Put down the remote control and get ready for some serious fall fun with your family:
* Go for a nature walk! Collect leaves, small twigs, nuts, colorful rocks and other items to decorate for fall.
* Decorate a wooden or papier-mâché picture frame with found treasures from your nature walk.
* Practice letter and number recognition with a leaf hunt. Trace and cut leaf or pumpkin shapes from orange construction paper. Make 26 shapes, one for each letter of the alphabet. Write a letter in uppercase on one side, and its lowercase match on the opposite side.
Place the leaves in various places around a room: propped against pictures, on bookshelves, windows, etc. Make different games: Call out random letters and ask your child to find them; cut out pictures from magazines and ask the children to find the letters that spell that word.
This game can be adapted for any season or holiday. For instance, use hearts for Valentine’s Day, clovers for St. Patrick’s Day, and so on.
* Collect coats, warm clothing, blankets, and food items to donate to homeless shelters and emergency relief shelters. Winter is right around the corner, making this a much- welcomed and appreciated gesture.
* Make leaf pictures. Draw an autumn scene on a piece of construction paper. Outline your picture with glue and sprinkle crushed leaves on top to decorate.
* Load the family into the car and visit a pumpkin patch! Spend time choosing just the right pumpkins: different shapes and sizes, some for carving, and some for painting.
* Fill the house with pumpkin heads! Decorate miniature pumpkins with paint, markers, glue, googly eyes, and yarn for hair. Anything goes!
* Make feeders for squirrels and birds. Make simple pine cone feeders by spreading a mixture of suet and birdseed onto a pine cone. Tie a piece of string to the cone and suspend it from a low tree branch. To avoid needing squirrel and bat removal services, always have the seeder attached to a tree instead of hanging it from a hook on your patio or roof. For a different type of feeder, fill a small wicker basket with nuts, seeds and corn feed, and attach it to a tree in your yard.
Written by Deborah Shelton.