As a stay at home mom, I’ve found that the days go easier if they are kept relatively full. Toddlers, or at least my toddler, start acting like POWs when spending more than 6 hours at home. My toddler is happiest when we are outside, playing with friends or in a new environment. This gets increasingly difficult as the temperature starts to drop. In Colorado, the weather in the fall can be kind of unpredictable, so its nice to have a blend of indoor and outdoor things to do.
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In creating this list, I tried to put these activities in some sort of logical order. So without further ado, here is Chicky Mama’s Ultimate Fall Bucket List for you and your little one to enjoy.
- Pick out Pumpkins in a pumpkin patch – this is a classic fall activity and SO MUCH FUN for the littles. Plus this is an awesome photo op to get photos to send to grandparents, who eat this stuff up like Halloween candy . Find your local pumpkin patch here.
- Get Lost in a Corn Maze – Find your local corn maze here!
- Go on a fall themed nature hike- just make it short and fun so the littles don’t get too tired.
- Go on a scavenger hunt – use pictures (if your preschooler cant read) and help your child find the items.
- Attend a fall festival – keep a watchful eye out for these in your local newspaper or message board
- Go to a fall farmers market – have fun looking at local produce.
- Visit a farm – Harvest season is a wonderful time of year to plan a visit with a local farm. Kids love interacting with animals and seeing things grow.
- Pick apples at an apple orchard. – Find your local apples orchard here.
- Go on a hay ride – Hay rides are quintessential fall fun. However, unless you live on a farm, this isn’t the easiest one to accomplish. But, there are usually advertisements under the events section for hay rides this time of year and if you cant find it there, Facebook events and google are also excellent resources.
- Take your little out on a coffee date – Get a fall themed coffee for you, and a fall flavored milk steamer for your little one (or hot cocoa, or apple cider). Make sure and get a fun fall dessert while you’re there!
- Go out to the country (or the mountains) to see the leaves – make sure to pack a picnic to eat in the midst of all the beautiful fall colors. Don’t forget to take your camera and snap a few family photos while you are there.
- Go for a camping trip – You can go to a camp ground to camp, just make sure you are prepared to have a little one with you while camping. Or, if you aren’t ready to take your toddler with you on that big of an adventure quite yet, you can always camp in your back yard.
- Stomp in puddles – Fall brings rain and rain brings puddles and puddles bring toddlers. You cant beat it, you might as well join it.
- Pick out a new matching fall outfit together! Don’t forget a cute beanie and matching scarves!
- Grab a polaroid camera and snap some pictures- fall is nostalgic. Polaroid cameras are nostalgic. Get yours here and take pictures of you and your toddler completing fall bucket list items.
- Try Coldstone’s fall ice cream flavors – colder weather may be here, but ice cream is appropriate all year long :p
- Collect acorns and pinecones – my daughter loves acorns and pinecones. These are also great craft materials for later on in the year.
- Play in a corn pit – this is exactly what it sounds like. It is a pit of corn in which you can play. Some pumpkin patches may have them but if you cant find one, build your own!
- See the geese one last time before they fly south – you can usually catch them at your nature park but if not, you can always look out for their famous V shape in the air.
- Collect food for a food bank – Kids love to feel like they are a part of something bigger – especially kids in the 4-5 range. Make sure you explain what you are doing and why you are doing it. Even my little girl (almost 2) loves to be the one to put items in the donation box.
- Attend an outdoor (kid friendly) concert – You can usually find a few of these listed in the newspaper or community bulletin board before the weather gets too cold.
- Take a family get away in a cabin – Sometimes you just need a weekend away. Plan a trip away during fall break if you have older kids in school or go on a weekend.
- Attend a error glow – Late August and September is a great chance to see a balloon glow. Search online to find one near you.
- Identify neighborhood trees – fall is an excellent time to identify trees in your neighborhood. Some trees become much easier to identify in the fall after the leaves change. I highly recommend the Audubon Field Guide to North American Trees. Get them from the links below:
Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Trees: Eastern Region
National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Trees–W: Western Region (National Audubon Society Field Guides)
- Take a scenic drive – Take a local road through the country and just look at the land around you. Pack some snacks and stop to explore.
- Go to a family friendly drive in movie – Find your local drive in movie theatre here
- Run in a race together – My daughter loves to go fast in her stroller. She is an awesome training buddy! (“Mommy! Go faster!”) Sign up for a fun run with your little and then make sure to get out to train.
- Go to a children’s museum – This is another great activity for preschoolers. While older kids go back to school to learn, why not plan an outing for the preschooler in your life to your local children’s museum.
- Go to the park – Winter is just around the corner. Soak up the magic fall temperatures while they last!
- Start going to story time – Fall is a wonderful time to check out your local library and start attending story time. A lot of them will also let your little ones do crafts and play time which is time you don’t have to spend thinking of an activity to do! Whew!
