Take children outside and they will spend hours exploring nature, from turning over rocks to looking for bugs. There's no better way to help children understand and appreciate the world around them than to expose them to as much of the natural world as possible.
And with cooler weather and changing colors, Autumn is perfect season to spend some time outdoors with the family. If you need some inspiration, try one of these fall-friendly activities:
Pick your own fruits and veggies.Every state has farms or orchards where you can pick your own crops. LearnÂ what's in season in your area, such as turnips, cranberries and everyoneâ€™s fall favorite: apples! See firsthand where the plants grow â€“ and when and how to pick them â€“ to understand where food comes from.
Visit a farmer's market.Walk through and smell the fresh fruits and veggies. Talk to the farmers aboutÂ where and how a particular crop is grownÂ and harvested â€“ and ask what their favorites are!
Pick a new food at the grocery.The Thanksgiving feast is a great time to introduce your kids to new foods. Before you start cooking, let your children pick out a food they've never tasted, and find a recipe to prepare it together. This will encourage them to try new flavors and share their discoveries with the family.
Visit a pumpkin patch. Pumpkin patches can be found all over the country during fall. Let your children pick out a pumpkin to take home. You can carve it together to display for the holidays and can even roast the pumpkin seeds for a healthy snack.
Plant a fall garden. This is an easy way to get started with herbs or flowers.Â Keep herbs inside on your kitchen windowsillso you can easily access them when cooking your holiday meal. Some fun fall flavors are sage, rosemary, mint and lavender.
Visit a beekeeper.Learn howÂ beekeepersÂ take care of their hives, how honey is made and collected, and why bees are endangered. You'll probably even be able to taste the honey to learn which flowers contribute to the distinct flavors.
Visit a farm or zoo.See animals in their environment. Discover how they use certain features, such as a tail, shell or long nose. If you see any babies, watch how they play and how their mothers feed and take care of them.
Go on a nature hunt.Make a list of things to find, such as animals tracks, seasonal leaves or flowers of a certain color, evidence of bugs, a cocoon, nuts and seeds. Be sure to take a bag to pick up any trash you spot.
Go on a creek walk.Like your nature hunt, a creek walk makes family time fun with a list of things to find: different types of leaves and grass, fish or tadpoles, water bugs, slimy stones, etc.
Build a scarecrow. Decorate your lawn for Halloween with a homemade scarecrow. Add some special details such as Dadâ€™s flannel shirt or personally picked leaves.
Go off the grid. Blue skies and crisp air make unplugging for the day as easy as apple pie. Leave phones, tablets and cameras at home, and spend the day reconnecting with your loved ones outdoors.