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Fall family fun

October 20, 2008

by Jenni Sebora

I love fall, and all of the activities, holidays, colors and seasonal changes that go along with it.

This year our family did not take its annual trip to an apple orchard because we have our own apple trees that were in splendid supply this year. We have four apple trees in our yard all bearing different types of apples: Gala, Delicious, Fireside and Honey Crisp. This year each tree bore its greatest supply yet.

We had an apple tasting contest with our family the other day. My husband sliced up an apple from each tree, and we each, our three children included, tasted each apple variety and announced our favorites.

The winner by a landslide (it was the favorite among all five of us): Fireside, followed by Honey Crisp and the other two came in a deadlock tie.

Our apple fun did not stop there. My husband baked an apple pie with our children, and besides forgetting the butter, the pie tasted delicious. My children and my husband were very proud of their culinary feat.

Now we’ll have to move to apple bobbing and a seed spitting contest.

Not only did our trees provide us with an abundance of supply, our pumpkin patch did, too. We have lots of pumpkins of all sizes (and shapes). We got out the acrylic paint, brushes and acrylic spray and adorned our pumpkins with faces and decorations.

Shuffling through the leaves and raking the leaves into piles only to jump in them and scatter them about are fall traditions. It is amazing how nature can be the source of such simple, yet meaningful and fun, activities.

I gain so much satisfaction in watching my children enjoy the outdoors and the playground that it offers. The sound of my children’s voices giggling and laughing while leaves are scattering about and their bodies are sprawled under the leaves is such a source of joy to me as a mother, as it is I am sure for most parents.

As the outdoors provides our children and us with forms of entertainment and enjoyment, we can also engage in seasonal activities indoors, as well, to celebrate the season.

Try making a leaf suncatcher with your children.

Have them shave peeled crayons using a potato peeler or pencil sharpeners onto waxed paper, and cover with another piece of waxed paper. As the parent, use a hot iron over the waxed paper to create the stained glass “look.”

Cut the waxed paper creations in leaf or other fall shapes; punch a hole and add string or thread and hang by a window.

Create your own fall tree using construction paper and tissue paper. Have your child lay a child’s hand and arm – from elbow to the hand- on the paper. Have your child spread her fingers and trace from the elbow to the fingers. Her arm transforms into the tree trunk and fingers into branches.

Add some leaves by tearing up some construction and/or tissue paper. Glue these pieces on the branches. (Source for these ideas: www.atozkidstuff.com.

Of course, fall means Halloween is upon us. This holiday can be a great source of fun and activities for families and children. After carving a pumpkin, how about exploring the inside of it with your young ones? Use all of your senses in this exploration – feel, taste, and smell the wonderments of the holiday and autumn.

How about some snacks with a Halloween theme? The snacks can be healthy too. How about a spooky trail mix? Start with some bat brains (popcorn); stir in some rat claws (shelled sunflower seeds); add some skeleton bones (pretzel sticks); drop some bugs in the caldron (chocolate chips); add some worms (gummy worms); stir in some cobwebs (Chex or other similar cereal); don’t forget the ghost guts (mini marshmallows). Use your imagination and add other grotesque ingredients. Mix together and enjoy this holiday treat. (Idea source: http://familycrafts.about.com).

Once again, enjoy the season in all its glory with your wee little ones. Most likely they already are; enjoy it with them. I know I will.