50 Non-Boring Outdoor Activities for Families This Fall

Kids Playing in a leaf pile

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The leaves are beginning to change color and pumpkins are popping up in your neighborhood grocery aisles...it must be fall. The arrival of the autumn season might bring chillier weather, but that doesn't mean your family can't still have fun outdoors. With the right clothes and a spirit of adventure, there are many ways to enjoy this fun-filled season outside.

Playing outdoors has many benefits for kids. It improves their health and makes them more likely to be physically active. Additionally, research has shown that kids who spend time outdoors are more engaged with their learning. Outdoor activities also help lessen the spread of COVID-19 and can instill a lifelong appreciation for nature within children.

Ahead, take a look through our list of outdoor activities to enjoy with your family this fall.

Arts and Crafts

Working on art projects can help develop your kids' motor skills and problem-solving strategies. It's also just a good way to keep them busy and engaged. Tap into your creative side and have fun making art outdoors.

Build a scarecrow. No orchard required! Simply gather some hay and stuff some old clothes—and now you have the perfect spooky decoration for your yard.

Pick up some seasonal flowers and arrange them. "The process of choosing, cutting, and arranging flowers helps children learn how to make decisions and solve problems on their own," says Donna, an elementary Montessori-trained teacher with over 10 years of in-class experience and the co-creator of That's So Montessori. "In addition, the act of arranging flowers helps children to develop coordination and fine motor skills. Pouring water into a vase, cutting the stems, placing flowers into a vase, and carrying the vase to a table are all skills that aid in the child's development."

Make a pinecone bird feeder. Spread peanut butter over a pinecone and dip it into some bird seed. Then use a piece of string to hang the pinecone up where the birds can reach it.

Craft corn husk dolls. Don't throw out those corn husks! Tie them together to make a doll wearing a skirt. You can use corn silk for hair.

Start a nature journal. As you walk through nature, stop and draw what you see, labeling it when you can. "This type of journaling helps children learn to pay attention to detail and look for patterns in nature," says Donna.

Keep a star journal. Each night at the same time, head outside and draw the stars, moon, and anything else you see. Notice how the sky changes each night.

Take nature photos. Collect photos of whatever beautiful things you find while walking outside.

Write gratitude poems. Fall is the season of thankfulness. Sit in a circle and share a few things you are grateful for. Then write them out, making poems.

Explore Nature

Having fun exploring the outdoors helps your whole family stay physically active. There is so much to learn and discover in the outside world. And remember, there is no bad weather, only bad clothes. So bundle up and enjoy!

Collect acorns. After collecting acorns, you can use them for games, math projects, or art.

Complete a family scavenger hunt. Make a list of things to find outside and try to check them all off. "Scavenger hunts help kids learn about their surroundings," says Donna. "As they search for objects on their list, they sharpen their observation skills and learn about different types of plants, animals, and other things they might find in nature."

Go creek stomping. Don water shoes and walk through a creek to see what you find.

Head out fishing. Try to catch some fish to cook for dinner—or to set free in the water again.

Try puddle jumping. If it's rainy out, you don't have to stay inside. Channel your inner Peppa Pig, put on some boots, and splash in muddy puddles. (British accent optional.)

Plant bulbs. Many bulbs can be planted in the fall. Ask which bulbs can be planted in your location at your local garden store and bury a few of them together. You'll see them come to life in the spring.

Admire the full moon. Take a night walk together to bask in the beauty of a full moon.

Take a family bike ride. Ride together and then stop for some lunch—or have a picnic.

Go on a family hike. Hike somewhere beautiful together. Maybe you'll discover new parts of your area that you never saw before.

Paddle out on a rowboat. If you live near a lake or creek, consider renting a boat and taking turns rowing.

Family Games

Games promote cooperation and help you bond as a family. Taking those games outside makes it a little more fun, especially after a long day at school or in the office.

Fly a kite. On a windy day, work together to get your kite to soar.

Go bobbing for apples. If it's warm outside, cool off by dipping your head into a bucket of water to fetch an apple.

Have a three-legged race. Practice your family cooperation skills in this challenging feat.

Jump in leaf piles. Everyone helps rake up the leaves...and then everyone gets to jump in the piles.

Play capture the flag. Pretend you're back at summer camp! Set up along two sides of a park or yard and work in teams to try to get the other side's flag.

