  • Lay your cookie cutters out on wax paper and fill each one with the birdseed mixture.
  • Using a plastic straw, poke a hole in the top of the bird feeder, and pull some string through.
  • Tie the string.
  • Allow them to dry overnight, turning them over every now and then.
  • Remove the feeders from the cookie cutters and hang in trees.
  • Then wait by the window and watch for your first guest!

3. Leaf Piles

Adults may not love the chore, but give a child a rake and it’s all fun and games! Pour yourselves some apple cider and sit back and watch the kids pile up as many leaves as possible. Relax and enjoy watching them jump, dive, ride bikes and scooters through it. When the pile is gone, just rake them up again for endless fall fun.

4. Apple Tasting

Head to the farmers market, or if you’re fortunate enough to have an apple orchard nearby, head there instead!

Purchase one of each kind of apple in as many colors as possible: yellows, reds, greens. Clean them, slice them and have an apple tasting party! Have everyone write down their favorite kinds. Add extra yumminess with some caramel dip on the side.

For an added community service project, buy extra apples and bring them to a nursing home or fire station for others to enjoy.

5. November Thankful Tree

A “Thankful Tree” is a wonderful way to celebrate the season of Thanksgiving.

You can easily make one by gathering some sticks or small branches from your yard and placing them in a vase, then cut out leaves from fall colored construction paper. 

Each evening in November leading up to Thanksgiving, have everyone write down something they are thankful for and add their leaf to the tree. Come Thanksgiving Day, your tree will be full! Before you slice the turkey you can remove each leaf and remind yourselves about all the things for which your family is thankful.

6. Scarecrow Art

Create scarecrow art using supplies you find in your yard.

Collect sticks for arms and legs. Use pine straw for the body; acorns for eyes, candy corn for a nose, and a leaf as a hat. Glue the scarecrow parts on a sheet of card stock then decorate the rest with markers or crayons. Let imaginations go wild as your kids construct the silliest of scarecrows. Assign the scarecrows to each family member and display the works of art on Thanksgiving Day by attaching them to each chair as a “place card”.

7. Candy Corn S’mores

Fall is the perfect time to put a spin on the traditional s’more!

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8. Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

You’re probably already planning a trip to your local pumpkin patch – if you’re not, then be sure to add it to your list because nothing says autumn like visiting a pumpkin patch. You can turn the adventure into a science experiment by having everyone in the family spot the biggest, bumpiest, smallest, heaviest, spookiest pumpkin they can find. Don’t forget your camera because you’ll not want to miss this photo op.

Of course, when you get home, you’ll want to carve your pumpkins, but don’t forget to save the seeds because you’ll want to roast them for a delicious treat. Here’s how:

  1. Cut open the pumpkin by cutting a circle around the stem end with a sharp knife (knife blade angled in), and pulling off the top. Use a strong metal spoon to scrape the insides of the pumpkin and scoop out the seeds and strings. Place the mass of pumpkin seeds in a colander and run under water to rinse and separate the seeds from everything else.
  2. Measure the pumpkin seeds in a cup measure. Place the seeds in a medium saucepan. Add 2 cups of water and 1 tablespoon of salt to the pan for every half cup of pumpkin seeds. Add more salt if you would like your seeds to be saltier. Bring the salted water and pumpkin seeds to a boil. Let simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and drain.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Coat the bottom of a roasting pan or thick baking sheet with olive oil, about a teaspoon or so. Spread the seeds out over the roasting pan in a single layer, and toss them a bit to coat them with the oil on the pan. Bake on the top rack until the seeds begin to brown, 5-20 minutes, depending on the size of the seeds. Keep an eye on the pumpkin seeds so they don’t get over toasted. When lightly browned, remove the pan from the oven and let cool on a rack. Let the pumpkin seeds cool all the way down before eating.

9. Picnic with Friends

Enjoying a picnic with friends or family is the perfect way to spend an autumn afternoon. Something about eating outdoors in the fresh air seems to make everything taste better. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A good blanket. Either pack an old quilt or pick up a waterproof blanket (perfect for those days when the ground is a little damp). Look for one that can be neatly folded into its own tote. In fact, just keep it in your trunk in case your family decides to have an impromptu picnic. 
  • Yummy, deliciously simple food. Picnic food should be simple, but delicious. Sandwiches, a pasta salad, fresh fruit and veggies with dip, some cheese and crackers, cookies and bottles of water are all you really need. Whether it’s homemade or store bought, make sure it’s yummy.
  • A variety of toys and games for the kids. Picnics are perfectly paired with activities like kite flying, a game of softball or frisbee golf. If you have younger children, bring along some of their favorite games or stuffed animals to join your party.
  • A picnic basket to carry food, drinks and utensils. It should be large enough and sturdy enough to hold everything you need for a family meal outdoors. 
Product Recommendation

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Fully lined and hand woven with traditional wood slat material, it has a timeless, vintage appeal; featuring swivel wood handles and faux leather straps and closure. For added convenience, it includes a complete picnic set for four including coordinating melamine plates, cotton napkins (available in 7 patterns), glass wine glasses, stainless steel flatware, a corkscrew and a food cooler.

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Once you’ve thoroughly exhausted yourselves with a day full of fall fun, head back inside and snuggle up with your babies under a warm blanket. Now, it’s time to sit back, relax and watch that football game! 

For more fun family activities to do this fall, check out Fun Fall Activities for the Family.

Photo Credits: Ashley Sisk, Josh SmithU.S. Department of AgricultureGareth WilliamsJ.K. CaliffPersonal Creations, Brian Jackson

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Melissa Wistehuff

Melissa lives in North Carolina with her husband, three children and two cats. When she is not acting as a taxi driver or roaming the aisles of Target, she enjoys hot tea, spending time with girlfriends and family movie nights. She is constantly on the search for all things good, as showcased on her website. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter .

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  • Daily Mom Picnic Basket Review | USPicnic

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