Even though some fall events may not be able to occur this year, you can encourage your kids to still get moving and enjoy the outdoors by creating your own fall festival at home. Here are some ideas for a fun, fall-themed afternoon in the backyard.
- Visit one of the pumpkin patches from our fall guide on page 7 before your event, and help your kids select a pumpkin to turn into a planter for decor. You will also need a plant, a knife and a garden pot that is small enough to fit inside the pumpkin, filled with garden soil. Ensure that both the garden pot and pumpkin have a drainage hole cut into the bottom.
- Carve out the top of the pumpkin and remove the innards of the pumpkin. If you like, keep the pumpkin seeds and roast them later.
- Remove the plant from the pot it was purchased in and transplant it into the garden pot.
- Help your kids draw a face on the pumpkin or other design of choice with a permanent marker and then place the pot into the pumpkin.
- Prep the pots before your event. Use smaller pots for planting herbs. Leafy plants like lettuce need larger, wider pots. You can reuse pots you already have or find some inexpensive ones at your local garden center. Wash the pots off a few days before your backyard festival and allow them to dry. The powdery residue on them can affect the paint.
- Use a clay sealer on the inside and outside of the pots and let it dry for at least 24 hours before you plan to paint them.
- Help your kids plan their design and paint the pots. Use acrylic craft paint and seal the pot with a polyurethane-based sealer to protect the artwork once the paint is dry.
- Dry the pots a day or two before filling them with soil and your plants or seeds of choice.
Apple Pop Dip Bar
- No fall festival is complete without delicious treats. Set up a caramel apple bar where kids can use apple slices or balls to create caramel apple pops, which are easier to eat than a whole caramel apple.
- You will need Granny Smith or Fuji apples, dipping caramel and a variety of toppings, such as sprinkles, candy and crushed pretzels, each placed in their own bowl.
- Wash the apples and slice them to ½“ to ¾” thick, or you can use a melon scooper to scoop small balls out of the apples. Put the slices or balls onto popsicle sticks or skewers.
- Then dip away, starting with the caramel first and then into each desired topping.
- Create a fall-themed scavenger hunt by making a list of natural items, such as different colors of leaves and acorns, for kids to find in the backyard.
- Award the kids a prize when they find all the items on the list. You can include wildlife and natural items your yard may not have by hiding pictures for kids to find.
- Older kids may enjoy using clues, instead of a list, to lead them to the prize. Fun prize ideas include goody bags of craft supplies or baked treats.
- Here are some free scavenger hunt print outs.