While I was making this autumn bucket list I started wondering, why are we all so obsessed with fall? Psychologists think it has to do with colder weather being associated with experiences that make people feel closer together.
For us, fall means family time. And family time means we need ideas for what to do together! Here is my favourite fall bucket list, covering what to do inside, what to do outside, and what to eat and drink with your kids all autumn long.
Fun fact: fall vs autumn
As an ex-pat, it fascinates me that Americans generally use the word ‘fall’ while Brits use the word ‘autumn.’
Autumn is the more traditional word, but around the 19th Century, ‘fall’ was popular with romantic young poets describing the harvest season. And so, as perhaps a hipper word, ‘fall’ successfully crossed the Atlantic around the same time America was making its move towards independence. In the meantime, ‘autumn’ was kept in traditional Britain as their favourite word for the season.
No matter which word you use to describe it, the seasonal turning of leaves continues to inspire us to celebrate the beauty of nature. And to indulge in all things pumpkin! Here I have the ultimate autumn bucket list for families. It has fall activities for the whole family, including fun for tweens and teens, fall recipes for kids, and ideas to enjoy autumn in the outdoors. These are wonderful ways to make magical memories that will last a lifetime.
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Ideas to do at home during autumn
When the weather starts turning colder, we like to spend a bit more time at home together. Here is an autumn bucket list of what to do at home with your kids this fall.
- Decorate your home for autumn – artfully arranged pumpkins make for cheap décor, and they will last about a month. Then you can carve them just before Halloween for jack-o-lanterns! Other ways to get your home looking more autumnal are to change out your tea towels or placemats and put out a few fall-themed decorations on the table.
- Make a pretty autumn wreath. Get creative using a wreath base (try an embroidery hoop or a willow or rattan base). Gather jewel-toned leaves, pinecones and your favourite fall coloured ribbon. If that’s too much work, you can find them on Amazon (this fall wreath even comes with a hanger).
- Pile everybody onto the couch, pull out the beanbags and stack up your comfiest pillows to watch your favourite fall movies together. Or maybe even a super scary one, depending on the age of your kids!
- Do a family board game night or play couch co-op games together. Make sure to supply your favourite fall snacks.
- Another film idea: have a Harry Potter movie marathon and try this Butterbeer recipe. Or make chocolate frogs if you prefer!
- Create or find your family’s Halloween costumes. Stuck for ideas? We have a Halloween costume Pinterest board with some inspiration.
- Treat everyone in your family to a new pair of cosy socks or gloves. Because who doesn’t love being wrapped in comfort when the temperature plummets?
- Change your bedsheets to teddy bear or flannel material. Bedtime never seemed so appealing.
- Have a family dinner by candlelight. Bonus points for using cloth napkins and fancy glasses. Even if it’s just for pizza delivery!
- If you have the space outdoors, and you can do it safely, buy some sparklers and write your names in lights. Or have a mini fireworks night.
- Burn autumn scented candles throughout the season (just make sure they’re out of reach of children and pets). My favourite candle scents at this time of year are pumpkin, apple and eucalyptus.
- Make leaf print pictures or do a leaf rubbing with the littler ones. You could even turn these into cards for family and friends.
- Compile a fall playlist for your family to have in the background – try either cosy, coffee-house music or a spooky Halloween mix. This is a great job for teenagers.
- Pick an autumn screensaver/wallpaper for your phone or laptop. If you don’t have a recent picture of your kids, now is a great time to snap that fall family photo!
- Host a murder mystery night or do an escape room game. Or try Cluedo, Liars Edition for a great twist on the classic board game.
- Buy or make a seasonal flower arrangement. Pick wildflowers and lavender with the kids or buy sunflowers and chrysanthemums from the flower market (or even the supermarket). Whatever your favourite autumnal flower is, a vase of real or fake stems will surely beautify your home.
Fall things to eat and drink (great ideas for kids of all ages)
- Pumpkin Spice Day is October 1st – try Starbucks or Pret a Manger for a pumpkin spice latte, or make your own with a pumpkin spice recipe!
- Get baking. Try this yummy Starbucks Pumpkin loaf or these blackberry muffins.
- Create a hot chocolate bar or let the kids try my easy hot chocolate recipe.
- Serve an apple or berry crumble (and custard or ice cream!) with your Sunday roast dinner.
- Try a sweet potato recipe like curry or soup.
- Have a make-your-own pizza night.
- Bake a pumpkin pie (or mini pumpkin pies) and serve with piles of whipped cream.
- Make s’mores.
- Try this apple-blueberry oaty pancake recipe.
- Pop popcorn for your movie and game nights.
- Show the kids how to make Halloween ghost fruit kabobs.
- Try making a slow cooker (crockpot) recipe (we like this vegan chilli).
- Make or buy candy apples.
- Bake a spiced carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.
- Level up your breakfast porridge with vanilla, brown sugar and apples.
For the more adventurous – fall activities to do outdoors with the whole family
- Explore a local pumpkin patch and take one home with you.
- Go apple or berry-picking.
- Do a nature scavenger hunt with a prize at the end.
- Take a family bike ride when the leaves have changed colour.
- Visit a Farmer’s Market and pick out some fresh veggies for dinner.
- Collect some pinecones or conkers (in the UK). You can use pinecones in your home décor and conkers to play – well, conkers!
- Go for a night-time family walk when there’s a full moon.
- Get lost in a maize maze (corn maze in the US).
- Plan a Halloween party.
- Jump in massive piles of leaves, or put on your wellies and go splash in puddles.
- Check out an old cemetery.
- Go camping.
- Have coffee or hot chocolate and a cinnamon bun in a cafe.
- Host a Friendsgiving dinner.
- Go to a football game.
- Bundle up for an autumn picnic.
- If you’re in the UK, enjoy a Guy Fawkes Bonfire Night.
- Celebrate the Day of the Dead on November 2nd.
- Visit a chocolate factory.
- Sit by an outdoor fire.
Whether you’re inside or outside, the important thing is to make time to spend with your family this autumn.
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If you enjoyed this autumn bucket list, your kids might also like our review of the best couch co-op games for families this year. Perfect for a family night in with your tweens and teens.
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