Beating Those Autumn Time Blues for Free as a Family
Article submitted by Kathleen Thomas on behalf of Primrose Schools
About the author of this guest post:Kathleen is a Marketing Support Coordinator for the Atlanta day care facility, a member of the AdvancED® accredited family of Primrose Schools (located in 16 states throughout the U.S.) and part of the network of day care preschools delivering progressive, early childhood, Balanced Learning® curriculum.
Beating Those Autumn Time Blues for Free as a Family
Are you tired of hearing "I'm bored." Well, the crisp air and the colorful leaves make autumn the perfect season to spend family time outdoors. Grab some jackets and soak up the stunning scenery. Don't let your children wile away the beauty of fall, playing video games or surfing the Web.
Research indicates that children who participate in nature improve their problem-solving abilities, confidence, cooperative skills, and even test scores. By allowing your children to explore and rely on their imagination when undertaking activities, they will enhance their creativity. Boredom will be a thing of the past.
By planning family fun activities for when schools and day care centers are closed and giving children a taste of the great outdoors in the beautiful fall weather, you can fight the ennui. Family fun activities don't have to break the bank. A little imagination goes a long way. Searching for ideas? Here are 10 wallet-friendly ways to beat boredom outdoors this autumn:
- Apple Picking – Take part in the fall harvest with a trip to the local apple orchard. Meander around picking apples with your family. Take the apples home and let the kids participate in making apple pies and homemade apple sauce with the bounty.
- Take a Hike – Soak up the beauty of nature by hitting the trails. Find a local hiking area that offers clear, safe, established trails, exciting scenery, and a little exercise. Allow the children time to explore the area and just enjoy each other's company. Pack a picnic lunch and stop half-way through for a healthy meal. For adventurous types with slightly older children, enlist the help of a seasoned hiker and take a full moon hike. Bask in the magical, quiet, hour.
- Play da Vinci – Purchase an inexpensive sketch pad for each child. Give them a box of crayons or colored pencils and head to a park that is rich in fall colors. Let the children wander around, drawing their surroundings. Collect some leaves so that they can create leaf rubbings to preserve the essence of fall. Be sure to pick-up items in nature that can be used for art projects on rainy days.
- Pumpkin Patch Fun – Farms are captivating places to visit during the fall harvest. As Halloween approaches, pumpkins take center stage. Take a family trip to a pumpkin patch. Participate in any fun activities, such as hay rides or a corn maze. Allow the children to walk around and pick their favorite pumpkin. When you return home, play some festive music, perhaps serve some gingersnaps and warm spiced cider, and let the games begin. Have each child draw their desired jack-o-lantern face onto their pumpkin using a marker. Then depending on age, either help them carve the pumpkin or carve it yourself. This will put them in the Halloween spirit.
- Star-Gazing – Astronomy is fascinating and it's not just a classroom activity. Pick-up a stargazing guidebook from the library. Be sure that it illustrates the locations of constellations. On a clear night with no moon, find a dark area away from lights. Put down a blanket so that the whole family can stretch out on their backs and gaze up at the stars. Using the guidebook, take turns identifying constellations.
- Send the Kids on a Mission – A scavenger hunt is the perfect way to keep kids' attention. Go to a park or other area of nature where fall is in full bloom. Write out a list of items for the children to find in nature and then let them loose. Not only will they get physical activity and have a blast, they'll also learn about the different leaves, trees, seeds, and more.
- Game Time – Add a little competition to your family time. Play a game such as basketball, soccer, flag football, or whatever your family enjoys. If your family isn't large enough for two teams, invite neighbors or friends to join you for a friendly game. Pair smaller children with bigger children on each team to even out the playing field. Kids will learn teamwork and cooperation.
- Obstacle Course – Set up an obstacle course with fun twists, such as puzzle solving. Invite some of the children's friends over and get ready for the peals of laughter. The whole family will enjoy being active in the fresh air. Of course, let the littlest ones have a head start.
- Rake Some Leaves – Raking leaves can seem like a chore. But children will feel important being able to help the adults. So grab your family and start raking. For added fun, create big piles of leaves and jump in!
- Take a Bike Ride – Bike rides surrounded by the vibrant colors of autumn are a simple pleasure. Spend quality family time together by choosing a route and going for a ride. Take note of the changes in nature
Autumn is truly magical. Immerse your children in nature and beat boredom with outdoor activities for the fall. There is no need to spend a lot of money. The natural scenery is free and taking advantage of it just requires some creativity and planning.
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