Fall brings new energy. Maybe it’s the variety that comes with a change in season, or the renewal that blows in with slightly chilled air. But the change brings new opportunities for family experiences (and a little natural education). Use the time before winter blows in to welcome a little education in the normal course of your family’s day with fun fall activities for children.
Fall Time Educational Skills for Children and Families
1. An appreciation for the view. Here in the Ozarks, on some days, the treetops are practically fluorescent. What’s the best fall view in your neck of the woods?
2. The reward that comes from hard work. We recently cleaned and spruced up our humble campfire area. The boys pulled out the overgrowth and weeds then helped carry and arranged rocks. For supper that night we cooked hot dogs and corn and marshmallows over the new fire area they helped create. Win, win.
3. The importance of outdoor fire safety. We’re making our own fire and enjoying the smell of other people’s campfires. Time to review fire safety rules: garden hose nearby, supervising fire until it’s out. No cheating.
4. The importance of indoor fire safety. Lighting your fireplace? Come up with a safety plan. We practiced our own fire escape plan out of our two story house. It
was fun an experience.
5. Self-care & responsibility: Children who realize on their own they have to come back inside for a sweatshirt or coat. Priceless.
6. How to make chili. Our new favorite is a mish-mash chili, using leftovers like chicken, salsa, and taco meat. I also teach them how to make chili by adding fillers like potatoes or rice. (This is also the time to introduce them to the wonders of a slow cooker.) Someday, your children will make the chili for you. 🙂
7. The fine art of choosing pumpkins for porch decor. Creating a warm welcome at your home’s entrance: life skill.
8. The joys of reading in beautiful weather. Move everyone outdoors with a stack of books.
9. How to organize, retrieve, and declutter seasonal clothing. Pulling out favorite cool-weather clothes to wear again. Of course, you might find the youngins’ have grown out of some things, so…
10. Service to others Everyone is going to need warm coats and sweaters. Make it a yearly family habit to donate gently used jackets and sweaters that don’t fit anymore. Take children with you to purchase new ones for coat drives, local charities, and churches.
11. Appreciation for the beauty of the brilliant fall sun (without all the summer heat).
12. Weather/climate education and the extra energy of walking/running/exercising outside in brisk weather.
13. Botany. Cleaning out the garden vegetable plants from summer, discovering what flowers bloom through the fall, protecting plants we’re trying to preserve from the cold.
14. Leaf-to-tree identification. Collect, sort, research. No pulling leaves off trees.
15. Appreciation for homegrown food: Watching the strawberry plant revive a little with cooler weather, learning about what food to plant in the fall.
16. How to make hot drinks. Kids can help set up (and taste test) this hot drink bar.
17. How to make hot soups and stews with leftovers.
18. Good hiking habits with family: safety, exploration, appreciation for adventure. (You’ll never know what you find on a hike…little boy in a tree stump, perhaps?)
19. An example of a worthwhile fundraiser. Every year our school works with the local pumpkin patch/farm to organize a fundraiser. The farm gives the school a lower price admission, and we gather for a family evening that includes tractor rides, food, a petting farm, pony rides, games, and a corn maze. If you’re able to get involved at your child’s school, suggest the kinds of activities that allow for family time and fun activities.
20. Energy savings/financial savings. You know that sweet spot in the weather where neither air conditioner nor the heater is needed? Talk to the kiddos about how that saves money and energy. Maybe where you live, it’s even open-window weather. If you find you’re short on outer wear, hit the local thrift stores first and show children how much they can save on something like a winter coat.
And from this fall hiking experience (or just a simple walk):
21. All kinds of math like patterns and graphing and counting
22. Science skills like research and observation
23. Language Arts: reading and writing skills with fall-themed children’s literature.