10 Budget Friendly Fall Activities for Kids and Families

Fall family activities

The fall is vivid a reminder to live in the moment and enjoy the now. That deep clear blue sky against the beautiful deep greens, golds and reds of nature change daily. Before long it will be too cold to play outside.

It’s time to soak up the last warm days lingering from summer, and make hay while the sun still shines. Our kids are growing up and their childhood is passing in the blink of an eye. Let’s create some fun budget friendly memories that will carry us well into the holiday season.

Here are 10 frugal activities that our family enjoys in the fall! Hope they sound like fun for you and your kids too!

1. Tailgating at a High School or College Football Game:

Photo credit: Home Depot
Everyone loves a tailgating party. Gather some friends, some of your favorite game day goodies, and a few lawn chairs for a parking lot picnic before kickoff.

2. Apple Orchard Adventure

Photo credit: Sarah McMinn
Head out to the apple orchard and pick delicious crunchy apples with your kids. Then head into the barn to get your fill of apple cider donuts, cider slushies and pie! This is an annual tradition in our family and my cravings for the apple cider donuts last far beyond the season. Here are a couple of recipes to help you bring the apple orchard fun home:

  • I can’t wait to try ths recipe for Baked Apple Cider Donuts by Sarah McMinn, from My Darling Vegan (formerly, The Sweet life) that I discovered on Pinterest!
  • These Apple Cider Slushies by Cris at goodenessgracious.com look pretty delish as well!

3. Pumpkin Patch

Like the apple orchard, going to the pumpkin patch is always a hit with my kids, big and small. Our pumpkin patch has a great petting zoo, corn maze and a fun kid-friendly haunted hayride. Don’t forget to plan an evening to carve pumpkins with your kids.

  • Don’t forget to take some pictures of your little pumpkins among the pumpkins! Erin, a photographer and blogger at erinterrellclarkson.typepad.com, has some great tips for pumpkin patch photographs!

4. To Hike or Bike; That is the Question

Photo credit: Tina Rupp and countryliving.com
The colors are just yummy this time of year, so why not do both? Go for a hike or bike ride through the woods to take in the beautiful fall colors! Pack a picnic and make it a day. Turn your hike into a treasure hunt and go geocaching.

5. Leaping Into a Luscious Pile of Leaves

Photo credit: kokokokids.ru
We laughed at the sweet innocence of our daughter a few years ago when she asked if we could rake leaves at the forest preserve. Our old house was full of mature trees, and she missed jumping in the pile of leaves. Since our new house only had baby trees, we decided to go rake the leaves at Grandma’s house instead. Grandma loved it and so did we!

  • Check out the cute things you can do with the leaves you collect! KoKoKoKids.ru will surely inspire you with their Fall Leaves Craft Ideas!

6. Plant Fall Bulbs for Fun Next Spring

Getting full permission from mom to play in the dirt is a thrill for most kids. Seeing bulbs you planted many months before poke their way through the ground in the spring and turn into beautiful flowers is too! Head to the garden center and buy a bag (or several bags) of bulbs. It won’t cost you much. Then let the kids help you plant them.You can also let the kids help with fall clean-up, mulching beds, and oiling up summer gardening tools to keep them from rusting, before you pack them away for winter. Someday they’ll have homes of their own, so while they’ll enjoying spending time with you and they’ll be learning lessons that will serve them as grown-ups someday.

7. Visit a Farmer’s Market

Farmer’s markets in the fall are great places to explore all the various produce grown in your region. Buy some varieties you’ve never tried before and fix them for dinner. Try to find a fruit or vegetable for each color of the rainbow.

8. Visit a Zoo

The fall is a great time to visit the zoo! It’s usually not as crowded, the weather is cooler, which also means the less stink in some exhibits, and don’t forget how beautiful the gardens always are in the fall. Our zoo also has “Boo at the Zoo” where kids can come in costume, get their faces painted, etc.

9. Bonfire Cooking

One of our favorite things to do as a family is cook out over an open fire. Grab your pie irons and a grocery bag of fixings and head to the forest preserve, or backyard if you’ve got your own fire pit and cook up some dinner. We have been collecting cast iron pots and pans for the last few years, and love to make chili, mac n cheese, stew, and even baked apples or peach cobbler in the dutch oven for dinner. We also have a tradition of cooking a skillet breakfast of eggs, potatoes, sausage, topped with cheese, and pancakes and bacon on the griddle.

  • Susan Meyers from dailyholidayblog.com has some great Campfire Dessert Recipes you’ll definitely want to try!
  • There are a lot of great campfire cooking hacks in this post by Katie Dillon on the trekaroo.com blog.
  • Mmmm, just writing this is making me hungry! Think we’ll have to try out some of these pie iron recipes tonight.

10. Camping

Warm days, cool nights…fall is the perfect time to camp! There are fewer bugs, it’s not as humid and snuggling up in the tent at night with a book and a flashlight with the kids is so cozy! Our family also plans a canoe trip down the Wisconsin River every fall, camping on the islands at night, and canoeing or kayaking during the day. It’s one of our best family memory makers. If a canoe trip isn’t your style, pitch a tent in the backyard. You’ll still have the convenience of a bathroom and running water close by, but your kids will feel like they’re in the wild!

I hope these ideas give you some inspiration and help your family to enjoy the outdoors this beautiful time of year. If your family has other fun fall activities you love to do, please share them in the comments below.

Thanks for reading and happy fall!
:) Heather

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