Though summer doesn’t technically end until late September, for most of us, the start of the school year signifies the end of summer and the fun, carefree days that come along with it (well, at least in theory). And while it’s natural to be bummed about summer coming to a close, I’m here to tell you there’s really no need to be.
Even if you’re not the leaf peeping, pumpkin spice latte-sipping type who goes gaga over all things autumn, you can still enjoy a host of fun, kid-friendly fall activities that tie in perfectly to the upcoming holidays. Here are three of my favorites:
1. Apple Picking
Apple picking can be tricky to coordinate with Rosh Hashanah. When the holiday falls earlier in the year, it often precedes the prime apple picking season (at least in the NY-NJ region), which means I’m stuck using store-bought apples for all of my Rosh Hashanah baking. But this year, the timing is perfect for Rosh Hashanah.
If you take your kids apple picking in mid-to-late September, you’ll have a ton of varieties to choose from, and if you store your apples in the fridge, they should stay nice and crisp for at least a couple of weeks from when you first pick them.
As the holiday gets closer, you can invite your kids to take part in whatever apple-centric baking you happen to do for the holidays. Not a baker? Those apples will still come in handy sliced up alongside a nice jar of honey.
2. Pumpkin Picking
Pumpkin picking usually starts at the very end of September or early October, and this year, you’ve got a great opportunity to take your kids on a Sukkot-themed excursion. Find a local farm that offers pumpkin and gourd picking, and let your little ones choose a fresh batch of sukkah decorations.
While most small gourds (the type that can actually fit in the palm of your hand) are decorative more so than functional for cooking, if you pick up some sugar pumpkins, you’ll have an opportunity to whip up some fresh sweet and savory dishes to enjoy in your sukkah. And in case you’ve never cooked with pumpkin before, here are a few tips and recipes to help you get started.
As far as I’m concerned, there’s no better time to go hiking than in the fall. Not only is the weather cool and crisp, but the natural scenery you get when the leaves finally change colors is nothing short of breathtaking. But more so than that, there’s something about being in nature that inspires us to be more thoughtful, and I think that’s a sentiment we can pass along to our children. At a time of the year when we’re supposed to be thinking about how to improve ourselves and avoid the transgressions we’ve committed in the past, hiking is a great way to not only entertain your kids and expose them to some beautiful scenery, but allow for a healthy dose of contemplation. Best of all, some trails have streams or other sources of running water, which makes for the perfect tashlich opportunity along the way.
Even though fall is hands down my favorite season of the year, saying goodbye to summer is still a little bittersweet for me. But having a bunch of kid-friendly activities to look forward to definitely gives me even more reason to get excited for autumn.
What are some of your favorite fall activities to do with your kids?