I love fall. I love apples, sweaters, and putting cinnamon and nutmeg in just about anything. I love the way it smells; cold and soothing, as if the air were infused with fresh eucalyptus. I even kind of like the weird dusty smell when you first turn on the heater for the year. Something about it says “home.” Or at least, “get a new filter, silly.”

Fall also means that the cold bite of winter is coming. It’s the last chance to spend entire weekends out and about where you don’t have to bundle and unbundle each time you go through a door. And it’s all too short. So get the most out of fall!

On a nice fall day, visit the Titletown District Park. It’s still nice enough to run around on the playground and take some deep breaths of that fall air. Or, if chilling in the chill air is more your speed, bring a thermos of coffee or cocoa and play a board game in the plaza. If that’s not convenient for you, go to just about any park! Let the kids go wild. It’ll be a while before those slides are accessible again… and without mud puddles at the bottom!

Take a fall walk. My daughter is in 4K this year, and they just did a unit on the changing season. She wanted to go for a walk to see what is changing in our neighborhood. Marvel at what color the trees are turning. Notice where grass is turning brown. Point out gourds turning up in people gardens. Even talk about how the flowers in the gardens are dying. It’s all part of the changing seasons, and part of life. If your kid is upset about the flowers dying, remind them that the flowers will come back in the spring, and how exciting it is to see the baby plants!

Tired from all the walking and playground climbing? Just sit outside. Find a sunny spot in the yard and enjoy a cup of coffee, tea, or cocoa. Take a moment to watch the sun glitter through the warm colored trees. Breathe deeply and be grateful for the day.

Bust out the summer toys one more time. I’m not talking about the kiddy pool… it’s too cold for that! But why not go crazy with sidewalk chalk one more time? Draw some pumpkins or scary monsters on your driveway! Or get the bubbles going again. Soon, they’ll freeze as soon as you blow them, but for now, kids can still chase those gleaming bubbles around. Play catch one more time; it is football season, after all!

Getting excited about Christmas? Take a sunny fall afternoon and go window shopping with your kid. This is an activity more geared towards school-aged kids, since young kids don’t have the patience for it. While you’re out window shopping, talk about what they want for Christmas and what they might want to get other people for the holidays. It also helps kids practice waiting. They don’t need to get everything they want as soon as they want it. Do this while the weather’s still nice enough to go in and out without freezing!

Here’s one more out-and-about fall activity: hit the Farmer’s Market! Harvest time is a great time to be at the markets. The Broadway market ended already, but the Saturday Downtown Farmer’s Market is going on until October 28. When kids are involved in shopping for and preparing healthy food, they are much more likely to eat it. Also, who can say no to cheese curd samples?!

So what about those raw, raining fall days? Those days when the rain stings and you can tell it’s barely not snow. Let’s get prepared for winter! I love movie nights, but with all the travelling we did (and watching videos on the road), our movies are all over the house. Get your movies organized and get the kids involved. Little ones can practice their alphabet while alphabetizing. Reward them with a movie night once they’re all organized. Sometimes you forget what movies you have when you’re watching Moana on a near constant loop!

Cold fall days are also great for crafting. The only time I’m cool with seeing Christmas stuff before Halloween is in the craft store; you need time to make the holiday crafts before it’s the holiday season! Start making holiday vases like these by substituting holiday colors for the silver and gold… or keep it silver and gold! (Burl Ives likes it that way!) You can turn that vase into a centerpiece, too! Give the kids a chance to make a craft they can proudly display whenever company comes over during the holidays… which is often!

Fall can sometimes fly by too quickly, especially in Packer country, when our Sundays are game days. So make the most of your time with a short walk, a cozy movie night, or even just drinking your morning coffee outside one more time.

 

Chryssy is the owner of WellRoundedMom.com, a site dedicated to helping parents make the most of life. She lives in Green Bay with her husband, four-year-old daughter and one-year-old son.

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