Fun Fall Activities Without Apples or Pumpkins

I recently teamed up with Patch.com, an online source for local knowledge and news, as a Local Voice for the Brighton, Mich. area.  I’m excited to share my Tiny Mitten Secrets on a local level, as well as discover new inspirations through the venue.

In my inaugural post, Fall Beyond Pumpkins & Apples, I outlined five fall family activities that don’t include pumpkins or apples. Not that I don’t enjoy the two, but I believe there’s much more to experience. Check it out if your nearby, or just to follow me there as well. But, here’s a bit from my post:

Fall in Michigan is a reminder of the Mitt’s beauty and abilities.  A reason we tolerate the bitter winters and humid summers. Crisp air warmed with the escaping summer sun. Vibrant apple reds and bumblebee yellows painting the leaves. Pumpkin pies & warm cider.

To many, fall usually means pumpkin patches, apple orchards & cider mills. To me, it means keeping my fanatically curious two-year-old Jack satisfied with new activities. We’ve maxed the apples and cider, which the two of us can’t drink anyway (See No More Cider). It’s time to get creative.

Since not everyone lives in my cozy community of Brighton, here’s five activities that can be practiced anywhere:

1. Take a Nature Walk: Visit your local recreation area, park or nearest woods with trails for endless explorations. I created a Nature Walk Sorting Basket for Jack to collect autumn’s treasures. By filling a plastic pale with small paper cups, Jack was able to sort and stash his desirable findings. A shoebox or similar would do the trick too. The activity kept our walk short & sweet with his toddler obsession to gather & sort.

2. Visit the Farm: Every community has a petting farm. Well at least in the Midwest, I’m sure. For Jack, a visit to any zoo or farm is like Christmas morning. We frequent Kensington Metropark’s Farm on a regular basis. Now 34 weeks pregnant, I’m thanking the stars for the cool air.

3. Play a Game of… Football, Soccer or Disc Golf: In college, Justin and I frequented the disc golf course on a weekly basis. If you’re unfamiliar with disc golf it’s a hippy-style sport where players attempt to throw a mini-sized Frisbee (disc) into a hole (chained basket). Very similar to actual golf. But today, Justin and I aren’t as luck to hit up the course. Jobs. Kids. House. Dogs. We’re even minutes away from a very nice course.

But who said just because we have a toddler we couldn’t still enjoy a game. I know Jack would enjoy throwing a disc around. Most courses are located in woodsy-scenic areas. Perfect for nature discoveries. Better bring our Nature Basket.

If you’re not into discin,’ a game of family soccer or flag football could do the trick. Take a trip to a school’s fields, local park or other open space. There’s plenty of that in Michigan.

4. Spend an Evening in the Woods: Hunting in the fall is big game in Michigan. Men perched in trees. Trucks parked on wooded roadsides. Deer scampering in the approaching crisp climate.

When I was little, my Dad and I used to walk to a nearby cornfield during fall evenings as the sun snuck away. We’d situate on a large rock, quiet & still. As the orange sky began to fade, the deer would softly filter through the fields. It was magical. A picture painted in my memory forever.

Find the nearest open field, cornfield or wooded area frequented by deer. Take a blanket and camp out with the kid(s) until dusk approaches. By sitting still as hunters, you’re bound to catch a real-life view of nature’s creatures.

5. Take Family Fall Photos Fun: Every September as we prepare for Jack’s birthday, I’m reminded that we need to take our annual family photos. Fall offers the perfect backdrop for family photos. Grab your favorite photographer and take a nature walk, feed the ducks at the local park or throw leaves in your backyard. The fall colors do all the hard work. All you have to do is dress cozy and have fun.

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