There is no doubt that fall is a particularly loved season. The changes in scenery, and cooler weather, bring a sense of newness to our lives and families. Fall invites us to reset, try something new or experience something different.
“As young kids, we learned that the fall is filled with new people, places and opportunities. It’s when we got all of our new school supplies and we’re excited to dive into new activities. That association stays with us into adulthood,” says Ronit Levy, the director of Bucks County Anxiety Center. “There is a feeling of excitement and promise in the air.”
As your family enters this new season, you are probably looking for new ways to spend time together and enjoy the shifting seasons. Here are three unique ideas to get you started:
1. Rake a neighbor’s leaves
Raking leaves doesn’t have to be a chore. My family always spent time together raking large piles and jumping into the crunchy leaves.
This fall, consider taking this fall task to a more exciting level by raking your neighbor’s leaves. Not only will this give you the opportunity to strengthen family ties, but neighborhood ties as well. Remember, volunteering as a family has several benefits. Regular wholesome and recreational activities are part of what bonds your family together.
In an article published by the Pears Foundation, Jo Stuart reviewed academic articles and practice documents from the U.K. and elsewhere to explore the link between family and volunteering.
Stuart writes, “The small number of studies exploring the impacts of family volunteering suggests that it can help family members to spend quality time with one another and bring families closer together. The sense that family members are achieving something together and the sharing of experiences through volunteering are highlighted as important.”
2. Nature bingo
Nature in the fall is unique. Acorns are starting to fall, leaves are changing and nature itself is transforming. This provides an excellent opportunity to create a bingo game that can only be played during this season.
There are two different ways to play fall bingo. In one variation you can create more of a scavenger hunt, in which your family goes out in the neighborhood, or a designated area, in search of fall items. The first person to find five items that create a row on the bingo board wins.
You can find templates available online, or build your own bingo board according to your specific surroundings. Be sure to set house rules to keep your family in the same safe vicinity.
Another way to play fall-nature bingo is more similar to traditional bingo. Again, you will need a board with fall-themed items randomized in boxes. Then, print out cards with one per item on the bingo board. Designate one person who will read one card at a time. The first person to have five in a row on their board wins.
Blogger Michele Tripple created a new fall bingo board this year. The printables include illustrations of fall items such as squirrels, pie, pumpkins and a rake. She has some additional variations and suggestions for fall bingo, including prize ideas.
3. Pumpkin volcano
Carving pumpkins is a classic family activity everyone enjoys. However, if you are looking for something new to do with your pumpkins, consider making a pumpkin volcano. This activity can also double as a sensory science experiment.
There are many variations of this experiment online. According to the blog Little Bins for Little Hands, all you need is a small hollow pumpkin, baking soda, vinegar, water and dish soap. You can also experiment with food coloring.
Place the hollow pumpkin in a dish that can contain the liquid that will overflow from the pumpkin. Add warm water, mixed with food coloring, into the pumpkin until it is three-fourth full. Add 4-5 drops of dish soap and a few tablespoons of baking soda. Once you’re ready for the eruption, add one-fourth cup of vinegar.
According to the blog, “The baking soda is a base and the vinegar is an acid. When they combine a chemical reaction takes place and a gas is produced. The gas is carbon dioxide which fizzes and bubbles.”
Time together with family is never wasted
Participating in these, and other, family activities will strengthen your relationships.
In a recent MomJunction article, Sanjana Lagudu reviewed the importance of family time for couples and children alike. Lagudu explained the negative consequences of not spending time together, such as behavior challenges, withdrawal and the development of technological dependance.
Conversely, spending time together as a family brings about many positive outcomes. Families and individuals experience increased happiness the more they spend time together. The time together can cultivate a loving environment and raise self esteem.
“Today, when most people are running behind worldly things, the importance of family relationships has taken a backseat,” Lagudu explains. “However, ignoring spending time with family may have adverse effects on people. You may someday regret the missed time and yearn for the company of your loved ones. So, understand the importance of family time and make it your priority in life.”