With cooler air and leaves falling from the trees, it is easy to get sad about summer's end. However, if you keep the fun going with the kids, autumn can be the best time of year! From fall holidays to nature hikes to creating things with fall in mind, there are all sorts of great ways to spend the season. These are also great things to do while the kids are just starting school, because it helps them take a break from all that schoolwork that is already piling up.

Creative Crafts

As the days get rainier, it's not always possible to spend as much time outside in the fall as you might like. If you find yourselves stuck indoors on a rainy weekend, doing crafts with the kids is a great way to kill time and foster creativity. Crafts are also great activities because you can usually do them with stuff you already have in the house or for a minimal cost. The next time you are outside, try collecting some interesting leaves that fall on the ground. Glue the leaves to a piece of paper and have the kids draw something around the leaves, turning them into animals or people or other funny pictures. You can also do leaf rubs on days you can go outside. Put a leaf on a hard surface, cover it with paper, and rub over it with a crayon. If you do this several times with many different colors, you can have your own leaf collection to hang on the wall.

Fall Colors

The best part of fall is the awesome colors the leaves turn. Find fall colors hikes in your area and take the kids to see autumn in action. Be sure to take lots of pictures! These make great Christmas card images to share with the rest of the family. You can find when to see the fall colors at their peak in your area by doing a simple internet search. In the Midwest, especially, people track fall colors and report back as to when the best time to see the leaves turn is. Of course, at any time during the fall, it's a great idea to visit your local state park or forest preserve. Hiking in the fall is great because the air is cooler so you can hike farther and longer. Next time, try bringing a picnic of great fall goodies, too.

Recipes for Autumn

Personally, I love everything made with pumpkin, which makes fall my absolute favorite time of year because that's when the pumpkin flavored goodies come into stores. Making pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins, and pumpkin bars are all great ideas to bring home the autumn spirit. Apples are also in season, so apple pie, apple tarts, and caramel apples are also great ways to celebrate the season. Let the kids have their friends over and do a caramel apple bar. Get plenty of red and green apples and stick popsicle sticks into the center of them. Then, grab some caramel apple dip from the grocery store that you can heat up in the microwave. Let the kids dip their own apples, and provide lots of condiments like peanuts, M&Ms, or sprinkles that they can stick into the caramel. Yummy!

Decorating for the Holidays

Halloween and Thanksgiving are two of the best holidays to decorate for, so get the kids involved and get into the spirit. Design a spooky yard for Halloween and have the kids help put up all the decorations outside. For Thanksgiving, help the kids create centerpieces for the big meal that reflect what they are thankful for.