It is essential to keep our children active; physically, mentally, and socially. While fall is jam-packed with school-related events, shorter days and lower temperatures tend to drive some kids inside, glued to their electronic gadgets; but this can be detrimental to their emotional and physical well-being. By offering ideas, we can encourage our children to participate in and discover interests that will keep them active. So the next time you hear the words “I’m bored!” or see your children in front of the television, suggest something more active (and interactive) for them to do too.
With its comfortable temperatures and beautiful foliage, autumn is a great time for getting outdoors, appreciating nature, and enjoying some physical exercise.
- A family camping vacation is a great way to introduce children to nature. Starry nights, animal noises, crickets, and campfire activities will captivate youngsters of all ages. Even just camping in the backyard can be an exciting adventure for children.
- A family bike ride exploring nearby trails will give children the practice and confidence they need to ride on their own.
- Making art is an important form of expression accessible to all. Give your children a sketch pad and guide them to observe and draw what they see.
- Fall leaves are enormous fun for kids of all ages. The earthy fragrance of fall emanates from leaves whether raking them, walking through them, or jumping in them. Make a big pile of leaves available to your kids and take photos.
- If you have dogs, bring them on a long nature hike, and take turns holding the leash.
- Gardening. Peas, garlic, and leafy greens can be planted in the fall. If you have a farm nearby, see if you can help with the fall harvest. Digging carrots and potatoes is dirty and energetic work that most children will relish.
Acts of kindness
Amid your child’s preparations for the new year, remind them that kindness matters. Consider participating in some kind of community service as a family and encourage your child to do likewise. You’ll teach them some essential life lessons that they might never learn in their regular school courses. There are many ways to promote acts of kindness:
- Participate in fundraising events for charity. Many churches and organizations offer such opportunities regularly, so just be on the lookout for one that suits your schedule.
- Volunteer to walk a neighbor’s dog if that person works long hours or can’t walk the dog himself.
- Offer a night of free babysitting to someone who can use the break.
- Volunteer in a community effort for your local food pantry.
- Do some yard work or other small job for a neighbor who could use a hand.
Fun with friends
The importance of peer relationships cannot be overstated. Here are some great activities that can help your children to make new friends outside of school:
- Host a harvest celebration. A potluck dinner with seasonal dishes is a great way to bring families together. With any luck, it can become a tradition.
- Hold an overnight movie marathon. Choose some family-friendly movies that are both wholesome and inspiring, and let the kids make the popcorn.
- Participate in a sporting event at school. Even if your kids don’t play, you can go as a family to support your school team.
- Encourage your child to participate in a school club or to invite a friend to join one that they are already involved in.
Doing things as a team is always valuable quality time for a family. Create memories completing a project, and be on the lookout for further opportunities.
- Stuff a scarecrow. Whether you have a garden or not, a scarecrow is a fun fall decoration, and even more fun to build.
- Carve a pumpkin and roast the seeds. With Halloween just around the corner, your kids may want to carve pumpkins. Let your children design a jack-o-lantern, and help them with the surgery. In the meantime, you can roast the seeds for a healthy snack.
- Organize a garage sale. A change of seasons is always a good opportunity to shed baggage. Encourage your children to find some things they can let go of and make it a small business endeavor.
- Collect and paint pinecones. Send the kids out to collect pine cones, and then do some creative decorating. Quite beautiful by themselves; with a little imagination, pine cones can become exquisite ornaments, charming centerpieces or adorable animals in no time.
Discover and develop life skills
Anytime is a good time to evaluate your children’s life skills. Is there anything your child needs to learn about household responsibilities? Is your adolescent in need of financial training in money matters? Consider the skills they will need when they’re on their own and take time to assist them in becoming a bit more self-sufficient.
- Start or update a checking account.
- Make a favorite family recipe together.
- Help your child build a website.
- Encourage your children to start a small business.
- To foster the healthy habit of reading, join (or start) a book club, or visit the local library and discover a new favorite author.
Making time for your family is a crucial aspect of health and happiness … as the truism goes … “families who play together, stay together!”