The minute leaves start falling from the trees and the temperature cools off by a few degrees, I'm ready to get out of the air conditioning and head back outside. The kids are busy with school work and after school activities many evenings, but whenever we can, I work hard to get my family outside in the fall. Where do we go and what do we do? The possibilities are endless.
You don't have to traipse aimlessly through the woods for hours in order to reap the benefits of a family hike. There's a waterfall nearby where my children love to explore, though our "hike" from the car to the water is less than a mile round-trip, depending on where we park. Still, we pack a picnic lunch, dress in our hiking boots, and make sure to pack the camera, too. The kids love the opportunity to see the waterfall from above and below, and they think our short jaunt through the woods is magical. It's well-worth the hour-long drive to get there.
Explore a county, state, or specialty fair
Spending the day walking about a fair in your community-at-large is a wonderful way to get your children active during the early summer. County and state fairs typically begin in August and often run through October, depending on your location. Many regions also host specialty fairs throughout the fall, themed to livestock, the Renaissance, or even sheep and wool. You'll do a full day's worth of walking and get plenty of fresh air. And who can say no to funnel cake?
Kite flying isn't just for spring and summer-in fact, taking the kites to grandma's house after school gets out in September is a favorite activity for my daughters. It doesn't take a whole day, perfect for a day where the weather is nice, the wind is blowing off the bay, and you don't have any afterschool activities on the calendar. Get a running start, don't leave too much slack, and up it goes. Have you taught your children the fine art of kite flying?
Play a game of touch football
I wish we could say that we do it every Sunday, but several times during the fall we invite family members over for a Sunday roast in the early afternoon. The football game is on in the background, we eat a delicious roast chicken and potatoes, and then we take the kids out in the backyard and play a game of touch football. This is where we taught our kids how to carry the ball and the right way to hold to throw a spiral. They love it, and it brings our favorite sport to life for them from a young age.
Rake (and jump into) leaf piles
Turn a chore into something fun for the whole family. Every year my kids help us rake and pile the leaves up high and then have a blast running across the lawn and jumping in at phenomenal (or so they think) speeds. We might end up doing a little more work in the long run, but their enthusiasm to help and the fun they have all afternoon is well worth it.