After a record-breaking summer, filled with scorching temperatures, the cooling fall season is rapidly approaching. Many children are now back in school, so they will typically have homework and other after school activities to keep them busy throughout the week. If you home school, or have kids that have not yet reached school age requirements, then you will need to have a stash of ideas ready to enact at most any time of day.
Regardless of your situation concerning school, you will still have snow days, sick days, and weekends that may require some form of clever entertainment. Additionally, the costs of summer can be hefty. If your family takes a vacation, send the kids to summer camps, or require childcare for them, you understand how straining these expenses can be on the wallet.
You are certainly not alone with these situations. Parents across the nation seem to be seeking out ways to entertain their family when the seasons change without breaking the budget. Here are some great ideas to keep your family active and engaged during the autumn season.
1. Start a Boredom Box: Dig out an old shoe or tissue box and then decorate it with the family. Ask all members of the family unit to consider things that they would find interesting to do with the group. Establish a set number for each person to brainstorm. As a family, decide which ideas will go into the Boredom Buster Box. Make sure that some of everyone’s ideas go into the box, as you do not want to leave anyone out, or the concept will not seem like very much fun. When the boredom blues strike, allow a member to draw a random piece of paper from the box, and take steps to get that activity underway with the family.
2. Scrapbooking: Surely, you took many photos of your summer activities, and a rainy or extremely cold day is an excellent time to sit down with the family and organize a scrapbook that documents your experiences. Allow each member of your family to choose their favorites to go into the book.
3. Autumn yard work: Even young toddlers can participate in the yard clean up that is necessary quite frequently during the fall. Try to find some low cost child-size rakes to keep on hand so that they can feel as thought they are contributing to the cause. Older children can often use the lawn mower and the leaf blower, while limb trimming and weed eating is best left up to the adults. Kids may not initially like the idea of this type of work. Bargain with them if necessary by offering to let them jump around in a leaf pile, or perhaps add a little extra to their weekly allowance.
4. Biking: In some areas, it is too hot to enjoy riding bikes in the summertime, so now is the ideal opportunity to get out and hit a bike trail with the family. Make sure that everyone has well-fitting safety gear including helmets, pads and reflective clothing. Take along plenty of water, and get outside and have some fun.
5. Sporting activities: With football season here, now is the perfect time to head outside to the backyard or a park to toss around the football. Get a game of flag football going with friends and neighbors, or simply enjoy the activity with your family. Frisbee is a lot of fun for children of all ages, and the fall is a great time to play the game. Any sport your family enjoys can be undertaken on fair weather days.
6. Board games: Keep a collection of board games on hand that everyone in the family takes pleasure in. Make sure that there are age-appropriate games for the younger children, as well as engaging ones that will keep older children entertained. Games are a great way to spend time together, learn new concepts, and enjoy some friendly competition. Children can learn a number of positive skills and personal attributes from board games, and these items can typically be purchased quite inexpensively at local retailers.
7. Arts and Crafts: Keep a cache of markers, crayons, colored pencils, glue sticks, construction paper and other artistic goodies on hand for entertainment possibilities when going outdoors is not an option. Create fun crafts for each other and exchange them as gifts.
8. Local library: Head out to the library to pick out books to read with the kids. Many libraries offer weekly story hours, movie nights, and other activities as a service to the community. Some of these facilities even have an assortment of DVDs that can be checked out free of charge.
9. Camping: There is no better time of year to sleep in the great outdoors than autumn. Entry fees to state parks is very reasonable, especially considering what you can look forward to at the destination. Many parks may feature a lake for fishing, groomed trails for hiking, and great opportunities to view wildlife. This is a great time to load up the bikes to bring along, as well.
10. Scavenger hunts: These can be held indoors, outdoors or a combination of both depending on the weather. Make clue cards and hide goodies of your choice in random places that you indicate on the card. This keeps children busy and their minds working, while they hunt down the objects. Think of a special prize of privilege for the winner.
With some planning and cleverness, there are endless possibilities for cool weather activities. These ideas are only a starting point, but you will get even more if you utilize the Boredom Box, which ensures that everyone in the family gets a say in how they spend their spare time.
Emily Patterson is currently working as a communications coordinator for Primrose Schools providing written work to the blogosphere which highlights the importance, and some of the specific aspects, of a quality, early childhood, education. Through an accelerated Balanced Learning® curriculum, Primrose Schools students are exposed to a widely diverse range of subject matter giving them a much greater opportunity to develop mentally, physically and socially.