There are good reasons why fall is one of America’s favorite seasons. Cooler weather is perfect for spending time outside. Halloween and Thanksgiving are around the corner. And shorter days mean longer nights snuggled up with the people you love most!
Give your kids something to look forward to as the summer draws to a close by starting some family fall traditions. Here are some ideas to get you started!
1. Light the First Fire
Nothing takes the chill out of the first brisk nights of the season like a cozy fire! Start an annual tradition around the first fire of the fall.
If you have a fireplace in your home, light up a cheerful blaze and make some hot cocoa. Let your child pick out one of their favorite fall movies, and snuggle up under a warm blanket. A few family-friendly options:
- It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
- Hocus Pocus
- Fantastic Mr. Fox
- A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving
- The Nightmare Before Christmas
If you have a backyard, you could also do an outdoor bonfire! Make s’mores and tell spooky stories to get into the spirit of Halloween!
2. Get Outdoors
Pick a few activities to get the whole family outside in that fresh fall air.
Many towns have fall festivals, complete with activities like corn mazes, face painting, hayrides, and live music. Sip apple cider and let the kids wear themselves out! Or go apple picking for fresh, local fruit to snack on or bake in a pie.
Instead of choosing a Halloween pumpkin at the grocery store, take the family to a pumpkin patch and let them pick out their favorite.
If there aren’t any organized activities like this in your area, take the family for a fall hike or bike ride to see the changing leaves. Or take an afternoon drive through the country around your town. Bring a picnic!
You could also get the kids involved around the house. Make a pile of leaves for them to jump into, or get them to help plant bulbs in the garden for next spring.
Spending time outdoors in the fall will help children to appreciate the changing of the seasons — and not miss summer so much!
3. Bake Fall Goodies
Does anything smell better than baking? As the weather gets chillier and you look for more indoor activities, get the family involved in cooking for yourselves and your friends.
Teach your kids how to make homemade bread, pies, and cookies with fall flavors like pumpkin, sweet potato, chai spice, and maple. Little kids can help to measure out ingredients and put them in the bowl. Older kids can chop nuts and fruit, and mix it all together.
If homemade pie crust is a bit intimidating, make a crumble or crisp instead. Or if you’re a crust master, share your secrets with the next generation!
Even if your kiddo doesn’t grow up to be a baker, the smells of fall baking will always remind them of their childhood home. And they’ll learn important lessons about when to follow directions — and when to improvise.
4. Decorate for Halloween
Get your child involved in decorating the house for Halloween! This is a fall tradition that can last from childhood all the way through the teens — with some adjustments as they grow up.
When kids are little, give them some simple tasks to help with. They can set out luminary bags, stick witch or bat decals on windows, drape fake cobwebs on bushes, and of course, help paint or carve the pumpkin.
As they age out of trick-or-treating, the whole family can step up their Halloween game! Get your child and the neighborhood teens involved in creating a scary scene or haunted house in your yard or garage.
It will be a fun, creative activity for you all to do together, and will keep those teens out of trouble! Just make sure they don’t go overboard with the gory props!
5. Give Back
It’s important to foster a sense of giving when kids are young. The Thanksgiving season is a perfect time to focus on others.
You can get involved in a local event, like serving Thanksgiving meals with a local church, shelter, or charitable organization. Or participate in a Turkey Trot to raise funds for a good cause.
You can also create your own giving tradition. You could bring the family to a local nursing home to play games or read to the residents. Or create care packages to send to soldiers stationed overseas. You could also give away some of those delicious baked goods that you made together!
The annual season of giving is a great opportunity to teach your children about ways they can give back to their community.
Every season is a great opportunity to create your own family traditions. By establishing your own annual routines with your kids, you’ll help build family bonds and create memories that will last well into adulthood.