Celebrating Fall

Celebrating Fall

Explore these great ways to enjoy the changing seasons with your tot.


By: Amy Christie

Go on a Nature Walk
Beautiful foliage and cooler weather are only two benefits of being out in nature during fall, so gather the family and head outside. Collect pine cones, acorns, cool sticks or colored leaves (there are so many hues!). Listen for the wind rustling through leaves and grass, birds calling to each other and the sound of crunching leaves underfoot. Look for animals getting ready for wintertime, like squirrels collecting acorns to bury or birds flying south. And if you have time, lie on your back, look at the clouds and breathe in the beautiful aroma of autumn.

Make a House of Leaves
It's like playing house, but outdoors! Use a rake to move leaves into lines or "walls" for a house. First, get the outer wall set, whether you'd like it to be a large square or rectangle or even a circle. Then, use leaves to make the walls for other rooms in the inside of the house. How many bedrooms? Is there a kitchen? What about a room for all the toys? Maybe the dog needs his own room, too. Don’t forget doorways! Make a house for each friend – heck, make a whole neighborhood – so everyone has their own space. Then be a good neighbor and take time to visit everyone’s leafy abode!

Stamp with Apples and Potatoes
Apples and potatoes aren’t just for eating – they also make great stamps. It’s so easy: Gather a mix of apples or potatoes (or both) in a variety of sizes, a few sizes of knives (for adults only), paint, some scrap paper to protect the work surface and whatever material you want to stamp. Begin by using a large knife to cut the foods in half. Then use a smaller knife to create patterns or shapes in the flesh of the produce, or leave the cut pieces as they are – the apple shape is cute! The possibilities are endless. Once the shaping is complete, pour out some paint and begin to dip the new stamps. Use on cards, large pieces of brown craft paper, fabric or table linens. Anything can be changed or made new with a few quick stamps.

Make a Pumpkin Pie
Sure, pumpkin is available in a can, but why not try to make a homemade pie with a real pumpkin? Baking pumpkins are different than the ones used for carving. Smaller varieties, like sugar pumpkins, have a smoother, denser flesh with a higher sugar content. To get one ready for a pie, use a very sharp knife to cut off the top, including the stem. Then cut the pumpkin in half. Scrape out the seeds and innards (but keep the seeds for roasting!).

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Place the cut pumpkins, cut side down, on a parchment-lined roasting pan or other raised-edge pan. Roast at 350 F for 45 to 60 minutes, until a fork can easily pierce the softened flesh. Cook time depends on the size of the pumpkin. Allow the pumpkin to cool. Then scoop out the cooked flesh, leaving only the outer skin behind (this can be tossed). Purée the flesh until smooth in a blender or food processor. The purée is then ready for your favorite pie recipe!

Attend an Outdoor Sporting Event
Join the crowd and support your team! Nothing gets the energy flowing like loud cheering and popcorn. Lots of fall sports are played outside, and since games often outlast short attention spans, an outdoor venue is perfect. Check your area for low cost or free events, like a local high school or college. Pack a bag with crayons, paper and a few noise-free toys to keep little ones occupied without bothering others if they lose interest in the athletics. Check out the concession stand for some treats and make sure to locate the bathroom.

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