10 Traditions to Fall For!
Autumn Family Traditions
by Kerrie McLoughlin
Ah, fall! Hopefully it means a break from oppressive summer heat, and it definitely means fun times are ahead. Fall might find us grabbing my mom and heading to a local pumpkin patch. Another weekend we might be sampling banana-flavored milk at our nearby dairy farm. Below are 10 ideas for fall traditions to start with your own family. Pick and choose a few each year … or try to sneak them all in!
1. Go natural. A nature center is a great way to spend a cool fall day or evening. Many have walking or hiking trails nearby, so you get not only memories and education but also exercise. Some have night hikes and other fun programs for the kids where they can see animals like owls, snakes and bats up close. To find a nature center in your state, check out www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_nature_centers_in_the_United_States.
2. Animal instinct. Fall is a great time to head to the zoo (www.zoos-worldwide.de/) because the animals are more likely to be outside due to the break from the heat. Pack your lunch and a camera and make it a day!
3. Go to market. Many cities have outdoor markets with fresh fruit, veggies, flowers and other fun items (pumpkins and gourds!) local farmers bring in to sell. A farmer’s market is a cool way to spend a Saturday morning before heading out to another fall activity. Here’s a list of farmer’s markets in DFW.
4. An apple a day. Head to a local apple orchard for some picking, and then make simple cobbler, pie, applesauce, cinnamon apples and more. PickYourOwn.org has by state (even by country!) listings for just about every U-Pick orchard fruit you can think of! Then fire up your computer and go to www.allrecipes.com to find unique and traditional recipes for any fruit dish you can think of.
5. Go milk a cow. My kids still talk about the time we went to a local dairy farm for a fall field trip. They got to see how cows are milked by machines, how they are cleaned, how milk is processed and – the best part – they got to sample different flavors of milk. I don’t have a cool website for you here, folks. You’ll just have to Google “dairy farms” then your city, then find out from there if they give tours.
6. Go find it … the old fashioned way. Have some of your kid’s friends over for a scavenger hunt, assign them to teams and give them a list of things you want them to go find. The team that comes back with all the items on the list first is the winner. For fun fall scavenger hunt ideas for kids of all ages, click on www.buzzle.com/articles/scavenger-hunt-for-kids.html.
7. Go find it … using technology. According to the website www.Geocaching.com, “geocaching is a real-world outdoor treasure hunting game. Players try to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, using GPS-enabled devices and then share their experiences online.” On this site parents and kids can search for caches in their area then go hunt them down. When you find the cache, you sign a logbook, and sometimes there’s a small prize for you to take (but you must also leave something behind!).
8. Leaf it to the kids. Rake up the leaves and jump in them. Take lots of pictures and video! When you’re done, hunt down some favorite leaves in different colors and make a leaf collage. Glue leaves to a piece of construction paper and paint designs on them.
9. Light up the night. Get a bunch of families together from school, church or the neighborhood for a game of flashlight tag in a park. Check out www.ehow.com/how_2087247_play-flashlight-tag.html for the rules.
10. Patch things up. Meet up with some friends at a pumpkin patch to hunt for pumpkins and funky gourds in colors like salmon and white.