In Canada, summer is so fleeting. We try to cram in as much outside time as possible during July and August, neglecting sleep in favor of fun in the summer heat.
It’s wild and chaotic – endless days, staying up too late, water logged and sand-covered and constantly chasing down the sunscreen and the bug-spray and wondering if we washed that soccer jersey; BBQing every meal, turning your own backyard into a campground, rearranging furniture and equipment for an outdoor movie night, get-together with the entire family, and only doing house work on rainy days.
It’s wonderful and it’s freedom and it’s a full-on celebration of nature and the outdoors, and we look forward to it all year in Canada.
Inevitably, amidst this joyful chaos, there’s always a day in the middle of August where a cooler breeze comes to visit and leaves me feeling a bit sad at how quickly summer is flying by, but also a bit nostalgic for the coziness, slower pace and routine of the fall.
In September, even before the leaves start to fall, we start to get a few crisp fall days. With that crisp air and cooler weather I start to notice the things I’ve neglected in my own home as I practically lived outside for July and August.
Fun Fall Activities for the Family
By October, the leaves are changing colors, the days are getting shorter, and the pumpkin pie spice craze has officially begun and it starts to sound super fun to crawl under a blankie with a perfect cup of coffee and just watch movies on the couch until May.
But no! We must resist this urge!
Even in Canada, we still often have really good weather in September and October. And while we may feel like we’ve hit our limit for outside time and a bit desperate for routine, I have found that it is best for my long term mental health to resist going into full hibernation mode too soon in the fall. Fun fall activities for the Family are a must!
Winter is looooong and once we are through the holidays, hibernation gets depressing real quick!
There are so many fun fall activities but I find I have to be really intentional with planning fall activities, in order to resist the pull of the couch as soon as sweater weather hits.
Here is a list of fun fall activities to get you started with creating your own fall bucket list.
Table of Contents
- Make a Fall-Inspired Recipe
- Do a Fall-Themed Craft
- Have a Fall-Themed Movie Marathon
- Visit a Pumpkin Patch, Fall Festival, or Local Farm
- Go Apple Picking
- Have a Picnic in the Leaves
- Go on a Nature Hike
- Have a Themed Cook Out
- Play Games
- Nature Scavenger Hunt
- Roast Marshmallows Over a Campfire
- Listen to Music or Tell Ghost Stories
Make a Fall-Inspired Recipe
One of the best ways to get into the fall spirit is by cooking up some delicious autumn-inspired recipes! When the weather starts to get a bit chillier, turn on that oven, heat up some apple cider and make some tasty treats.
Older kids can help with the baking and you can even pick your own pumpkins to use in these recipes and roast pumpkin seeds once you’ve scooped out all the pumpkinny goodness. So gather up your ingredients, put on your apron, and get cooking!
Easy Pumpkin Pie Recipe
1 pie crust (homemade or store-bought)
1 – 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, beaten
1 – 12-ounce can evaporated milk
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the pumpkin puree, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt.
3. Stir in the eggs and evaporated milk until everything is well combined.
4. Pour the mixture into the pie crust.
5. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and continue baking for 45 minutes, or until the pie is set.
6. Let cool for at least 30 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
Pumpkin Cookies Recipe
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 cups canned pumpkin puree
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Use a mixer with a paddle attachment to cream butter and sugar until it is fluffy – about 3 minutes on light/low setting. With mixer on low speed, add eggs, one at a time, and vanilla; beat until combined. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Add to butter mixture in three additions, mixing until just combined after each. Stir in pumpkin puree.
3. Drop dough by heaping tablespoons onto prepared baking sheet. Bake until cookies are firm and golden brown, about 15 minutes. Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes; transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
This is my favorite Cookbook for Fall themed recipes. It’s from Taste of Home called Fall Baking.
This book includes recipes for Breakfast & Brunch, Appetizers, Soups, Stews & Sandwiches, Sides & Salads, Main Dishes, and Desserts, these are some of the best dishes to serve to family and friends this fall.
Do a Fall-Themed Craft
One of the best ways to get into the fall spirit on a cool autumn day is to do some fun crafts! If you are on a budget you can even turn some Fall Crafts into Christmas Gifts! Have a look at our post Frugal Strategies for Celebrating a Stress Free Holiday Season for some more Christmas related ideas.
Some of my favorite fall crafts (because they are dead easy!):
Making leaf prints
For this fun fall craft, all you need are fallen leaves, acrylic paint from the dollar store and a piece of paper. Go on a nature walk and collect some fall leaves with this craft in mind. (You can also make a huge pile of leaves to jump in it while you’re at it!)
You can use the leaves as stamps or paint creative designs on the leaves. Use your imagination!
Paper plate spiders
As cute as they are simple! Cut out rectangular legs from construction paper. Have your kids glue 8 legs on a paper plate and then just let go to town drawing a cute (or scary!) little spidey face! Spice it up with any extra craft supplies you have lying around – glitter, stickers… you get it.
Cotton ball ghosts
So easy it’s spooky! Pick up some cotton balls at the dollar store. Draw a ghost shape on a piece of paper and have the kids glue the cotton balls in the shape. You can level these babies up with some glitter and/or googly eyes as well, if you want to make fancy glam ghosties!
As the weather cools and school starts back up, it’s a great time to spend more time reading. To get your kids excited about reading, this DIY Fall Bookmark Craft Set is so adorable and you an use these supplies for multiple different crafts and fall decorations.
Make a Fall Themed Wreath
Another fun option is to make a leaf wreath. (say that three times fast!) Just gather some leaves from your backyard and use hot glue or wire to attach them to a circular wreath form.
