Pumpkin spice, hay rides, changing colors. It’s no wonder that fall is my favorite time of the year. Here in the north, we only get a few weeks of mild weather before the winter hits, so I take advantage of the season as much as possible. With small kids it’s important to get outside as much as possible, here are my 10 favorite ways to enjoy the fall season without spending money.
Find a park nearby
We have a wonderful park a few blocks from our house, it has a fenced in toddlers area as well. I take a book with me and sit while my kids play. I sit where I can keep an eye on them and enjoy the nice weather. On the way to and from the park, we can collect leaves or talk about how God changes the seasons.
Ask your library
Most libraries have story-time or toddler time. It is another great way to get out and meet other moms. We all need some interaction that doesn’t include “This Little Piggy”, or “The Itsy-Bitsy Spider”. Story time doesn’t cost a thing and it also gives your kids a chance to pick out books that you can read together.
Check your city’s website
Our city has a calendar in the website that tells us whenever there is a craft-fair or festival. We just went to the Harvest Festival where there was free face painting, pumpkin coloring, and a play area from our Children’s Museum. Keeping up to date on any events in your area is a great way to find a fun outing for your family for little to no money.
In our town there is a plethora of apple trees. On the cities’ Facebook page there are people who BEG others to come and pick their apples in the fall. Take the kiddos and go pick fruit, even better, afterwards you can make homemade Applesauce, jams, or pie. This is a great way to spend an entire day from start to finish, plus there’s pie! You can’t go wrong with pie
Take a fall walk
I love taking my children on walks around the neighborhood. My three year old takes a bucket with her and whenever she finds a pretty leaf, she puts it in her bucket. When we get home, we take them out and make a sun catcher by sticking the leaves between two sheets of contact paper. It is a great way to spend an entire afternoon, you can even learn colors with the leaves and talk about how God makes the leaves change color.
Visit a corn or hay maze
Many farms around our area have mazes set up for the fall. Call any local mazes to find out if they have a free admission day. One of our local farms even does a hay ride, they pull a large 5th wheel trailer behind a tractor through the woods loaded with colorful foliage. Careful of allergies though, I actually saw one woman who was mad that the maze was made of straw because her son had bad hay fever, so this might not be a good idea if you, or one of your children have a lot of allergies.
hAVE A BAKING DAY
There are few things that I like as much as baking, especially when there is cool weather. I fill the house with fresh bread, one hour cinnamon rolls, and soft pretzels. My kids love helping me mix and knead the dough, but the best part is putting homemade jam on fresh hot bread and enjoying the fruits of our labors.
Rake FALL leaves
I know, work right? I give my three year old a rake and go to work. She “helps” make a pile and then jumps in. You can spend an entire afternoon having fun in the leaves, then shovel them into garbage bags. I love making my kids help with chores by making a game out of it.
Visit an interpretative center
One of my favorite memories growing up was visiting the Interpretive Center by Canyon Ferry Lake in the capital. We could go and learn about the man-made lake and the native species of flora and fauna. The Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center in Great Falls, MT is an excellent way to spend a cool afternoon. While you are there, visit the Roe River, the shortest river in the world, and feed the fish at the hatchery adjacent to the river. You can visit the Bureau of Reclamation and find information about events and locations in your area.
Enjoy the cool weather with a backyard campfire
You can make two activities out of this, take one afternoon and go down to a local river (if it’s allowed) and pick up river rocks to make a campfire ring. That evening, you can enjoy hot-dogs and s’mores around your campfire.
BONUS – This isn’t a free activity, but picking your own is often less expensive than buying from the store and is much more fun!
Visit a pumpkin Patch
Go out and pick out your own pumpkins. Whether you are picking them for making pies, or to decorate for Halloween, this is a fun way to get out of the house. I just google my area and “pumpkin patch”, it brought up a list of local farms where I could take the kids to pick out their own pumpkins.
Enjoy the cooler weather by getting outside and having some fun. What are some fall events or activities that you enjoy?