As the weather turns colder, we tend to spend more time indoors, which can translate to getting less exercise. But there are still plenty of ways to stretch your legs that get you out of the house. You and your family can take advantage of many fall-oriented activities and games that make it more than worthwhile to throw on a jacket and a hat and head into the crisp, chill autumn air. Here are a few ideas to get you started on planning your weekend and after-school outings this fall.
Explore a pumpkin patch
Whether you want to pluck apples fresh from the tree or get the perfect pumpkin for Halloween, a day trip to an orchard or farm can be a treat for the whole family. Walking around the grounds is great exercise, and there’s often a plethora of other activities for kids, such as petting zoos and hayrides, that make it a great way to spend a chilly autumn afternoon. Plus, you won’t be returning home empty-handed. You could make healthy apple chips or roast pumpkin seeds for tasty, nutritious snacks.
Solve a corn maze
Some farms may build corn mazes to bring crowds in during the fall months, and this activity can be loads of fun no matter how old your kids are. Do a little research online to find where the nearest mazes are and when they’re open. Whether you solve the maze in 10 minutes or spend an hour meandering through the stalks of corn, it’s sure to be an adventure you and your family won’t soon forget. Big families could split up and race to be the first to solve the maze, while smaller ones, or those with little kids, can explore the twists and turns together.
Hunt for fallen foliage
The changing leaves are a sure sign that winter is coming, and in addition to being a beautiful sight, they represent an opportunity for learning and exercise. Take the kids on a walk through the neighborhood and have them collect as many different types of leaves as they can find. Then you can all look up what kinds of trees they belong to together. You can up the ante by going to a nearby state park, wildlife reserve or arboretum and hiking the trails for a more intense workout and more opportunities to find unique leaves.
Play a game of flag football
No sport represents the fall season better than football, so get the kids together for a fun family game, or invite youngsters from around the neighborhood to get in on the fun. Team sports can be a great way to teach kids about working together and sharing while they burn a few calories and get some much-needed exercise. Use scraps of fabric or ribbon for the “flags” and find ordinary household items to mark the goal lines on a patch of grass. You don’t need a regulation football field for this game.
Plant flower bulbs for spring
If you have a flower garden and want to fill it with daffodils, tulips, crocuses, lilies and other spring-flowering plants, you’ll need to get bulbs in the ground during the fall months. American Meadows explained that these plants need to spend a decent amount of time in the dirt to bloom in the spring so they can form strong roots. Get your kids to help you dig up the soil and get the bulbs you want in the ground before it freezes. Not only is gardening a great form of exercise, but it will teach your kids about nature and help them learn to be patient, as the rewards for their work won’t show until the snow melts.