The Ultimate Fall Bucket list for Families is packed with ideas to help you and your family get the most out of the autumn season. As Mamas, our seasons with our littles are numbered and we want do fill them with as many memories and fun times as we can! I hope you enjoy this list and create many beautiful moments with your family!
Autumn is in the air!
Or as we say we say in the South, “It’s Fall Y’all!”
It’s the time of year when everything needs a hint of spice. The leaves shed their green hues and blush in yellow, red, orange, and purple. And we change up our wardrobes to match. As my husband always says and will continue to say until next spring, “It’s sweat-ah wett-tah!” And he would know since he owns more sweaters than a college sorority girl.
Fall gives us all the cozy feels, and our goal is to bask in every second of it!
Now let’s be real here- those long Pinterest lists are inspiring, but inevitably kids have to go poop in the middle of the corn maze. This season of life with littles is unpredictable, lively, and beautiful, and if we aren’t careful we can wish it away in hopes of easier days. This list is designed to be simple and fun for the whole family. The memories we make may not seem picture perfect in the moment- but when we look back, we will be so thankful we made them. So let’s embrace this season of life and enjoy this fall!
The Ultimate Fall Bucket List for Families
My friend Kacie at onthesonnyside shared a blog earlier in the summer and one of her suggestions in it was to create a Summer Bucket List. Ummm, yes! Why on earth hadn’t I thought of that before!? So this fall we are starting by creating the Ultimate Fall Bucket List for families- with your family in mind!
When I say ‘for families’ I mean just that- for the entire family. You won’t find haunted houses or horror movies on this list- sorry but those are not made for littles. Quite frankly those aren’t made for me either. Instead I want to pack your fall with inspiration for crafts, family soup nights, pies, and lots of fun memories to be enjoyed by Moms, Dads, and littles alike!
So, without farther ado, here is your Ultimate Fall Bucket List for Families!
- Decorate for Fall
- Family Soup and Movie Night
- Bake an Autumn Treat
- Make a Leaf Craft
- Plan a Day trip to an Orchard or Pumpkin Patch
- Cook Something Over a Bonfire
- Carve (or Paint) a Pumpkin
- Create Fall Cards for Your Family and Friends
- Do Something for Someone Else
- Take it All In (Mamas, this one is for you!)
The Ultimate Fall Bucket List for Families
1. Decorate For Fall
I go all out on this first step on the list. I own more fake pumpkins than any sane woman should ever own. Decorating for fall doesn’t have to be an expensive or overwhelming feat. It could be subbing out the faded summer flowers with mums and stacking some pumpkins by the front door. It could be sitting out some fall scented candles or trading out your centerpiece for some bright sunflowers. Click here for our DIY Fall Scented Candles!
It doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy! Get the kids involved with some fun leaf crafts (details down below!) and put them up on your walls. Decorate your home for fall and enjoy the season inside and outside!
2. Family Soup + Movie Night
At Christmas time one of our favorite traditions is hot chocolate, cookies and a classic Christmas film after dinner. It is such a family favorite that it has bled over into other parts of the year- Hotdogs and Little Rascals on a warm summer night. Key lime pie and Despicable Me after the Garden goes out in Spring. And this fall we plan to indulge in soup and a great movie multiple times.
Soup is one of my favorite things to make. Lasagna soup, Vegetable Soup, my Nana’s chili recipe, or Spinach Tortellini soup- I’m getting hungry. But what is better than soup? Bake some homemade bread, fill up some bowls, and gather your entire family on a quilt in the living room floor for movie night!
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!, Fly Away Home, and Charlotte’s Web are all classics with a cozy fall feel for parents and children alike! And for the older kids- October Sky, Little Women, or Matilda may be a great option! For Christian movie reviews check out Focus on the Family’s site: Plugged In!
(A Quick Mom Hack: Buy a cheap second hand quilt specifically for this purpose (and picnics), preferably something dark. That way when your toddler inevitably drips chili on it- it just doesn’t matter. Toss it in the wash after and don’t stress over stains. The best memories are the messy ones!)
