It was a long, hot summer in much of the country, and although autumn brings with it cooler weather, there are still plenty of fall activities to enjoy this season. With the changing of the seasons comes shorter days, colder weather, and—thanks to all the activity happening in nature at this time of year—outdoor learning activities galore.
The leaves on the trees are changing colors, and seasonal fruits and vegetables are making their way to our kitchens. It’s a perfect opportunity to get kids outdoors for some fun, hands-on learning.
Here are 5 great outdoor learning activities to do with the kids:
Go Apple Picking
Autumn is prime apple season and a great time to go apple picking, bake pies, and more. This fall, join the many families who visit local apple orchards, and learn about the apple harvest season. From picking the fresh fruit to watching the farmers fill their bins for farmers’ markets and grocery stores, you’ll get a first-hand taste of sweet, fall farm life.
Go for a Hike and See the Fall Colors
Leaves are changing colors, so why not spend a bit of time observing and learning about them? It’s a great opportunity to talk about concepts like photosynthesis and plant life cycles. Pick up a book at the library about trees in your area to help you and your kids identify the ones you’ll see. Online identification tools or an app like PlantSnap are a good option too. Leaf rubbing is also a fun educational craft!
Play Flag Football and Learn the Basics
Little league, JV, Varsity, College, NFL—is it fall or football season? Depending on your level of interest and participation, it could be both! Our house is clothed in black and blue every Sunday (or Monday or Thursday) as we cheer on the Carolina Panthers, and it’s helpful to teach our youngsters the rules, positions, and strategies of the game. Truth be told, I don’t quite understand all of the ins and outs myself, but taking the time to break it down slowly to children who are showing interest will be beneficial for all of us. Start with the basics, and show them a few fundamentals to help make learning the game enjoyable.
Visit a Pumpkin Patch
There are so many reasons to visit a pumpkin patch this season! Similarly to apple picking, kids will get to see first-hand where pumpkins come from and how they grow. This experience can help them develop a positive association with nature and rural life. They’ll likely get to interact with animals, teaching them compassion for other living things. They’ll be free to run around in a safe, spacious outdoor environment. And, of course, they’ll get into the fall spirit with everything pumpkins! Take home your pumpkins to decorate, create a pumpkin investigation station, or even make volcanic pumpkins! The possibilities are endless!
Watch a Halloween Movie in the Backyard
It’s the perfect season to enjoy a movie outside during a brisk fall evening. Don’t feel like you have to break the bank for a projector and screen either. There are many options available to project from your smart phone, or you can see if a friend or neighbor has one you can borrow. You can also use large, white paper for the screen instead of an official movie theater drop. Add some snacks, candy, and hot chocolate to your picnic basket, and family movie night will reach an all new level! And the discussions that follow can be educational and informative. Not sure what to watch? Fortunately, not all Halloween movies are scary, and many are fun for the whole family. Some popular kid-friendly movies to watch this season:
- It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (Not rated, recommended for all ages)
- Pooh’s Heffalump Halloween Movie (PG rating, recommended age: 3+)
- Hotel Transylvania (PG rating, recommended age: 7+)
- Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (G rating, recommended age: 7+)
- Casper (PG rating, recommended age: 8+)
- Coraline (PG rating, recommended age: 9+)
- Scooby Doo (PG rating, recommended age: 10+)
- Hocus Pocus (PG rating, recommended age: 10+)
- Corpse Bride (PG rating, recommended age: 10+)
- Monster House (PG rating, recommended age: 10+)
Did you think of any great fall outdoor learning activities that we didn’t mention? Please share it by posting a comment below, or share a picture of what you did with your family by tagging @K12Inc on Facebook or @K12Learn on Instagram.