10 Simple Ways for Families to Get Outside this Fall

Debi Huang

I hope I don’t sound too cliché by admitting that Fall is my favorite time of the year. That, in spite of the fact that I hate cold, wet weather and having less daylight hours at my disposal.

No, Fall holds a special place in my heart because it is the season of family traditions. The start of a new school year. Birthday celebrations. Trick-or-treating. Holiday anticipation. Yummy foods. What’s not to like?

But Fall has its moments. Days when it feels like everything is flying by at the speed of light. For me, that’s when it’s time to head outside. It doesn’t have to be for very long or involve anything very complicated. Just being outdoors for a few minutes a day helps kids and adults alike recharge and refocus.

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To help avoid Fall crazies, each year we choose a few outdoor family activities we want to enjoy during the season. Our outings have certainly changed a bit since the kids were just babies, but that’s the best part: No two outdoor adventures are ever quite the same.

If you’re wondering what might be fun to include on your own outdoor bucket list, here are some simple ways for families to get outside this fall.

1. Go apple picking.
Picking apples is best enjoyed on a cool, crisp Fall day. Even as the picking season winds down, many orchards (or bakeries nearby said orchards) provide locally grown apples, plus offer tasty apple treats such as pies and cider.

2. Search for fall colors.
Here in Los Angeles, Fall color changes are subtler than in other places around the country. Which is why we like to head to nearby parks to see what changes are taking place during fall. Count how many different colors you can find or even how many different shades of a single color.

3. Take an after-sunset stroll.
With daylight savings time ending, it means more opportunities for after-dinner walks in the dark. Bring along a flashlight (or glow sticks) to discover what your neighborhood looks, sounds and feels like after the sun goes down.

4. Go out in the rain.
Fall tends to bring with it some wet weather. Instead of avoiding it, give in and enjoy playing in the rain. Jump in puddles, listen to the sound of the rain as it hits various objects or try to catch a raindrop on your tongue.

5. Play with leaves.
My sons love to hear the sound of dried leaves cracking under their feet. Or running through a pile of leaves to see how many they can force out from the center of the pile. Get artsy and make leaf rubbings, a leaf crown or a leaf placemat.

6. Search for spooky critters.
Even after Halloween has come and gone, fall still feels like the time to seek out “spooky” critters. Search for spider webs, hunt for nighttime creatures, observe crows or go on a bug safari in your own backyard.

7. Savor the moonlight.
Pull up a chair or lie down on a blanket and check out the night sky right in your own backyard. You can watch the sunset, count stars, even search for constellations.

8. Hit the trails.
Fall’s cooler temps are great for hiking. The crowds at local parks and state parks tend to dissipate, making many of the popular spots that much more family-friendly.

9. Document fall in pictures.
Pick a favorite natural element in your neighborhood such as a tree or park and take pictures of it throughout the season to see how it changes (or stays the same). Or create a list of items to search for all at once, then look for those items outside.

10. Create a few outdoor holiday traditions.
It’s easy to spend a lot of time indoors during the holidays. But there’s a lot of fun waiting to be had outside. How about a thankfulness walk during the Thanksgiving holiday? Or decorate for wildlife with birdseed ornaments for the trees in your backyard. We had fun one year going on a hike with Santa hats on, then enjoying a holiday-themed picnic (complete with homemade holiday cookies).


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10 Simple Ways for Families to Get Outside this Fall by Go Explore Nature

Debi Huang is an ordinary, everyday mom living in an urban LA neighborhood where she raises her two boys as "nature kids." Her secret? A steady family diet of Nature. Play. Trips. After 5 years writing her popular blog, she's collaborating with Michele Whiteaker of FunOrangeCountyParks.com to bring seasonal nature activities, trip ideas, and new places to play to her readers in a new membership site.