Start by gluing the leaves around the edge of the wreath form, making sure to overlap them for a full effect. You can collect some natural leaves on Family hike or pick some up from a craft or dollar store. Once the entire edge is covered with leaves, start filling in the middle with leaves until you’re happy with the look.
You can even add acorns, pine cones, berries, or other decorations for an extra touch. Making wreaths always gives me witchy feels – in a good way – and it’s a fun way to add some fall decor to your house!
Have a Fall-Themed Movie Marathon
Another great way to get into the Fall spirit is to have a movie marathon! There are so many great Fall-themed movies out there, from family classics to new releases.
Why not make it a tradition to watch one movie every night leading up to Halloween? This is a great activity for the whole family to enjoy. Get some popcorn, or make some popcorn balls! Snuggle up under a blanket, and enjoy. Kids love a good movie night. This is great idea for cooler temperatures and to help everyone get into the Halloween spirit.
Visit a Pumpkin Patch, Fall Festival, or Local Farm
There’s no better way to enjoy the autumn season than by heading to a pumpkin patch, attending a fall festival or enjoying the fall activities for families at a local farm.
Not only is it a fun activity for all family members, but it’s also a great opportunity to get some fresh air and enjoy the beautiful fall foliage.
You are likely to find a variety of different activities, like hayrides, corn mazes, petting zoos, and maybe even a haunted house. Be sure to check out their website or social media page before you go.
Go Apple Picking
One of the best things about fall is the abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables. And what better way to take advantage of the season than by going apple picking in an apple orchard.
Most orchards offer a variety of activities, like hayrides and pumpkin picking, so it’s a great opportunity to spend a day out with the family.
Pick some apples for making apple pie or apple cider. Do an apple taste test to determine everyone’s favorite apple variety.
We recently got one of these apple picker gadgets. This baby made apple picking a bit of a game for the whole family.
That perfect apple always seems to be just a little out of reach – but not with this secret weapon. Pick all those top tier apples and smile smugly at all the other families who have to settle for low hanging fruit! This blue apple picker even comes with a 13 foot pole!
If you get a bit too into the spirit and overdo it with apple picking (maybe this just me??..) you can always donate some of your bounty to a local food bank.
Hop on google and find an apple orchard near you!
Have a Picnic in the Leaves
Fall is the perfect time to have a picnic! Pack a cozy blanket, some yummy food, and your favorite drinks, and head outdoors to enjoy the crisp autumn air.
But don’t just limit yourself to your backyard—why not have a picnic in the local park, at the beach, or even as part of a family hike.
And don’t forget to pack the hot chocolate! Maybe even candy corn!? (I know, I know… controversial!)
There are so many gorgeous options for picnic baskets. Having a well appointed picnic basket makes it that much easier and convenient to plan a picnic and really elevates the whole experience.
These are some of my favorites. Honestly – I want all of them!
Willow Weave – 4 person Wicker Picnic Basket. It comes with a Bamboo Picnic Blanket and a Wine and Snack table. So cool!
Picnic Time – Deluxe Wicker Picnic Basket for 4. Comes with 4 Porcelain Plates, 4 Wine Glasses, and Silverware. This even comes with Salt and Pepper Shakers, a corkscrew, and an insulated wine bag. So fancy!!!
Happy Picnic – 4 Person Wicker Picnic Basket with built in cooler. Comes with a waterproof blanket, stainless steel utensils and melamine plates. Basically everything you need!
Packing a picnic in a fancy basket is really just more fun than it has any right to be!
Go on a Nature Hike
Fall is the perfect time to get outdoors and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
Why not go on a nature hike? Not only is it a great way to get some exercise, but you’ll also get to see all the amazing colors of autumn. A hike can also help you check off some of your other bucket list items – pack a obscenely bougie picnic or collect leaves, and other natural goodies for your crafts.
To make the most of your hike, be sure to pack plenty of snacks and drinks, as well as sunscreen and insect repellent. And don’t forget to wear sturdy shoes and dress appropriately for the weather.
Have a Themed Cook Out
Think chili cook-off, Thanksgiving feast, or Halloween potluck!
Invite your friends and family and make a whole day of it.
Fun ideas for your cook-out:
Make Fall Inspired Chili
Butternut squash chili is the perfect fall recipe. It’s hearty, filling, and packed with flavor. This easy chili recipe comes together in just 30 minutes and is sure to be a hit with the whole family!
1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 red pepper, diced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes
1 can (15 oz) corn
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Toss butternut squash cubes with olive oil. Spread on a baking sheet and roast for 25 minutes, stirring once or twice.
3. Meanwhile, heat a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute until softened.
4. Add the red pepper and chili powder and saute for a minute more.
5. Add the roasted butternut squash, black beans, diced tomatoes, and corn. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
6. Bring to a simmer and cook until heated through. Serve hot with shredded cheese and sour cream, if desired. Enjoy!
Nature Scavenger Hunt
Give the kids a list of things to find and a bag, and time how long it takes to find all of the items. Younger kids can pair up with older kids. You can make it a competition or have all the kids work as a team.
Another great option is Geocaching. Read our post, Hidden Treasures: A Beginner’s Guide to Geocaching for more on this fun treasure hunt!
Roast Marshmallows Over a Campfire
Better yet – make S’mores! The Hershey’s S’mores Kit is so tasty!
And the Nostalgia Electric S’mores maker is perfect for those who do not have access to a firepit. Everyone should be able to make S’mores!!!
Listen to Music or Tell Ghost Stories
We like to read Spooky Stories from this family friendly book! The kids love it!
I implore you – get started on that Bucket List of Fun Fall Activities!
Make the most of this beautiful season!
Trade your blankie pile for a pile of leaves and put off full hibernation until we are through Halloween and Thanksgiving season.
Your January self will thank you!