Fall is by far my favorite season of the year. The moment that the air turns cool and the grass is cold under my bare feet is my signal that fall is here. I have always lived in Texas, so the first day of fall still feels like summer. It takes a few months, but eventually, the cool air makes its way down to where I live. Fall is the perfect season to spend quality time with family and friends. I’ve compiled a list of inexpensive (and some free!) family friendly fall activities for my favorite season.
1. Pumpkin Patch
Our kids just love pumpkin patches. There are some in town, but I have found that the absolute best ones are out in the country. We arrive when they open to avoid crowds and enjoy the cooler temperatures. Our personal favorite includes a petting zoo, a large hay maze, and even a tractor hayride. My kids are happy as can be and as a mom, I’m able to soak up the memories and know that today I provided my children with experiences that we can look back on and smile about.
2. Football Games
I know that it’s fall in my house when the sound of a cheering crowd fills our living room and football is on the screen. Whether you watch football at home, go to a high school game, or hit up a college game, football means fall. Grab the family and support your local high school. If there’s a local college in town then make a day out of it cheer your team on! You can even stroll through the college campus and explore a bit. Depending on what team you’re seeing, attending a football game doesn’t have to be expensive!
3. Fall Carnivals or Harvest Festivals
You are sure to find a carnival or festival nearby during the fall months. If it’s hosted by a church then the carnival can be very inexpensive. Make a plan to spend a certain amount and take that in cash. When you run out of money, the kids will know that you can only enjoy free activities for the rest of the time. Leave your debit or credit card at home so you’re not tempted to spend more than you budgeted!
4. Picnic in the Park
The weather will only be nice for a certain amount of time, so soak it up while you can! Pack a lunch and have a picnic in the park. This activity is absolutely free and children will love it if you turn this into a tradition! Imagine taking a picnic once per week for a few months in a row. Test out a new park each time to discover even more in your town! This is a great way to pull kids away from a screen and get out in nature.
5. Star Gazing
Wrap up in a blanket, grab a cup of hot chocolate, and enjoy gazing at the stars at night. Keep kids engaged by downloading the free app, Skyview to teach children more about the constellations and planets around us. Education and family fun all at once? Yes, please!
6. Outdoor Movie
While the weather is nice out, consider watching a movie outdoors. You can bring an iPad outside or purchase a projector for under $100 to project a movie in your backyard. Hang a white sheet up and you have a screen to project your movie onto! Sometimes just changing the location of a simple activity can make it new and fun!
7. Nature Walk
After dinner, take a walk through your neighborhood and let your children collect nature items. Try to find leaves in as many colors as possible. Grab some pinecones along the way for a fun craft. Pick up some sticks and rocks to start a nature collection at home. Your kids will look forward to this time to explore and spend uninterrupted time with their parents.
8. Pumpkin Carving Contest
Host your own pumpkin carving contest in your home! Pick up an inexpensive pumpkin for each family member and let everyone carve their own pumpkin. When everyone is finished you can vote as a family or upload pictures to social media and let your friends cast a vote! You can even roast the pumpkin seeds that night for another fun activity!
9. Halloween Movies
You can’t pass up Halloween classics like Hocus Pocus and Casper during this season! Have a Halloween movie night and make it festive by eating popcorn mixed with candy corn. Simply declaring a night special and adding one simple touch can lead to lasting memories!
10. Chili Cookoff
Host a chili cookoff in your home (or go to a friend’s chili cookoff). If you choose to host, it doesn’t have to be expensive. Each person can bring some and you can provide the Fritos, bowls, and lemonade. Put some football on in the background and you’re sure to have a happy crowd. To make it even more fun, turn it into a competition and let people vote for their favorite chili!
11. Go on a Hike
The weather won’t be perfect forever and the cold is sure to set in eventually. Before that happens, find a state park or place to take a nice hike. Leave your phone at home (or turn it off) so you can enjoy some time unplugged from the internet and social media. I always feel refreshed and ready to tackle my week when I go on a beautiful hike. If it’s something the entire family enjoys, then find a new hiking spot each week to try out!
12. Board Games
Grab the board games, a large blanket, and head outside for an afternoon of bonding. No one said that board games had to be played at a table so enjoy time with your favorite people making memories.
13. Fall Crafts
Take some of those pinecones that you grabbed on your nature walk and make a fall themed craft with them. Give your kids the opportunity to express their creativity at home with crafts. It’s much better than spending time on the iPad! Follow me on Pinterest where I have a board dedicated to inexpensive fall crafts!
14. Build a Fire
If you own a fire pit, great! The hard part is done! If you don’t, then see if you can find a cheap one at Home Depot or Lowes. The weather is perfect for fires at night with friends and family. Circle chairs around the fire pit and make smores or simply enjoy an evening outside.