Family Outings

Having a yearly tradition such as going camping or taking a hay ride to mark the start of fall will stay in your kids' memories for a lifetime. But you don't have to do the same thing every year if that's not your style. Here are some fun outing ideas for the whole family.

Attend a football game. Check out the local high school schedule and make a night of it. Get festive by dressing in your school's colors.

Visit your local campgrounds. Take a trip and build memories. Don't forget the flashlights!

Camp in the backyard. If you can't take a camping trip, set up a tent right in your yard.

Deliver care packages to charity organizations. Fall is a time to remember to help others. Work with a charity or within your community to help those in need. If you donate to an organization, be sure to check their website or call ahead of time to find out what items would be most helpful.

Go on a hayride. Hop in the back of the wagon and enjoy!

Attend a fall festival or harvest party. Check your community's calendar or comb local Facebook pages for fun fall events like this.

Tell stories around a campfire. Set up a campfire and tell stories. They don't need to be scary stories, especially if you have younger kids.

Explore a corn maze. Laugh as you get lost together.

Shop at a farmer's market. Support your local farmers and pick up some seasonal ingredients like mangoes or butternut squash.

Head to an apple orchard and go apple picking. This is one of those classic fall activities that your kids will always remember.

Watch a Dia de los Muertos parade. The day after Halloween is a Mexican holiday honoring the dead. See if your city has a parade to attend.

Halloween Fun

If your family celebrates Halloween, there are countless ways to get into the spirit. Enjoy trick-or-treating or choosing a pumpkin from your local pumpkin patch to carry home. Parents don't have to dress up in costume—but let's just say the kids will love it if you do.

Attend an outdoor Halloween party. Costumes required! Bring some pumpkin-flavored cold brew for the other parents.

Carve pumpkins. Make jack-o'-lanterns. Once you carve a pumpkin, it starts to rot soon, so save this one until it's almost Halloween. And don't forget to roast the seeds!

Go trick-or-treating. Dress up and go get that candy.

Play wrap the mummy. All you need is a roll of toilet paper and a competitive spirit to see who can wrap the best mummy.

Visit a haunted house. Get spooked and laugh together.

Spend an afternoon at a pumpkin patch. Pick out that perfect pumpkin.

Leaf Activities

Leaves are the quintessential symbol of fall. Of course, leaves don't just fall, they also change colors in amazing ways. Get curious about leaves and gather some for projects or just to enjoy. Here are some ideas.

Collect leaves. See how many various types of leaves you can find. Ask kids what they notice about the different shades and shapes.

Complete a leaf sort. After you collect leaves, they can be sorted by size, color, shape, or type. "Sorting leaves requires children to use their hands in a precise way, which can be helpful in improving dexterity," notes Donna. "Kids can start to see the similarities and differences between different types of plants."

Create art from leaves. Make anything you want by gluing leaves onto paper or sticking them together.

Make leaf rubbings. Put tracing paper atop a leaf and shade over it with a crayon or colored pencil. You will get an outline of the leaf and its vascular system.

Time to Eat

Fall is the season of the harvest, so make sure you enjoy some food together as a family. Here are some (yummy) ideas.

Attend a barbecue. Barbecues aren't just for summer—you just might need a hat and jacket this time of year.

Have a bonfire and make s'mores. Stay warm by the fire and let the kids make their own tasty treats.

Oranize a family picnic. Get dressed warmly and head out with a basket of food.

Host a neighborhood potluck. Get into the harvest spirit by hosting a party where everyone brings a dish.

Make and eat candy apples. Get some apples, large popsicle sticks, and heat up a pot of caramel for dipping. Prepare the apples indoors, but eat them outside because they can get messy.

Sip cider and eat pumpkin bread in the yard. Feel the fresh, cool air on your faces as you sip on cider and enjoy this yummy cake.

A Word From Verywell

Just because the weather is getting a bit colder doesn't mean that the outside fun has to stop with the end of summer. From outdoor costume parties to crafts with leaves to scavenger hunts, there are countless ways to enjoy autumn with the whole family. So grab your scarves and hats, pack a picnic, and get outside. The fall season awaits!

1 Source
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  1. American Academy of Pediatrics. Playing Outside: Why It's Important for Kids.

By Elisa Cinelli
Elisa is a well-known parenting writer who is passionate about providing research-based content to help parents make the best decisions for their families. She has written for well-known sites including POPSUGAR and Scary Mommy, among others.