Falling temperatures and falling leaves ... hot chocolate and outdoor activities—they're all trademarks of a beautiful autumn. With so many fun seasonal offerings, take your little one on an adventure through the season, starting with these ideas.
Acorns, leaves, something orange, something red ... make a list of fall-themed items, and see if you can hunt them down in your backyard. “A scavenger hunt is a great way to work together, laugh together and enjoy what nature has to offer during the fall.
Rake up mounds of leaves from your yard, and let your toddler jump in the colorful piles. Have him choose favorites, and ask him questions. Can he tell which trees the leaves fell from? Can he point out shapes and colors they have in common?
Take a few leaves back home with you, and create some art. Mom blogger and party planner Desiree Spinner, creator of La Petite Peach, suggests making leaf rubbings by letting kids scribble over the ridges of leaves beneath paper. “Press leaves between two sheets of wax paper and iron together first. They can decorate with crayons. Between parchment paper, they won’t stick.”
Make Bird Feeders
Your toddler will love watching birds come near the house, so lure him in with a little project. “Bird feeder ornaments are fun and easy to make,” says Janes. “All you need is peanut butter, birdseed and pinecones. You simply add a layer of peanut butter to the pinecones and then let your toddler roll them in the birdseed. Hang them outside near a window and enjoy watching the birds together.”
Go to the Petting Farm
Before winter rolls around, pick a nice day and take your toddler to the petting farm. Teach her the names of the animals she sees. Point out key features, like the pig’s flat nose and the horse’s mane. On the way home, see if she can remember what the animals looked like and the sounds they made.
Apples aren’t the only fall flavor or food—although you can certainly whip up apple pie or apple crisp with the fruit you pick. Also consider letting your toddler taste cider, hot chocolate, pumpkin pie, sugar cookies, sweet potatoes, cinnamon sugar, pot pie, squash, caramel, chili, cranberries ... whether a once-in-a-while indulgence or a healthy favorite, fall is a great time to introduce your little one to delicious new flavors, whetting your child’s appetite for all kinds of food.
Explore a Corn Maze
Tap into your child’s puzzle- and problem-solving skills with this fun fall activity. “Take a hayride to a local corn maze,” says Spinner. “The kids will have a blast running around trying to figure out how to get out.”
Have a Family Bonfire
Get mom, dad and all the kids together for a family-bonding bonfire in the backyard. Collect a few great branches before it gets dark, then break out some graham crackers and chocolate as the sun goes down. Make it a friendly competition to see who can roast the best golden marshmallow for their s'more. Help your toddler near the fire, but let him make his own s'more; it'll help introduce him to creating his own treats and
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