We have entered our second week of November. Which means stores have already ditched the fall season and shuffled Christmas into its place. Between school, sports, and Halloween costumes, our family nearly skipped autumn entirely. But I love fall. It’s calm. It’s colorful. It’s unique. I refuse to let it slip past without taking a few moments to enjoy this season.

Fortunately, we live in an area that stays warm, so we can still enjoy the outdoors. But there are plenty of ways to celebrate autumn inside as well. Here are a few ideas to help your family embrace the season before it’s too late.

Get Outside

  • Go for a hike or bike ride. Find an area that will display the best of Fall’s foliage, scents, and sounds then immerse yourself.
  • Collect a bit of the beauty. Give your kids a bag or wrap masking tape inside out around their wrists so that they can save any treasures they find.
  • Play nature’s scavenger hunt. Search for as many different kinds of leaves, seeds, nuts as you can find. Or look for leaves in every fall color.
  • Go traditional. Charlie Brown has solidified the leaf pile jump into an autumn icon. Have you tried it? It’s so much fun! Kids get really creative in a sea of foliage. (A word of warning, though, if any of you suffer from allergies, you’re going to want to medicate first.) Don’t forget the traditional apple picking outing as well.
  • Play the day away. It’s football season. Chances are, someone in your household follows the games. Get the whole family involved by moving the game outside. Go play some football, kick it as hard as you can (non-Charlie Brown style), or just pass the ball to each other.

Can’t go outside? That’s okay. Stay in!

  • Bring Fall indoors.  If you had a chance to take a walk outside before the weather chased you in, use your collection to create garlands, mobiles, or centerpieces. Use a crayon and blank paper to create leaf rubbings.  Or help those poor birds stuck out in the cold with a homemade bird feeder. The internet is packed with ideas for seasonal crafts. Once you start, your kids might not be able to stop!
  • Spend some time in the kitchen. I’ll be honest and tell you that I’m not usually anxious for my kids to jump in when I’m making dinner.  But when we plan ahead, all of us can have a good time contributing to a dish. The perfect Fall option would be soup. You can put just about any veggies into some broth, spice it up, and simmer yourself to a delicious meal. My kids love to help create a new recipe with their own favorites that they have prepared.
  • Cozy up with a good book. Head to the library or bookstore and stock up. Then, head home, heat yourselves up a nice cup of hot chocolate, wrap yourself in blankets, and hold a read-a-thon! Even the most reluctant reader will be inspired when everyone is reading.
  • Play paper football. Can’t go outside to scrimmage? Play the old high school favorite Paper Football. Back in my day, the whole game consisted of a small triangular “football” and a friend making “goal posts” with their thumbs and index fingers. Now, I was able to find actual rules and game boards on the Internet. I guess it depends on how fancy you want to get.

Don’t forget our veterans!

It’s Veteran’s Day today, s0 use the opportunity to say thanks.

  • Visit with a veteran. We probably all know someone who has served in the military. Take time to call or visit with them and ask questions about their experiences. Listening to their memories shows respect and honor.
  • Send something to our active or wounded troops. Have your kids write notes and draw pictures to send through any number of organizations. This is the perfect time to send Christmas cards, so they have time to be processed and sent before the holiday. There are also organizations that send donated books and movies requested by soldiers overseas as well as collect donations for the people in areas where troops are stations. This post “Support Our Troops” lists many organizations and what they do.

Whatever activities you choose, I challenge you to embrace the calm before the hectic holiday season launches. At the very least, give yourself a moment to take a deep breath and reflect on the beauty of Fall.