- Make a fall discovery table – Lay out sticks, leaves, acorns, (clean) feathers, fall grasses pinecones and fall nuts on a table with a magnifying glass, tape measurers and tweezers for your kids to explore. Discover with your child and discuss if an object rough or smooth, soft or hard. Older preschoolers may like to draw a picture of each item. Let your child fully explore the items – tear them apart etc.
- Check out your local chapter of MOPS – MOPS is a great place to go for mothers with small children. They usually start up in the fall (right around the start of school). Its a nice break for you and great fun for your little ones.
- Do Random Acts of Kindness (RAKs) around your neighborhood – get some ideas herehere
- Donate old toys – its almost Christmas time, why not make room for new toys by donating the ones your child doesn’t play with anymore?
- Write “Thank You Cards” to hand out at your local VA hospital or nursing home- My grandfather spent the last 9 months of his life at a VA nursing home. Although he was given the absolute best care, it was still a very lonely place to be. When I brought my daughter there to visit him, the whole place came alive. My daughter became an instant celebrity and everyone wanted to know when my grandfather’s baby was going to come visit again. This absolutely touched my heart and my daughter’s as well.
Fall Snacks and Treats
- Roast pumpkin seeds. – this is a yummy and healthy snack for you and your little one! Just make sure they are old enough to eat them
- Try Caramel apples – this makes a fun fall snack. Slightly tart and crisp apples like honey crisp or gala work beautifully for caramel apples. For small toddlers, cut up the apples and let them dip the slices in their own warm caramel. Make sure to have plenty of wet wipes, available as this snack can get messy. For even more fun, invite a few friends over and make some toppings to go on your apple. Crushed chocolate, peanuts, Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal and sprinkles are fun additions to any caramel apple but be creative!
- Make apple crisp – Let your kids help by allowing to mix the apples and sprinkle on the “crisp”
- Make apple chips – have your kids help sprinkle sugar and cinnamon
- Make fall themed trail mix – Littles love to help in the kitchen and this recipe is a perfect way to let them. Toddlers will love pouring the ingredients in a bowl and mixing them together.
- Make smores around a bonfire – This one is so much fun, especially for older toddlers (or the toddlers at heart).
- Share a glass of apple cider with your toddler- warm or cold, either one is tasty.
- Make and eat a pumpkin pie- you don’t get much more fall than that 😉
- Let your child make an easy recipe for thanksgiving. Don’t know what to make? Check out this recipe and this recipe
- Make leaf shaped cookies – this can be done with sugar cookies and a cookie cutter (extra points for maple flavored cookies). Make sure to make royal icing in fall colors so that you and your child can decorate! Older preschoolers especially will love this activity.
- Eat a persimmon – a persimmon is a large berry that gets ripe after the first hard frost. Too early and its hard and bitter, too late and its rotten. But if you manage to get it perfect, its so sweet and tasty!!
- Make hot cocoa – a chilly fall day is the perfect time to indulge in cocoa. Throw in some marshmallows for an extra special treat
- Make applesauce together – Kids will love helping mash the apples, and taste testing, of course! Get the directions here
- Make rice crispy treat pumpkins – Find a great tutorial here.
- Make vegetable soup together – or any type of soup! Check out my family’s fall favorites here.
- Make pumpkin pancakes for breakfast – These are delicious and can also be frozen for breakfast another day! Check out the recipe here.
- Make a harvest corn cake – These are ADORABLE. Your little one will love to help decorate these. This is sure to become a new fall tradition in your home! Get the recipe here.
Harvest Season Celebrations
- Stay in pajamas all day and play games – sometimes you have to stay in. Make it fun by having an all day pajama party
- Have a toddler friendly football party – make your favorite game day snacks and make some toddler friendly games for the little ones to enjoy while the adults watch the game.
- Have an apple tasting.- cut up several varieties of apple and let your child taste test them with you. Find your child and your favorite apple variety!
- Watch a fall or Halloween themed movie – we love Pooh’s Heffalump Halloween Movie, Coco, Its the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, Fox and the Hound, Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and Garfield’s Thanksgiving.
- Make a Halloween costume with your toddler – toddlers love cutting, gluing, tying and spraying glitter. It may not look perfect, but the memories you will make will be invaluable.
- Throw a toddler friendly Halloween party – Have a costume contest and several activities for you little ones to do.
- Pick out a Halloween costume – Maybe crafting a whole costume isn’t your thing. That’s okay! Picking out a costume with your toddler can be equally as fun!
- Go reverse trick or treating- this is a fun activity to do with some mom and toddler friends. Dress up in your Halloween costumes and hand out candy to seniors in a nursing home or assisted living community. Not only will your child love dressing up in his or her costume, but the seniors will love getting to see your little ghouls and goblins handing out candy.
- Attend or participate in a trunk or treat – this has become our favorite way to trick or treat. Not only do you not have to worry about going door to door on busy streets, but you also get to see some pretty fun trunk decorations.
- Go trick or treating- the perfect place to take your newly made costumes out for a spin! Take a stroller with you and dress in layers to keep your little monster or angel comfortable and happy. Also make sure to keep some healthy snacks on hand to battle the inevitable hangries and so they wont over eat their newly collected treats.
