Top 5 outdoor fall activities for kids

It was chilly and the leaves had turned. The roads were scattered with autumn gold, pumpkins sat on stoops and every restaurant in town had something with “spice” in the names of their daily specials, all written out in chalk on their sandwich boards on the downtown sidewalks.

I saw mothers choosing Halloween costumes, invites for pumpkin carving parties and the corn maze was stuffed to the edges with little ones. We were wearing fleece jackets already.

It was fall, I was expecting my first child in just a month or two, and I absolutely could not wait to do all of the fun fall-themed activities with my child. Out of all the seasons I looked forward to as a mother, fall made the top of the list.

Now that my Rowan is almost three years old, I can safely say that it’s still my favorite time of year as a mother! Here are some of the great outdoor family activities I hope to do this year (and in the years to come) to ring in my favorite season with my kid.

Top 5 Fall Outdoor Activities for Kids

1. Visit a local pumpkin patch.

Our first trip to the pumpkin patch was last year, and at under two years old, Rowan was still just a little bit too young to enjoy it or understand it. We went to a local farm outside of town that had a corn maze, hay rides, and a pumpkin cannon! This year, I’m excited to take him to pick out his first big pumpkin.

2. Apple picking.

There are some great farms and orchards around our area (both in Oregon and Utah) that offer You-Pick hours, pressing demonstrations, cider tastings and fresh juice for purchase. Harvest season is usually from the start of fall until the first frost.

3. Collecting leaves.

Head out into woods (or even just around the neighborhood!) to collect leaves of all shapes and colors, then make fun artwork to hang around the house.

4. Jump in a leaf pile.

This is almost a rite of passage for any child during the fall season. We have a huge tree in our back yard that drops an obscene amount of leaves. I look forward to seeing Rowan jump into the giant pile after they’re raked (and someday, hopefully he’ll do the raking!).

5. Trick-or-Treating.

(Disclaimer: I know that Halloween is something that a lot of families choose not to participate in. But we do, and will continue to do so. To each their own!)

Halloween is a HUGE deal in Salt Lake City! We had to run to the grocery store three times in one night to keep our candy stocked for all of the trick-or-treaters! I really can’t wait for Rowan to pick out his own costume, grab his little plastic pumpkin bowl, and head out around our downtown neighborhood with all the kids to get his share of candy.

And then, I can’t wait to go through his candy when he’s not looking and pick out my favorites.

What are some of your favorite things to do outside during the fall season? What do you plan on doing this year with your kids?


Nish Weiseth is a dreamer, schemer, believer, trouble-maker, rabble-rouser, and the founder of A Deeper Story, a community of misfit believers and storytellers. Nish and her husband, Erik, are outdoor enthusiasts living in the Rogue River valley of southern Oregon in the summers, and the mountains of Salt Lake City, Utah, in the winters. They have two children, Rowan and Scout.

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  1. These are great ideas! I took my daughter to the pumpkin patch last year and she had fun. I am going to take her again next month, and I want to take her apple-picking too! 🙂

  2. The names of their daily specials, all written out in chalk on their sandwich boards on the downtown sidewalks.

  3. I will be taking my little girl to the Arboretum. They have a beautiful pumpkin/fall display that is perfect for running around, taking pictures, and having lots of leaf tumbles.

    • You must be in Dallas! The arboretum in the fall was the main reason I had a yearly pass when we lived there. I truly miss taking my kids, all year long.

  4. Love it! Fall is also my favorite season.

  5. I absolutely love apple picking and look forward to it every year. The kids love to take hay rides, and I love getting so many apples for such a good price…and then spending several days in the kitchen preserving said apples 🙂 The fall is also fair season here, and we try to go to all the agricultural fairs in our area. The chance to see the animals and crafts that people do are so much fun, and almost always give us ideas of our own – which might be why we now have chickens 🙂

  6. Our daughter will be three at the end of this month and she’s asking all about fall. We got some books from the library about fall and she’s ready to go pick out a pumpkin and jump in piles of leaves. Me too!

  7. Don’t forget puddle jumping on rainy days! My kids use to get a big kick out of watching their mother in her flower printed rubber boots make big splashes in fall puddles with them till she and them were soaked and we all went home to dry off and warm up by cuddling up under blankets on the couch together and reading a good book.

  8. I LOVE fall! We do the pumpkin patch, lots of apple goodness (crisp, pie, etc), playing in the leaves, etc!

  9. Thanks for the reminder!! We have both a pumpkin patch and an apple orchard fairly near our home (within about 30 mins, driving). And we live out in the country, so our home is not convenient for trick-or-treaters, which has worked out great for us because neither parent has to stay home to pass out candy, and Trick-or-Treating can be a fun family outing.

