With autumn right around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about ways you can keep yourself entertained as the days get shorter and the leaves take on new colors. Summer’s great for vacation and time off, but fall offers plenty of opportunities for anyone who wants to have a fair share of fun without breaking the bank–from classic festivities like fall harvests to more laid-back activities like hiking, there’s no shortage of ways to amuse yourself and your family. These activities are great for both quality time with the kids or alone with your significant other to keep things fresh and fun. Here’s a quick list of cheap (or free!) fall activities for families.
1. Collect Fall Leaves
Kids love going out and tracking down the prettiest, most colorful leaves that have fallen on the ground. Try going on a “leaf-hunt” hike (or a camping trip) with your kids and encourage them to gather as many beautiful leaves as they can. When you get back to the house, place the leaves inside of books so you can preserve them for seasonal decorations. When they’re done being pressed and dried, you and your kids can start brainstorming ways to adorn your home. Seeing the wonders of nature through the fresh eyes of your children is just one of many ways to remind yourself how rewarding it is to be a parent.
2. Go Apple Picking
Spend an afternoon harvesting the seasonal bounty at a local orchard with family and friends. You’ll have a great time with loved ones, and to top it all off, you’ll leave with a bag of fresh fruit at prices that can’t be beat. Turn the apples into hot cider, bake them into pies, or eat them whole–it’s hard to go wrong.
3. Have a Picnic
On your way home from your apple-picking adventure, you’ll probably want a bite to eat. But instead of going out, why not pack a blanket and a spread of cheese, bread and vegetables before taking off? Find a nearby park where you can watch the leaves turn while you cherish your food.
4. Bake a Pie
Who doesn’t love a pumpkin or apple pie? Gather together the supplies to bake a tasty treat, and then invite your friends over for a taste of your seasonal creation.
5. Celebrate a Fall Festival
From family-friendly celebrations like hot air balloon fests to more adult-oriented Oktoberfest parties, there are fall festivals for everyone. Check out this great list of fall festivals, and do some independent research into what’s going on locally: free outdoor concert series and harvest festivals are probably just a hop and a skip from home.
6. Start a Campfire
With Halloween right around the corner, the time for scary stories starts now. Spend a day making your own backyard fire pit, and then share tales of legends past with friends or young ones while the starry constellations pass overhead.
7. Check Out the Farmers Market
Before the cold, barren nights of winter roll around, autumn provides us with the season of plenty. At the local farmer’s market, you’ll find a colorful abundance of crops like heirloom tomatoes and tasty treats like freshly made pesto or hand-baked bread. Since they’ve got so much supply, vendors tend to mark down prices during the fall so that the fruit of their labor has the best possible chance at finding hungry mouths to feed.
The season of ice cream and beaches may be over, but who can complain when it means the time for cider and hayrides is just beginning? Use our list of fall activities for families to enjoy the great outdoors and spend this autumn with loved ones, all while saving yourself a good deal of dough. By the time December rolls around, it might be a great time for you and your family to start making New Year’s resolutions.