©iStockphoto.com/Lisa Gagne Credits: ©iStockphoto.com/Lisa Gagne
Autumn's in the air - and while that means summer's over, it doesn't mean that you and your family can't enjoy some fun outdoor activities. Before packing it in for the season and hibernating indoors, make the most of fall with these great family-friendly ideas.
1. Visit a farmer's market and select fresh produce
Fall's bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables is one of the best offerings of the season. Visit a farmer's market and stock up on your favourite seasonal produce. Fresh apples, pumpkins, squash and many other delicacies are a healthy and tasty way to add variety to your autumn menu. Also, keep an eye out for local fall fairs and harvest festivals.
2. Decorate the outside of your house for Halloween
This is fun for the whole family. When October rolls around, get the kids involved in decorating the outside of your house for Halloween. While a trip to the store to buy decorations might be fun, why not plan a craft afternoon, where everyone makes their own spooky creations? Try baking Creepy Witch Fingers.
3. Plan an end-of-season barbecue
You'll have to time this one just right, but before the temperature takes a real dive, gather friends and family for a final outdoor barbecue. Throw some seasonal veggies on the grill (grilled pumpkin and squash are delish!) and enjoy the crisp fall air before it gets too cold to sit outside. Have light blankets and sweaters handy for guests, just in case it gets a little chilly.
4. Have a family movie night
Plan an indoor campout for the whole family - in the living room! Rent a few fave videos that everyone can enjoy, stock up on snacks and enjoy a fun-filled family night indoors.
5. Hit the road
The leaves are changing colour and it's a beautiful time of year to enjoy with the family. Take a long drive somewhere, where you can see the brilliant shades of autumn on the trees. Plan some fun games that you can play in the car, sing songs -- and don't forget to roll the windows down, so you can all breathe in that fresh fall air.
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6. Plan a craft day
Remember all the things you made with your own two hands when you were in school? Think brilliantly coloured pipe cleaners, uncooked pasta, yarn, paper and crayons and yes, lots of glue. Stock up on inexpensive materials and set up a craft corner in the kitchen, then spend the day making wild and wacky creations with the kids. Check out our Kids' Crafts section for inspiration.
7. Give thanks
With Thanksgiving arriving in October, remind your children why we celebrate this holiday. Encourage them to think about all of the things they're grateful for and write them down in a Book of Thanks. Everyone in the family can contribute, and on Thanksgiving Day, pass it around and let everyone read aloud what they're most thankful for. Start a tradition by using the same book, year after year, to record the things you appreciate most in your life.
8. Have a sing-along.
Serve up hot cups of cocoa filled with marshmallows and gather everyone in a circle in the living room for a sing-along. Put on some treasured CDs or go around the circle and let everyone have a turn choosing their favourite song. Don't take it too seriously -- it should be a silly and spontaneous activity that everyone enjoys.
9. Early-bird Christmas shopping
If you get a jump on your shopping now, it'll ease the stress of cramming it all into December. Plan an outing with the kids where you can shop at a leisurely pace, without the overwhelming hustle and bustle of holiday shoppers.
10. Lawn cleanup
If your front and back yards are covered in fall leaves, get the whole family outside to help rake and gather. But before you get into the serious task of cleaning up, play tag in the leaves, or rake them up into piles and let the kids take turns falling into them and throwing them around.
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