  10. Love apple picking in the fall – usually we bike over to a local orchard so we can get some extra exercise in. And there’s our family’s unique fall tradition – seeing who can catch the first falling leaf. I write about how to create a whole fun family fitness experience out of it here:

  11. These are classic ideas! We have done all of them except the apple picking. I thought there were no places to do that in my area, but after seeing your post I found out there IS a farm not too far away! Also, every Fall we go for a walk in the “woods” (a green space near my house with a path through it) to observe the changes and pick up leaves from the ground to make crafts with. We talk about the season and notice when the geese start flying south. I’m not a fan of winter that is coming up next, but I am with you about fall- LOVE it!

  12. We love acorn collecting and pine cones for fall crafting. And as the days get shorter, I’d like to try doing dipped bees wax candles with my little ones. (I know some are harvesting honey and the holiday table and advent wreath would look extra special with some homemade candles.) My children are a little older though, almost 5 and 6.
    We also love baking…pies, tarts, and quiches with fruits and veggies from the fall harvest are our favorite!

  13. Love fall! Although its still warm in the Carolinas. I’m looking forward to letting my daughter help make several batches of my grandmother’s pumpkin bread recipe for friends and neighbors.

  14. So funny! I just posted five of my favorite fall activities yesterday! And several of yours were also on my list!

  15. “to each his own.” i love that!!

    this is my check off list every fall! great picks!!

  16. Great ideas! I love LOVE fall. I always have and I love it even more now that I’m a mother. There are just so many fun things for little ones to do in the fall. We are going apple picking this weekend and will go pumpkin picking closer to Halloween when they start the hayrides at the local farm we like to visit. So fun!

  17. We’re going to make a scarecrow for the front bench and stuff it with the leaves we’ve raked up in the yard.

  18. Fall is our favorite season too!! I don’t know if it’s because in Phoenix the summer is so brutal and we are indoors far too much, and with fall comes the cooler refreshing weather, or if its because of my two years spent in New York where I fell in love with the fall colors. I used to be a kindergarten and 2nd grade teacher before my oldest son was born, who is now six, so I go a little overboard with themes in our house! September is apple month, I got a bunch of apple themed books from the library and got them out on September first. This weekend we’re traveling to Tucson to go to an apple orchard, and the next couple of weeks we will make all kinds of apple stuff, like apple pie, caramel apples, apple cider, and applesauce! Next month is pumpkins and fall leaves. We’ll go to a pumpkin patch and travel to Flagstaff and Sedona to see and collect fall leaves. We read fall and pumpkin books, make fall/pumpkin treats, and crafts. In November it continues, but we add in Thankfulness for Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving culminates our fall and then we move into Christmas. Yay for fall, the best time of year!!! I’m hoping that some year my kids will get to jump in a pile of leaves somewhere since here in Phoenix we don’t actually have enough leaves falling on the ground. Maybe we just need to get some different trees! 🙂

  19. We love to do apple picking every year – it has become a tradition for us. There is nothing better than a juicy, crisp apple fresh off of the tree.

  20. Lynda @ Rhody Reader says:

    Fall is definitely a favorite for us, too. We go to a local farm through the summer and fall for pick-your-own. We were really excited this year to notice that the pumpkin field was just dirt during strawberry picking, then had green leaves and flowers during our early blueberry picking, and at our last blueberry picking there were small pumpkins–some green and some already orange. That added some fun to our visits…AND I have some awesome time-lapsed pictures of little guy in the pumpkin patch!

  21. Really it’s a funny and interesting article. I like it very much because I’ve a vegetable’s farm. I’m enjoying it.

  22. We went apple picking last year, and we will go to Apple Hill again this year. I think we need to go to pumpkin patch this year. I’ve just been avoiding the crowds. I just love fall for more hot teas, cider and layered clothing.

  23. We love collecting leaves, too, then preserve them by ironing them between sheets of waxed paper and hanging them in our windows.

  24. Donna Spears says:

    Apple picking is one of my favorites and my boys also loves that.
    Maybe by the end of this month, I could bring them to one of the apple farms in our town.

  25. I love to go apple and pumpkin picking in the fall. It’s one of my favorite things to do in the fall. Plus Apple Cider Donuts are delicious!

  26. Harvest season is usually from the start of fall until the first frost.

  27. Huh, how did I not know you were in Utah? Aaaannnyway, where do you go for apple-picking/cider-tasting in the Salt Lake area? I would love to take my boy this year.

  28. The names of their daily specials, all written out in chalk on their sandwich boards on the downtown sidewalks.

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