The calendar finally says autumn, so to celebrate the changing of the leaves and the cooling off of the weather, you can try one of the following activities with your kids to usher in the season.
1. Go on a nature walk. Forest bathing is very popular now, where you walk through a wooded area while engaging all your senses. You can take the kids to a park or trail, or even around your backyard, and have them look at the plants and insects, smell the fresh air, feel the tree trunks or cool breeze, listen to birds chirping and take a sip of tea (just don’t eat any unfamiliar plants while you’re out and about!).
2. While you are exploring, kids love to collect leaves for craft projects. You can make wreaths, scrapbooks, leaf people, potpourri or garland. You probably already have markers, glitter, pom poms and googly eyes in your craft closet. Let the creativity flow.
3. Read a nature-themed book. You can get comfy on the couch and read these together or sit by a fire as you are camping. You’re never too old for story time!
4. It’s hard to resist a train ride, especially when it’s accompanied by pumpkin picking, snacks, costume contests. It’s the perfect way to see the fall foliage while also relaxing.
5. We can’t leave out those must-do fall activities, apple picking and pumpkin picking. Dress the kids in long pants and boots if you’ll be trekking through the orchard. Children and adults will get a kick out of using the long picking pole to grab apples from the tops of the trees. And in the pumpkin patch, you can usually find gourds of all sizes to decorate, carve or make into pie. Check inside the farmers market for lots of great recipes.
7. Speaking of sightseeing, looking at fall foliage is always a great autumn pastime. There are lots of highways and backroads throughout NJ where you can get a beautiful glimpse of why Jersey is called the great Garden State.
8. Plan an outdoor picnic. This time of year, it’s great to make heartier sandwiches such as peanut butter and jelly or turkey on rye and accompany lunch with delicious apple cider donuts and a pumpkin spiced latte.
9. Many farms and fields offer corn mazes to trek through. Some are for younger kids and have clues along the way, while others are meant for adults to navigate the paths at night using a flashlight. The mazes are typically cut out in the shapes of popular characters or organizations, and many have charitable causes.
10. After spending the whole day having fall fun, the best way to end the evening is with s’mores by the campfire. If you don’t have a fire pit out back, you can buy a portable version that usually sits on the countertop or even one that goes in the microwave.