Ah, fall. The first chill in the air, comfortable sweater weather, and beautiful changing leaves are enough to bring a smile to your face. Between heading back to school and establishing new routines, you might think there is not enough time to enjoy everything fall has to offer. But, we’ve done all the research so you can focus on the fun. Your family will love these fall craft projects, adventures, and learning opportunities.

Check out our list of the best fall activities for kids so you can make the most of the season.

Outdoor fall activities

1. Pick your own apples & pumpkins

Taking a trip to the orchard to pick apples and pumpkins with your family is always a special autumn outing. It’s a great opportunity to spend time outdoors with your children, take some great photos (holiday cards, anyone?), and bring home some fresh, delicious goodness. Plus, spending time on a working orchard is an awesome way to teach your child about plants, farming, and so much more. The best part? Sawyer has put together the ultimate NYC apple & pumpkin picking guide for families! 

2. Rake leaves (and jump in the pile)

One of the many joys of childhood is jumping into a freshly raked pile of leaves. Children love to mimic adults, so if your child is on the younger side, you can get them a small plastic rake so they can lend a hand. Then, you can both jump into the leaves together! If you have an older child, you can use this as an opportunity to teach responsibility and give them the chance to make some allowance as well! But don’t worry, they can still jump in after they’ve finished raking.

Photo of outdoor fall activities

Fall activities for families

1. Get your hands messy with arts & crafts

When it comes to fall activities for kids, arts & crafts is definitely one of our favorites. Are you a traditionalist who can’t wait to create handprint turkeys with your family? Or are you and your children lovers of the fantastical? If so, this online art class, “Adventures in drawing magical beasts and creatures” sounds up your child’s alley! Whether you are creating leaf rubbings, acorn people, toilet paper squirrels, tissue ghosts, or something else entirely, fall is the perfect time to expand creativity in the name of the season.

2. Carve a jack-o-lantern

Is it really spooky season without silly (or scary) faces in pumpkins? This is such a fun fall activity because everyone can get involved! Parents help with the carving while children act as creative directors. Feel free to break out the markers, paints, googly eyes, and pipe cleaners to really bring the pumpkin to life. Prefer to leave it up to the professionals? Book a pumpkin carving workshop on Sawyer with The Craft Studio!

3. Make a delicious fall recipe

Once you’ve picked a bushel (or two) of apples at the orchard, it is time to dive into the flavors of the season. There are so many tasty fall recipes that you can make with your family. You can do a classic apple pie or a fun twist with these apple hand pies, which you can bake with one of our Sawyer educators, Oui Chef. This is also a great chance to explore new fruits, veggies, and spices with your children. Try butternut squash mac & “cheese”, pumpkin & cinnamon bread, or chai pancakes!

Photo of fall activities for kids

4. Create Halloween costumes with the whole family

We love a DIY moment. Working together as a family to create fun, DIY Halloween costumes can be great bonding and an incredible photo op. So, what will it be? Mommy shark, Daddy shark, and Baby shark? The family from The Incredibles? The Scooby Doo crew? Whatever you choose, make sure you are ready for a fun afternoon of trick-or-treating and spending time outdoors. For even more fun Halloween activities at home, check out our guide.

5. Donate uneaten and unopened Halloween candy

By mid-November, you might be wondering what to do with leftover Halloween candy to avoid sugar rushes. Did you know that there are nonprofit organizations that will take your unopened candy and put it to good use? Treats for Troops and Operation Gratitude send the candy to soldiers and essential workers. You can also call up your local Ronald McDonald House to see if they will accept your donation for families with children undergoing medical treatment who cannot trick-or-treat.

Thanksgiving activities for kids

1. Learn about the history of Thanksgiving

Your child might have heard a little about Thanksgiving and the colonists, but it is important for you to help them learn the whole story. There are a lot of great books and resources about indigenous people that can help them gain an appreciation of their culture and understanding of what they have been through. Before carving the turkey, try to have these open conversations with your family.

Photo of Thanksgiving activities for kids

2. Volunteer to help people in need 

One of the best fall activities for kids is volunteering. Whether you help out at a soup kitchen or pack brown bag meals for the holiday season or run a 5K to raise money for a nonprofit, the joy of volunteering with your family is unmatched. Include your children in the research, volunteer work, and results so that they feel involved the whole way through. Hello new family tradition!

3. Express gratitude to friends and family

Finally, fall is the season of thankfulness. Help your child come up with a list of important people in their lives (you should definitely be on there!) and list some of the reasons why they are thankful for those relationships. Write letters, make cards or crafts, or just call on the phone so that you and your children can share your gratitude. If you want to spread the love with edible Thanksgiving crafts (because the stomach is the key to the heart), check out our guide!

At Sawyer, our mission is to help children discover their love of learning by making it as easy as possible for parents to find enriching activities in their neighborhoods and online. As you continue to navigate this partially opened, partially distanced world, we hope classes on Sawyer and articles like these help. Happy fall, all!

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