Six fun family activities tailor-made for autumn
Fall is a great time to enjoy the great outdoors. Beautiful fall foliage coupled with great weather compel many people to spend ample time outdoors before the arrival of harsh winter weather drives them back indoors. Yes, it seems like summer just started, but Labor Day was the "unofficial" start of the season.
The following are a handful of activities that are tailor-made for fall.
While raking leaves might not jump out at you as a great way to spend a nice fall afternoon, families often find raking leaves together soon turns into a fun day in the yard. Build leaf piles and let the kids jump in, and then do it again. When raking, encourage kids to collect some colorful leaves and set them aside. Once the raking is done, you can then enjoy making some homemade crafts with the leaves you and your youngsters just collected.
Perhaps no activity is more synonymous with fall than apple picking. Many apple orchards encourage customers to come by and pick their own apples in the fall. Once your family and you have scoured the orchard for the perfect apples, relax with a cup of warm apple cider before returning home to make some homemade apple sauce and, of course, a delicious apple pie. Some apple picking places locally include Blue Jay Orchards in Bethel, Warrups Farm in West Redding, Jones Family Farms in Shelton and Silverman’s Farm, Easton.
Hayrides are another fall tradition, and many farms offer relaxing hayrides throughout fall. Younger children who may tire if asked to patrol an apple orchard for apples might find a hayride is more their speed. Some farms may even allow customers to walk the grounds and visit the animals on the premises.
Hiking is an activity that can be enjoyed nearly year-round, but it's especially enjoyable in the fall. That's because few things in nature are as captivating as a park or forest when the fall foliage is in full bloom. Early fall also boasts ideal temperatures for hiking, as the mercury likely won't rise enough or sink low enough to produce the kind of extreme temperatures that can compromise a hiker's afternoon. Instead, fall temperatures tend to be mild and comfortable, allowing hikers to fully enjoy their often beautiful surroundings.
Visiting a corn maze is another activity that many people instantly associate with fall. Some farmers transform their cornfields into corn mazes once the temperatures dip, and such mazes can be fun for adults and children alike. Though adolescents can often be trusted to find their way through corn mazes, younger kids should be accompanied by an adult. (See full story on page 2.)
Much like apple picking is best in fall, so is pumpkin picking. Rather than buying your Halloween pumpkin from the grocery store, where your options may be limited, go straight to the source and pick your future jack-o'-lantern from a nearby pumpkin patch, which will provide a much wider selection. Let your youngsters pick their own pumpkins and then spend the rest of the day carving them at home. And don't forget to save those seeds, which can be roasted over an open flame to make a delicious snack.