- Go to a Veteran’s day parade
- Make a thankfulness tree- make leaf shaped ornaments out of construction paper and write down what you and your child are thankful for.
- Watch a Thanksgiving day parade – This is one of my husbands favorite traditions with his family.
- Host a toddler Thanksgiving or harvest party – Make it a lunch event and invite all your child’s friends. Make ahead some fun toddler friendly treats and gather a few turkey themed games.
- Think up a Thanksgiving breakfast tradition together – My dad would usually always cook his famous giant omelets for breakfast to order. It was a ton of fun because first of all, dad rarely cooked breakfast but also because we got to pick what went in our omelet. My husband’s mom always made chocolate gravy (recipe here) and homemade biscuts for their Thanksgiving breakfast. Make it special to you!
- Take your Christmas card photo – I know, I know, no Christmas before Thanksgiving. But if you wait until then you will be rushing to get your Christmas cards out on time (trust me on this one).
Fall Stay-at-Home Activities
- Paint or draw on a pumpkin. – this is an awesome alternative to carving as little hands should not be let around sharp objects. White pumpkins make an excellent canvas for markers or tempura paints.
- Make a scarecrow tgether – stuff him with leaves newspaper or hay! Make sure and use old clothes to put on your scarecrow.
- Plant flowers for next year – Daffodils, tulips and crocus all are planted in the fall for spring. Your little one will love digging in the dirt.
- Make an apple stamp – Cut an apple in half and dip it in red and green paint and press on to paper. Voila! apple stamp! You can use your stamp to make cute projects like this and this.
- Rake leaves (and jump in them) – this goes along with the whole thing about toddlers loving to help. Toddlers and preschoolers love to collect leaves and put them in piles.
- Make a leaf angel – Like a snow angel, but with fallen leaves.
- Make a handprint leaf – dip your toddlers hand in a fall colored paint then draw the veins and stem on with a dark sharpie.
- Decorate stationary with leaf “stamps” – send the grandparents or far away relatives a letter with a recent picture of your little one. Get “stamp” instructions here
- Collect leaves – look for brightly colored leaves. You can stick them on paper with tape and press the leaves in a nice heavy book. Make sure and date it as it makes a fun keepsake for later.
- Make a leaf etching- get directions here.
- Make leaf art – Find printable and directions here.
- Make leaf suncatchers – Use tissue paper to make sun catchers and hang them in your sunny windows
- Make a leaf sensory bin- This one is so much fun! My daughter is obsessed with acorns right now and she loved dipping her hands into the corn. Get the instructions here.
- Make some fun bird treats- all you need is a few pinecones, foil or wax paper, some bird seed, string, and peanut butter. First, spread about a cup of peanut butter out (not too thickly) on a wax paper or foil flat surface. On a separate wax paper surface, spread out a cup or two of birdseed. Roll the peanut butter covered pinecone over the birdseed and make sure to shake off the excess. Finally, tie a piece of string around the pinecone so that it can be hung in a tree.
- Make yarn apples – get the directions here.
- Make a batch of cookies for your neighbors – Not only is it fun to make cookies with your little one, but its also nice to teach them the art of giving.
- Make a hand turkey- Always fun and it doubles for a nice keepsake for you
- Read a fall themed book – We like Leafman and Mouse’s First Fall.
- Make a fall scrap book of all your fall adventures – Decorate with foam stickers, fall colored finger prints, glitter glue, and pressed leaves!
- Crawl on a hay bale – Take this to the next level by creating a hay bale play area.
- Make a fort – Fall days can be cold and rainy so beat the fall blues by building a fort and snuggling in for a book and cocoa!
- Make mitten puppets – These are really adorable to make and will help encourage your toddler to wear his or her mittens. Get ideas here.
- Make an acorn painting – Get the tutorial here
- Make fall scented playdough – This is so much fun – it engages your child’s senses of sight, smell and touch. Get the recipe here.
- Make a leaf garland – Collect fall leaves and make them into a garland to decorate or indoors! Check out the tutorial here.
- Paint a mug for your hot cocoa – This is a super simple and economical craft. Grab some sharpies and have a blast! See the tutorial here.
- Make a fort out of sticks and leaves – My brother and I used to have a blast making these types of forts at our family’s farm. Check out a tutorial here.
- Make a leaf maze- leaf mazes are fun, low cost and a great way to get your child to play outside.
- Go pumpkin bowling – Set up some bowling pins or cans and roll a pumpkin at them!
- Make a wreath together – Pinterest is filled with ideas of toddler made fall wreaths. But this one is my favorite.
- Make a fall slime – Again. Pinterest has TONS of ideas for fall slime, but I am partial to this one.
- Decorate outside for fall – Gather all your pumpkins, hay bales and corn stalks and get to decorating!
- Make a clubhouse out of a cardboard box. – Let your child color the outside and provide a comfy seat and books for your child to read in his or her fort.
Whew! I hope this list helps you and your child celebrate the season! What is your favorite idea? Did I leave anything out? Make sure and comment and tell me what you thin
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