By Malleana Ruffin, Social Media Manager, Public Interest Registry
When the air turns crisp, leaves start to change, and pumpkin-spice everything is on the menu, autumn is here—and it’s time for some family fun. While COVID-19 continues to limit activities, there are still many ways to celebrate the season. Viewing fall foliage and picking apples, (many orchards are open for socially distanced business) are still great choices, but we’d like to share some new and different activities to try, too. Whether it’s being active outdoors, learning about something new, showing your artistic side, or helping others, .ORGs can show you how fall fun is done, even during a pandemic.
Take a Hike
Now that the weather has cooled off, it’s the perfect time to explore hiking trails or just walk around your neighborhood. American Hiking, www.americanhiking.org, offers comprehensive tips for telling your kids to “take a hike!”—you can even join them! Make the adventure extra fun by planning well, bringing snacks, and playing games with advice from www.wilderness.org. While you’re at it, introduce your kids to the joys of birdwatching. With this regional guide from www.audobon.org, they’ll be spotting Crested Mynas and Painted Buntings in no time. Kids bugging you? Well, bug them back and explore insects on your hike. Pest World for Kids, www.pestworldforkids.org, offers quizzes, games, and resources by grade level to learn more about all the creepy, crawly creatures you see.
Be a Rockstar and a Stargazer
Science is great fun, and it’s all around us: look down as well as up with your kids this fall to see the treasures earth has to offer. Check out www.pbslearningmedia.org for resources on everything from the three different types of rock to that big rock in space we call the moon. Then head over to www.onegeology.org to learn all you ever wanted to about rocks and minerals, including what makes earthquakes happen and how fossils are formed. And, pour some hot chocolate and grab a sweater to stargaze. Sky and Telescope, www.skyandtelescope.org, teaches you how to spot the planets, identify constellations, and view a meteor shower.
There are so many fun fall crafts, it’s hard to choose just one. Luckily, you don’t need to. Pathways, www.pathways.org, offers free crafting ideas to optimize children’s sensory, motor, and communication development. Use their fun guide to press leaves, knit, and make a bird feeder with your kids. Have a budding entomologist? Critter crafts from www.pestworldforkids.org will have them creating adorable aphids. Want to be a rock star? Start decorating rocks with the kids. This guide to rock art by www.artistshelpingchildren.org offers instructions for how to make paperweights, pet rocks, and maracas! Lastly, you can make bedtime a masterpiece by creating a bedroom planetarium with www.geniusofplay.org. Your kids’ celestial ceilings will have them begging for bedtime.
As the weather turns cooler and the days grow shorter, it can be difficult for those already struggling, especially during the coronavirus crisis. Doing good deeds is a way to have fun while helping others. Some great ideas from www.dosomething.org include mowing a neighbor’s lawn, walking dogs, and fostering a shelter animal. Write a letter to a veteran through the National Veterans Memorial and Museum, www.nationalvmm.org, to thank them and brighten their day. Include your child’s artwork and involve them in writing. Or, organize a fall food drive in your community. Through www.foodlifeline.org you can plan and host a canned food drive. Ask older kids to help you by emailing their friends and designating a drop-off point at your house. Younger children can aid in sorting through supplies.
Autumn is many people’s favorite season. While it may feel a little different this year, it can still be a time of renewal, beauty, and family fun. Whichever ways you and your family decide to mark the season, we hope these great ideas from .ORGs help keep you and your family entertained this fall.