Fall fun for children

Ten activities for you and your child to enjoy this autumn.

There are many fun activities to do outside with your young child this fall. | MSU Extension
There are many fun activities to do outside with your young child this fall. | MSU Extension

As the days grow shorter and the trees begin to turn colors, there is a wealth of fantastic opportunities to enjoy this autumn with your children. Michigan State University Extension recommends these ten fun activities to get the most out of the beautiful fall weather before the snow begins to fly!

  1. Visit an apple orchard. Michigan offers many fantastic apple orchards. Visit Pure Michigan for a guide to finding an orchard near you. Pick apples, try cider and a doughnut, and let your children learn more about where their food comes from!
  2. Make applesauce, apple butter or a pie. After the visit to the apple orchard, return home with a plan to make something with all of those locally grown, tasty and delicious apples! It’s an amazing experience for children to follow through the steps of making their own food. Include them as much as possible in the process. If you will be canning food you create, be sure to use an approved recipe and follow guidelines for processing to ensure a safe product. The National Center for Home Food Preservation provides safe, tested recipes and processing guidelines on their website.
  3. Take a color tour. As early as mid-September, Michigan trees put on a beautiful fall display. Follow updates on the changing colors and find ideas for beautiful, scenic drives from the Upper Peninsula all the way to southeastern Michigan at Pure Michigan's Fall Color Tours. Talk to your children about the trees they are seeing, helping to name colors and identify tree varieties.
  4. Find your way through a corn maze. Farmers create corn mazes by cutting paths through their cornfields. Some mazes are very large, topping out near ten acres, others might offer smaller mazes for children, lit evening mazes, or even haunted mazes! Many mazes are combined with pumpkin patches or apple orchards, making for a great weekend outing!
  5. Find a festival. All throughout Michigan, people are busy celebrating fall! Apple, pumpkin and harvest festivals can be found all across the state. Festivals often offer a sampling of local foods, amusement park rides, craft shows or other fun activities.
  6. Pick a pumpkin. Of course, no fall is complete without a trip to the pumpkin patch! Find a local pumpkin patch and hop on a wagon out to the fields. Help your children find just the right pumpkin for carving. Do they want tall or round? Small or large? Plan enough time for your child to search for the perfect pumpkin!
  7. Rake leaves and jump in them. As long as you have to rake up all those leaves, take some extra time for your child to jump in them! Provide a smaller rake for your child and have them chip in on the hard work. Instead of bagging up all the leaves, consider mulching them into your lawn. Your lawn will thank you come spring!
  8. Become an arborist. An arborist is a person who studies trees. Fall is a great time to involve your children in learning about the trees around them. Start a leaf collection and press leaves between sheets of wax paper. Identify trees the leaves come from and look up information about the trees. Take time to find the answer to “leafy” questions like why a certain tree turns red or keeps its leaves longer. Stumped? Visit migarden.msu.edu to find more information about Michigan trees and plants.
  9. Trick or treat your town. Many cities and towns offer a special night of trick or treating. Usually occurring earlier in the day, these events can be a lot of fun for little ghosts and goblins! Other facilities that offer special trick or treat times often include senior centers and indoor malls. Some outdoor venues such as Crossroads Village and Greenfield Village also offer special Halloween events. Get dressed up and head out for some spooky fun!
  10. Get outside. Before the weather turns and the polar vortex veers south, take time to get outside and enjoy the beautiful autumn days! Many state parks offer special fall activities including harvest and fall festivals. Go on a fall scavenger hunt, take a photo walk, make bird feeders or have a family bon-fire... just take time to enjoy the colorful trees and sunny fall weather! Before you know it, winter will arrive!

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