Fall is my very favorite time of the year. We try and cram as many things into the short season as possible, savoring both the beauty and the nice weather before winter begins to encroach on us. We try and do all of these things every year, but we’ve been welcoming new babies during this time of year recently, so sometimes we’ve only gotten to a few of them.
Traditions create such a strong family bond. We believe that building a strong family and family culture is an essential part of raising kids who love the Lord. Traditions are something you can look forward to, plan together, and of course do together that bring you closer as a family. They create something that unifies the family. We started our family with just one tradition: going Christmas tree hunting. With small kids and newborns, it has been hard to always do the few traditions we’ve created, but we feel like we’re missing a part of the season (whatever it is) when we don’t do them. We’ve been trying to incorporate more of them throughout our year as our kids grow older, so we are always looking for more ideas. I hope you find some ideas you incorporate into your own family’s yearly tradition!
We love raking up a big old pile of leaves (we’ve had to go to a park for this before when we didn’t have a yard) and jumping in it over and over. This is a favorite for kids, especially when parents join them in the fun. The bigger the pile, the better.
Our first daughter was born right in the middle of fall, so for her birthday party each year, we turned it almost into a fall party. We include time for fall crafts, homemade apple cider, a bonfire and s’mores, fall themed treats, and our closest family and friends. Once for our fall themed craft we made fall shaped sugar cookies and guests decorated them with fall-colored frosting. I think the adults had more fun than the kids!
I can never decide what my absolute favorite fall tradition is, but this one is a good contender. Our favorite spot offers hay rides through the pumpkin patch, a pumpkin cannon, a corn maze, petting zoo, a two story jungle gym, and activities for young kids. Our favorite is Pinehaven Farm in Wyoming, MN. This year I hope to try out two more I’ve heard good things about, Mommsen’s and The Burch Barn.
We live within a couple hours of a bunch of apple orchards, so this is one of our favorite things. There’s even a wildly popular “AppleFest” in Bayfield, WI that we’ve gone to, but we can’t always make (or feel like dealing with the crowds). If we can’t make the festival, we try to go the orchards and pick apples right from the trees. Afterwards it’s fun to make fall themed treats with them, like caramel drizzled apple slices, apple pie, or apple cinnamon muffins. Our favorite orchard is Erickson’s Orchard, but I’ve heard there are a lot of good ones around the area.
Below is probably one of the least flattering pictures taken of me. The one next to it was taken the same day. That’s the power of angles and a flattering pose, guys.
My family lives in Duluth, Minnesota, where awesome hikes with gorgeous color abound. We love to cram in as many hikes as possible. We usually try and play the Leaf Game (see below) which is a favorite. I like to make a list of hikes I want to do (usually way more than we’re able to do). That way we don’t have to spend time deciding where to go for a hike on days we have time to do one. I also just really enjoy making lists.
Every year we try and take a short family trip to Lutsen (a beautiful MN ski resort with amazing fall color) for a couple of nights. They have a gondola, gorgeous local hikes, and amazing views of Lake Superior. It’s a time of rest where we enjoy time away experiencing the beauty of autumn as a family. It’s one of our favorite things we do each year. This is our favorite resort we always stay at. We go during the week and they usually have a deal for 40% off per night. Our trip is coming up in less than two weeks and we found out that this year they’re keeping the pool and hot tub open year round – I’m SO excited.
We live up north, so we can go just about anywhere to see beautiful color. One of our favorite things to do is go for a scenic drive and marvel at the beautiful fall colors. This is a great activity to do with very young children who can’t hike far.
Homemade Apple Cider
I was never a fan of apple cider until I found the perfect recipe. I found one on Pinterest and tweaked it to make it our own. It’s super simple (and you make it in the crock pot!). I don’t have the recipe made yet to share here, but I will add it! I always save the leftover apples after the cider is done for a version of apple sauce! It’s so good!
Apple cider just feels like fall. Add in a cozy sweater, bonfire with friends and family, some s’mores, and a crisp fall evening and you have yourself the perfect fall experience.
Leaf Catching Game
This one was my husband’s idea. He used to play it with his brothers as a kid in their yard. We find a beautifully wooded spot (usually on a fall hike, but it can be done anywhere with trees around) and compete to see who can catch 10 leaves falling from the trees first. It is hilarious to watch grown adults run around to try and catch a leaf, and then get frustrated when they miss it. This can be done with adults and kids, and is great to do with families of all ages.
This can be done during any of the warm months (or cold, if you’re really into it!), but it’s our favorite to do during the fall. It gets dark early enough for the kids to stay up, the nights are crisp but not too cold, there aren’t any bugs, and the weather is usually nice. Our favorite thing to do when we look at stars is drive to the middle of nowhere and make a bed out of sleeping bags, blankets, and pillows in the bed of our truck. We all crawl in and cuddle close and look up at the stars. It’s so cozy and the kids absolutely love it.
I have big ideas, plans, and expectations for fall, so below are a few others things we haven’t yet gotten to but hope to do as our kids get older:
Make Apple Pie
Make Autumn Deserts
Fall Crafts with Kids
Anyone have a great apple pie recipe? Send it my way. I always want to make fun apple themed deserts and treats, but haven’t yet started. I have a Pinterest board dedicated to it, though! We don’t have a kitchen this fall (see why here), otherwise I would go nuts with baking! When my kids get older I am excited to do fall themed crafts with him. Leaf tracings, leaf collecting, coloring with nature, leaf garland? Yes please!
What are your favorite fall traditions? Leave a comment and tell me below!