Family Friendly Ways to Celebrate Autumn Outside

by Heather Kallevig

Fall Outdoor Activities - Celebrate Autumn


Multi-colored leaves, caramel, cloudy skies, apple cinnamon, flannel, hot cocoa, caramel, and pumpkins.  These are all words that draw distinct memories of Autumn.  The weather starts to turn, and a chill frosts the air.  The flora gives its final brilliant flourish before the deep sleep of winter.  The cuisine celebrates the successful harvest of another year’s labors.  Not to mention the opportunity to begin wearing cozy fabrics – flannel, fleece, and wool.  Fall is also a time for celebration including harvest festivals, holiday events, and family vacations.  To commemorate this season, I like to think of fun and unique ways to get outdoors, often piggy-backing on my regular activities.  Today, I give you four family friendly ways to get out with a goal for celebrating Autumn.

  1. Leaf Hunt
Family Friendly Autumn Activities


Take a fresh spin on your regular walks and give this one a purpose – collecting the most beautiful leaves.  This is fun with a family member or friend, but it can be equally enjoyable solo.  The purpose of this activity is to gather the most beautiful leaves you can find… on the ground.  Ideally they should have fallen recently so they’re not too brittle which makes them fragile.  See how many beautiful leaves you can find, bring them together and pick your absolute favorites to share and admire.

You can end the activity here, or you can choose to bring a few home for decor and crafts.  There are many things you can do with leaves.  Ideally you want to carefully dry and press them first in a heavy book so they maintain their shape.  After a few weeks, you can use them for different projects.  You can glue them to cardstock to make a unique and beautiful card.  You can paste them on a background and place them in a picture frame for seasonal decor.  You can dip them in glycerine or resin, making them hard enough to use as ornaments.  There are many wonderful ideas to explore for capturing your beautiful finds for long-term fun.

  1.  Fall Foliage Fotos
Fall outdoor activities - celebrate autumn


This is another activity that is fun as a group or individually.  When a beautiful fall day comes your way, take out your camera, and make your sole purpose to capture defining photos of Fall.  Take pictures of the leaves, the undergrowth, the birds passing through on migration.  Maybe you’d like images of people’s unique decorations or a collage of your neighborhoods jack-o-lanterns!  You can choose your subject before you begin, or simply let the project progress organically.  When you’re done, go through your photos, and enjoy the effect.  You may even want to print your photos or set them to music in a short film you can share and treasure.

  1.  Watch a local high school sport

Though you may not know anybody on the team, fall is a great time of year to get outdoors and watch an sporting event, be it football or cross country running.  You can enjoy the smell of the popcorn, the energy of the athletes and spectators, and the brilliance of spending the day outside in the fall air.  You may only have time to visit one event, or you may decide to become a volunteer.  Sports, especially cross country, require many volunteers to set up, run the event, direct spectators, and cleanup after.  You may end up finding a fun and fulfilling weekly activity!

  1.  Visit the Farmer’s Market

Portland Farmer's MarketAutumn is the best time of year to visit the farmer’s market and celebrate harvest time.  The last few weeks of August, September, and early October are the best time to enjoy your area’s local bounty.  This is when crops will have matured and tables abound with colorful arrays of peppers, pumpkins, fruit, and unusual colors and shapes of squash.  You can also find a variety of crafts and baked goods!  You know the food is likely to be more fresh, clean, and healthy than what you’ll find in most grocery stores.  So when possible do your autumn grocery shopping at your local market!  Often there is more than one market per week, so ask around and find your Wednesday, Saturday, and sometimes even Sunday markets.

One great way to enjoy your local market is by challenging yourself to try something new each week.  Whether you try a Japanese Eggplant, a rutabaga, a snow apple, or an unfamiliar type of bread it’s a great way to try unusual foods and spice up your weekend meal with novel goods!

Get Outdoors and Enjoy Autumn

One of the best ways to enjoy autumn is to appreciate the unique combination of peace and brilliance created by a world lush with color, seasonal rains, and preparation for a long winter’s sleep.  Whether you get outdoors with a distinct purpose or to simply enjoy the scenery around you, take time to appreciate the unique treasures of fall.  If you wait too long, like the flurry of a leaf falling from a tree, the season will have passed and winter will arrive.

Cook Inlet Foliage- celebrate Autumn


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