Fall officially begins this Saturday. With the heat and drought that dominated the Midwest this year, it feels like the summer lasted a long time. Our summer adventures were over months ago! We have the swim lesson certificates, the beach photos, and plenty of great memories. We’re ready for fall. The season of change brings so many opportunities for unique family outings. Here are a few of the fall activities we’re planning for us and the twins.
Apple Picking with Twins
I already wrote about our late summer adventure when we took the twins apple picking. Usually we’d do this later in fall, but we wanted to pick a certain type of apple — the honey crisp — and the seasons on those come early. Aside from that, autumn is our favorite time to go. They run the hayrides, the trees are changing colors, and the crisp weather just makes it seem right to be be out harvesting something.
Plus, with the holidays looming just around the corner, a trip to the orchards can come in handy. It’s a great time to stock up on apples to make applesauce, pies, and other treats. And in later, colder months when you make them, they’ll remind you of that crazy time you took the twins out on the wagon to go apple picking.
Nature Hikes and Photo Shoots
Autumn brings out the best in Mother Nature. Take your twins out to enjoy the colorful trees, the busy animals, and the cooler weather! The bugs aren’t as bad, or at least they won’t be once we get a hard freeze. At the lake house, we take a couple of these “nature walks”, usually following the same route. Our boys pick up rocks and collect acorns. We take turns pushing them in strollers, or pulling them in the Radio Flyer wagon, or carrying them, or holding their hands. And we all enjoy watching the landscape slowly switch over to fall.
An important side benefit of these walks is that they tend to tire the twins out, which is getting harder and harder to do. As we spend more time indoors, everyone starts to get a little stir crazy. A walk in the cool, fresh air is like a magic bullet before nap time.
Halloween Costumes and Festivities
There are few times you’ll be more excited about having twins (or multiples, or just children in general) than Halloween. There are so many individual or coordinated costumes to consider. So many costume contests to win! How do you even begin to choose from all of them? My aunt came up with a clever idea when her kids were little (2-4 years old) — they dressed each of them as what they wanted to be when the grew up. The best part: my little cousin wanted to become his current hero, the ice cream man.
Hitting a pumpkin patch is also a great fall activity. We make a whole day out of it: packing a lunch, taking the hayride, letting our little ones each pick out their own pumpkin. Carving jack-o-lanterns and roasting pumpkin seeds are proud traditions around here, ones I can’t wait to make the twins a part of them.
Fall Festivals and County Fairs
My parents, also known as “Grandma & Grandpa”, are crazy about fall festivals. Given a crisp autumn day without anything on the calendar, they will literally search the entire bi-state area for anything resembling a craft fair or outdoor festival. Anything will do: Hispanic festivals (when we’re obviously not Hispanic), apple festivals, county fairs, you name it. As a kid, I used to grouse about these “joyful rides in the country” but I do have to admire my parents’ tenacity in finding them.
At 16 months, our twins are just reaching the age where new people and places can make an impression on them. Little county fairs and festivals offer the opportunity to do just that, and to enjoy the cooler weather besides. Especially if we can combine a drive up the scenic river road, take in some new sights and experiences, and still be home for nap time.
The best part of raking up leaves is when there’s a big pile for everyone to jump in. The whole family can pile in there and jump around. Usually by the time that leaves are down, we’re wearing long pants and long sleeves (if not jackets or coats); between that and the crunchy leaf pile, it makes for a fun and somewhat padded play experience. I’m sure we’ll have to watch the boys closely to make sure they don’t eat [too many] dead leaves, and monitor their big sister even more closely so that no one takes a stick in the eye.
I have this image in my head of a great camera-timer photo with our family of five in a giant leaf pile, and cascades of dry leaves showering down around us (because we’re throwing them up in the air). An important side benefit of this activity is that it gets the kids involved in yard work, and that’s something you can never start on too early.