Fall is our favorite time of year. The colors are spectacular, the weather is joyfully pleasant, and the opportunities to get out and do things with the girls never end. Here are a few ideas at no cost/low cost that you can do to celebrate and enjoy the season.
Miss Moo and Miss Roo LOVE to gather treasures outside. We always take a bag of some sort with us on our adventures so that we can carry our treasures home. Moo actually made a treasure bag with an old tote that lives in our van.
Finding treasures in the fall is simple and fun. It’s also a great way to get a solid hour of walking and exercise in without you or your kids noticing! Our collection usually contains:
- Leaves of all shapes and sizes for pressing and decorating.
- Sticks to use in crafts and activities. (Sometimes we use sticks to make letters rather than write them.)
- Acorns and tops.
- Pine cones.
- Rocks and pebbles.
- Remaining wildflowers.
Now that you have a wonderful collection of natural treasures, what can you do with them? We usually do a few simple things that the kids love.
Make a Seasonal Nature Table
Our simple nature table.
We dabble in a little Waldolf style education in our house, particularly when it comes to seasons and nature. This fall I was actually able to set up a small nature table in our family room. On our table we placed our preserved leaves, some pine cones and acorns that we collected, and some seasonal fruit from our local farmers- pumpkins and apples. I also found a great flyer about Virginia apples that I stuck in a frame and set on the table so we can discuss the way apples are the same but different.
Fruit and a small bowl of treasures.
The girls are able to add treasures as we find them. Miss Moo also helped me use a little food dye from our art supplies to dye some old coarse kosher salt as a filler in our candle holder. We try to light our candle nightly to remind us of the way the moon gives us light at night, especially the gorgeous Harvest Moon we just had.
Leaves, pine cones, and our small candle.
Leaves and other Leftovers
I’ve been trying to preserve leaves for years with no luck. This year I decided to heed the TONS of advice on the internet and used Mod Podge that I have on hand. A light coat on each side seals in the gorgeous color and makes them slightly more durable against little hands as they investigate. I am also saving all our extra pine cones in a box to use in decorating for Christmas.
Note from Kate: I have also heard you can melt beeswax and dip the leaves into that! We have not tried it yet, but plan to do so soon.
I’ve always been a book junkie and that grew even worse when I had little ones. My girls have the luxury of having my collection of fall books on hand from my Preschool teaching days. We also visit the library once a week and gather books that we use during the day and bedtime. I keep our books on the shelf of our seasonal table so they are accessible and the library books live in a specific basket.
Books are a great resource because they provide variety in your child’s life, promote a love of learning and reading, give you quality time together, and (when from the library) are free! Here are a few of our favorites:
Sometimes gorgeous fall weather brings with it the occasion gloomy day. These days are wonderful for creating child-friendly crafts at home. I recently saw a felt leaf garland on Pinterest and decided to make something similar. I had tons of yarn on hand a bit of felt, but I splurged the $2.00 at the craft store for an additional 8 pieces.
Leaves and yarn.
Cut some leaf-like shapes out of your felt pieces – depending on the age of your little ones, they can do this part. Once you have all the leave you want, sew a few stitches (2-3) through each leaf, connecting them to make a garland. I used one of my plastic weaving needles for Crotchet and it didn’t hold up too well. I’d recommend a large, blunt tip metal needle for this project. Tie a knot at the ends of the yarn so they leaves won’t slip off but can move freely along the yarn. Then, choose where you’d like to display your garland.
We have garlands on our windows, our mantel, and we are discussing hanging one above our seasonal table. The garland is a whimsical decoration but also provides a teaching tool for colors, counting, pattern, and the seasonal changing process.
Choose a day out of your week and have a lunch picnic outside. We simply pulled the kids picnic table out front and put their lunch on paper plates to save my dishes from a serious demise. Eating outside gave them fresh air, the smells of the season, and the ability for us to talk about the leaves, the birds, and the season. We were also able to read some books while the ate and then burn off some energy by running around the yard (which led to a very peaceful nap time).
Start a Family Tradition
Although I can’t stand to eat them and they are full of junk, we have started the tradition of roasting marshmallows in our backyard.
Moo working on a roast.
Drew really enjoys it, it’s a great activity as a family, and the girls don’t like eating the marshmallows nearly as much as they do roasting them. We have been working to teach them fire safety, how to behave around fire, how to safely roast a marshmallow, and how fire is made and destroyed. We try to find a science lesson any place we can, especially this time of year.
Depending on your child’s age, you may want to help then with this process, but as with any activity, repetition breeds knowledge and appreciation for rules.
Daddy teaching Roo.
Activities Around Your Area
If you need a break away from your house, find a pumpkin patch or apple orchard and go spend the day. Most are reasonably priced, have snack pavilions and tables for you to grab lunch (or bring your own), and activities to keep your children engaged. You can pick a pumpkin, see some farm animals, and just enjoy the day as a family.
But most importantly, just get outside! Fall is fabulous and your family will create memories no matter what you choose to do!
Curl up after your fall adventures with some delicious, healthy comfort food from Wholesome Comfort!
What do you enjoy the most about Fall? What does your family do to celebrate the season?
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