There is no doubt that autumn is a particularly popular season. Changes in scenery and cooler weather bring a sense of newness to our lives and our families. Fall invites us to reset, try something new, or experience something different.
“As young children, we learned that fall is filled with new people, places, and opportunities. This is when we received all our new school supplies and are excited to embark on new activities. This association stays with us into adulthood,” says Ronit Levy, director of the Bucks County Anxiety Center. “There is a sense of excitement and promise in the air.”
As your family enters this new season, you’re probably looking for new ways to spend time together and enjoy the changing 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 has always spent time together raking big piles and jumping through crunchy leaves.
This fall, consider taking that fall chore to a more exciting level by raking your neighbor’s leaves. Not only will this give you the opportunity to strengthen family ties, but also neighborhood ties. Don’t forget that volunteering as a family has several advantages. Regular healthy and recreational activities are part of what unites your family.
In an article published by the Pears FoundationJo Stuart reviewed academic articles and practice documents from the UK and beyond to explore the link between family and volunteering.
Stuart writes, “The small number of studies exploring the impacts of family volunteering suggest that it can help family members spend quality time with each other and bring families together. The feeling that family members are accomplishing something together and sharing experiences through volunteering are highlighted as important.
2. Nature Bingo
Nature in the fall is unique. Acorns begin to fall, leaves change, and nature itself transforms. This provides a great opportunity to create a bingo game that can only be played during this season.
There are two different ways to play fall bingo. Alternatively, you can create more of a scavenger hunt, where your family goes around the neighborhood, or a designated area, in search of fall items. The first person to find five items that create a line on the bingo board wins.
You can find templates available online or create your own bingo board to suit your specific environment. Be sure to establish house rules to keep your family in the same safe neighborhood.
Another way to play fall bingo is closer to traditional bingo. Again, you’ll need a board with randomized fall-themed items in boxes. Then print cards with one per item on the bingo board. Designate one person to read one card at a time. The first person to have five in a row on their board wins.
Blogger Michele Triple created a new fall bingo board this year. Printables include illustrations of fall items such as squirrels, pies, pumpkins, and a rake. She has a few more variations and suggestions for fall bingo, including prize ideas.
3. Pumpkin Volcano
Pumpkin carving is a classic family activity that everyone enjoys. However, if you’re looking for something new to do with your pumpkins, consider creating a pumpkin volcano. This activity can also be used as a sensory science experiment.
There are many variations of this online experience. 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 hold the liquid that will spill out of the pumpkin. Add warm water, mixed with food coloring, into the pumpkin until it is three-quarters full. Add 4-5 drops of dish soap and a few tablespoons of baking soda. Once you’re ready for the eruption, add a quarter cup of vinegar.
According to the blog, “Baking soda is a base and vinegar is an acid. When they combine, a chemical reaction occurs and a gas is produced. The gas is carbon dioxide that fizzes and bubbles.
Family time 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. Lagudu explained the negative consequences of not spending time together, such as behavioral issues, withdrawal, and developing tech addiction.
Conversely, spending time together as a family has many positive outcomes. Families and individuals experience increased happiness as they spend time together. Time spent together can cultivate a loving environment and increase self-esteem.
“Today, when most people run behind the things of the world, the importance of family relationships has taken a back seat,” says Lagudu. “However, ignoring spending time with family can have detrimental effects on people. You may one day regret wasting time and yearn for the company of your loved ones. So understand the importance of family time and make it your priority in life.