Summer weather is coming to a close, and back-to-school routines are already setting in. But don’t fret! The fall season comes with joys and opportunities aplenty. The cooler weather is a great time to introduce kids to new outdoor pursuits and to take in the changing colors… just don’t forget the comfy sweaters!
Here are our top tips and tricks for introducing kids to outdoor fun and keeping them active throughout the season:
Create a routine
Whatever your schedule, a simple routine is a helpful way to let kiddos know that going outside isn’t just about getting from point A to point B. Try taking a short walk in the morning or evening – this is a chance to enjoy fresh air, but it’s also a clear signal that the day is getting started (or finishing up) that children can pick up on. This can help structure your day and is good exercise for everyone. And whether the sun is rising or setting, there’s sure to be colorful leaves to gather along the way!
Make a game of it
Encouraging kids to play outside is a tried-and-true parenting move, and it can be doubly effective when children are given some inspiration. So don’t just send them outside. Instead, send them on a quest!
One great way to help them see the backyard with new eyes is to set up a scavenger hunt. You could hide some toys around the yard to be rescued by little adventurers or lean on Mother Nature for a bit of a lifehack. With an insect-catching kit like the Bug Bungalow in hand, kids can explore familiar nooks and crannies while checking off a list of crawling critters.
(P.S.: When the kids come in, make sure they leave the bugs outside!)
Park out (and bring a picnic!)
Part of what makes outdoor play so fun is the sense of adventure and space it gives children – the freedom to run, explore, and discover. That means sometimes you need something a lil’ bit bigger than a backyard!
For example, you can spend the whole day exploring the features of a local urban park. Larger parks offer wooded trails to walk, and little ones can spy feathery friends in the ponds and streams! The wide-open spaces are also great for playing as a family after a yummy picnic. A game of frisbee with our flying Disc-Oh is just the thing to get everyone moving again!
Hit the trails
Ahh, the great outdoors. We’re talking mountains and forests and… trail mix! Hiking in a national or state park is an outdoor adventure the whole family can enjoy and it’s a wonderful way to get young kids interested in wildlife and the environment.
A few things to remember:
- Pick an all-ages trail.
- Check in with park staff at the trailhead.
- Pack lots of snacks!
Whether you’re hiking a loop or a there-and-back-again trail, you’ll be happy you brought the necessary provisions to keep everyone energized. Of course, it’s also a good idea to bring a few small toys to occupy little hands, but chances are kiddos will be under the spell of the squeaks, creaks, and tweets – the music of the wild! Oh, and one last pro-tip: Everyone likes some candy in their trail mix.
B. sure to take a long rest at the tippy top of the trail and soak in the view. There’s nothing like seeing a valley decked out in fall foliage!
That’s it for the tips and tricks, but now it’s up to you to choose an outdoor adventure for the whole family – and to pick out the cozy sweaters, of course!
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