by Melissa Jaramillo
Of all the seasons, I enjoy fall the most. It's chilly and the swirling leaves cover the paths and roads. Even coffee shops and restaurants are getting into the spirit of things -- you'll find "pumpkin" and "spiced" on every menu!
You and the kids will want to get right out there and enjoy summer's last fling. Ring in the season with one or more of these fall-themed activities.
Enjoy a wonderful fall walk, stopping to take pictures along the way. You can capture the day later on a scrapbook page or share it with family and friends who weren't able to hike along with you.
Bring a bag so your little ones can collect "awesome items." Most likely they'll pick up special looking leaves, seed pods or weird shaped rocks.
Later, the kids can turn them into fall centerpieces or other works of art.
Gather and identify leaves. You can spray and glue them on a picture frame or create a unique fall collage. Did one of the kids bring home branches? Weave those into a mantle display or arrange them in a vase on a table.
Most of us think of kites in the spring, but the gusty, brisk air makes autumn a great time for launching kites. Buy one from the store, or make your own from two long sticks, strong paper, and string.
If you're lucky enough to have one of those trees that drops an obscene amount of leaves, you're set up to fall back into tradition. Kids for generations have taken part in the annual rite of passage. Hand out the rakes.
It might sound like a boring chore, but once gathered into a pile the fun begins! The next thing you know, you're all leaping into them and tossing them at one another! The only downside -- they may need re-raked.
Dig out an old shirt and overalls. Stuff it with leaves until firm. Add a pumpkin head and a hat. Your new fall decoration can hang out in the yard and greet visitors and later, trick-or-treaters.
Pick some apples. Head out to an orchard that allows you to pick your own. The kids get a lesson in where food comes from and you'll get extras for a pie, applesauce or just munching on through the week.
Visit the pumpkin patch. Skip the display and the store and go straight to the source -- the pumpkin farm.
Cruise the corn maze. Find a farm that turns the corn field into a large maze. Prepare your little ones for roaming through the fun creations with a few mazes on paper. Then, get some fresh air and test your sense of direction out in the field.
Fall activities can brighten a child's senses just like the shorter days and color weather turn the foliage brilliant. What are you looking forward to doing with your kids this season?
Photo courtesy of iStockphoto.