Family Fun for Fall ...Great for the Traveler

Family Fun for Fall
...Great for the Traveler

No matter where you are, heading out into nature is a great way to soak up this colorful season and enjoy the outdoors before cold weather sets in. A walk in the woods, fields or even the park, gives kids an opportunity to witness the changing landscape up close. It's also a great way to come together after a busy school and workweek or even if you're visiting Maryland during this beautiful time of year.
Don't worry, you don't need special equipment for an afternoon outing--just some lightweight jackets, couple bottles of water and snacks. Kids may also enjoy bringing along journals and crayons for recording their findings and making leaf rubbings, and small paper bags for storing treasures found along the way. When the outing is complete for the day, kids can use their finds as craft materials. They can string acorns and seed pods for seed necklaces, create lasting impressions with fossils and clay coasters, make whimsical stick hats or use gathered leaves to print colorful autumn place mats.
A trip to a local apple orchard is another fun outdoor activity and offers families a chance to participate in the fall harvest. Some farms offer horse-drawn wagon rides, making the excursion a real adventure for kids. Pack a picnic and you can make a day of it.
Collect extra apples for craft projects. Cut apples in half to create an apple-stamp bag, dry a few for funny-faced apple dolls and sour puss puppets or carve a set of candleholders. Whatever you choose to make sure to save enough to make a delicious apple pie. Even after making all these things, you may have leftover fruit--just wrap in newspaper and store in a cool, dry place.
Like many of us, you may have a yard full of leaf-dumping trees. If so, there are plenty of ways to play away an autumn day while getting the chores done...
* Walk a leafy labyrinth. When leaves cover the lawn, rake a twisting pathway through them.
* Find a lollipop. Hide a wrapped lollipop under a leaf pile. The first one to find it keeps it.
* Stuff a scarecrow. Break out an old shirt and overalls and stuff until firm. Complete with a pumpkin head or head made from a stuffed brown paper bag.
* Make a sun catcher. Using a low setting, iron a leaf between two pieces of waxed paper with a sheet of plain paper on top. Hang in a sunny window.
* Preserve a leaf. Bring a mixture of 2 parts water and 1 part glycerin (available in most pharmacies) to a boil in a saucepan (adults only). Pour the solution into a heatproof container. Drop in a few brightly-colored leaves and gently submerge with a wooden spoon. Keep the container in a cool, dark place until there is a slight change in the leaves' tints. Then remove them and blot dry with a paper towel. Instead of turning brown and crumbly, the leaves will retain their brilliant hues.
* Play name that leaf. On one of your neighborhood walks, collect five unusual leaves. When you return home, take turns identifying the trees they came from using tree/leaf guidebooks.
* Rake the crispy leaves into a huge pile and jump in!
As you can see, no matter where you are...there's always something fun and creative to do on an autumn day!