For a mom, the changing of the season means, among other things, the changing of kids’ activities. When the sun starts to shine in early spring, we all too soon grab those short-sleeve clothes and run outside to enjoy the newly warm weather. When the sleeves get shorter and days get longer in summer, we find ourselves outdoors most days enjoying the rays and the good feeling that comes with playing in the sun. When fall hits, though, it is hard to accept that we need to pack up our play clothes. As soon as the cold air starts rolling in, thoughts of indoor play places like children’s museums, gymnastics centers, and mall playgrounds start coming to mind. While those options are all good options to keep kids engaged and moving, they can also be expensive. For single moms especially, it’s hard to think about shelling out money for play each cold week of fall and winter.
But, it doesn’t have to be that way. Yes, it’s hard to adjust to bundling up the kids before going out and knowing that your nose might get a little cold, but there is so much beauty in fall to enjoy and it doesn’t need to cost a dime. Here are ten free ways to enjoy the colors and crisp joys of fall.
- Rake the leaves. This simple activity is the center of most great fall memories. There is nothing more thrilling than making the biggest pile and jumping feet first into it. Don’t, though, head out the door expecting to actually get the raking done. Head out a week before the chore really needs to be completed and let the family really enjoy the simplicity of this activity.
- Search for leaf treasures. Leave that mountain of leaves behind, grab a backpack, and head out around the neighborhood and park to find the most beautiful of all the fall leaves. The kids will have a great time challenging themselves to find the biggest or most colorful leaves. Consider making a craft like this one with the leaves of choice.
- Leaf pile obstacle courses. When you are done with the large pile, break it up into small sections around the yard and have your kids decide the pattern and obstacles. Then race to your heart’s content!
- Chalk circle twister. Break out that summer chalk and make a twister board on your driveway. Nothing causes laughter liking watching others tie themselves up like a pretzel, and nothing dissipates cold like laughter.
- Laundry basket toy hunt. Grab the laundry basket and your kids’ favorite small figurines and head outside. Fill the laundry basket full of leaves, dump in the toys, and mix them up! Then on your mark, get set, go! Hunt for toys until there are none left.
- Go to the park. Yes, it’s cold, but you can’t stay home forever! Cabin fever is a real thing, and you do want to survive the winter with each other. Put on those coats, hats, and gloves and get out there! You’ll have much more choice of equipment to play on with the crowds gone.
- Hunt for the perfect walking stick. Find the perfect wooded area to pick out the absolute perfect walking stick. The right size and sturdiness are not easy to find. Once you have the right ones, take them back to the house and decorate them. We turned ours this year into witches’ brooms.
- Take a hike. The forest, mountains, lakes, and rivers of where you live might be awe inspiring in the summer, but they are breathtaking in the fall. Don’t miss out on the colors and change that the season has to offer.
- Potato sack races. While you may not have good ole’ fashion potato stacks lying around it’s likely that you will be able to locate some spare pillow cases. Find a flat area, step in the sacks and get to racing! Prices optional.
- Nature mosaic. Whether you are out in the woods or testing out those walking sticks around the neighborhood, bring a backpack with you and collect all the acorns, pine cones, sticks, feathers, and nature artifacts you can carry. Lay out a piece of cardboard, bring out the glue, and create a nature mosaic.
Now, grab those coats and get playing!
This post is sponsored by the Voice of Play.