3. Bake An Autumn Treat
Whether you are a pumpkin spice or apple cider kind of Mama, fall baking is some of the best baking!
Try simple swaps to add a fall twist to all your favorite dishes. Add pumpkin puree to your cinnamon roll filling and maple extract (rather than vanilla) to your cream cheese icing. Or add spiced apple butter to your favorite muffin recipe or quick bread! Fall baking is marked by that hint of warm spice. Toss cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, or clove into your recipes for a bit of fall in every bite!
Getting your kids involved in the kitchen is a great way to spend quality time as a family. It also makes for some great homeschool lessons with real life skills- like using measuring cups to teach fractions!
Click here for one of my favorite Autumn recipes! This pumpkin muffin recipe is reminiscent of Dunkin’ Donuts pumpkin muffins- but cheaper and not quite as messy in my opinion!
4. Make Leaf Crafts
My kids love crafts. Literally anything involving glue, paint, and messes. Leaf crafts are some of my favorite! You can even make this an educational experience by identifying what tree the leaves came from.
For your small ones simply gluing leaves on paper or painting leaves for them to use as stamps is probably ‘crafty’ enough. Your older ones can craft headbands, handprint trees, or even turkeys for Thanksgiving. Get as crafty and creative as you want! Click here for more leaf crafting inspiration!
5. Plan a Day Trip to an Orchard or Patch
Apple orchards, pumpkin patches, and even small family farms offer a lot of fun activities this time of year. From hayrides to pig races, apple picking to playing in the corn crib- there is nothing better than a fall family outing.
If you don’t live close to an apple orchard or pumpkin patch- plan a day trip to a local farmer’s market or a small nearby town. Anything you can plan that buys you time exploring with your family- seeing new sights and experiencing new things together- is worth doing. Even if it’s on a budget!
6. Cook Something Over a Bonfire
Whether you want to toast a marshmallow, roast a hotdog, or cook a full meal in a cast iron over an open flame- fall is the perfect time to do it! What is better on a chilly fall night than a bonfire with your family and friends? A bon fire is a great way to keep your family invested in outdoor time even when the sun sets early and the nights grow cold.
A pack and play nearby may be a good option if your littles are super small! And if fire is too stressful, you can always cook your meal on the stove and create a fake fire with a flashlight and construction paper to play pretend with your littles! We have done this before when it rained our bonfire out. The kids still loved it. If you have a fireplace in your home that is a great option also, but don’t spend all these pretty autumn nights indoors!
7. Carve (or Paint) a Pumpkin
Carving pumpkins is one of the best parts of Autumn. Cutting out silly faces, pulling out the pumpkin guts, roasting the seeds for a quick healthy snack. It is timeless! But okay, let’s be real- if your kids are little then carving is just a whole lot of “No, don’t touch that!”, “Watch your hands!”, and “I’m sorry it doesn’t look like a real unicorn, I did the best I could.” So for the small ones (and maybe even the big ones), pumpkin painting is the way to go! No knives involved, and they can splatter, stroke, or create whatever their heart desires!
8. Create Fall Cards for Your Family + Friends
At our house, we love getting mail!
Not just the kids, I love it too! A thoughtful handwritten or handcrafted card can brighten just about anyone’s day! Plus it makes for a great writing lesson whether you homeschool or not! You can keep them as simple or as elaborate as you want! You can even use your leaf crafts from earlier to make beautiful hand made cards. Wish someone a happy fall, a happy Thanksgiving, or just let someone know you are thinking of them! Who knows you may even get one in return!
9. Do Something for Someone Else
In every season (not just at Christmastime), we should make a point of doing something for someone else. Not only is this a kind thing to do, it also is setting an example for your children. Developing compassion and servanthood in your own heart and your children’s will never be a waste of time!
Throw on some fun costumes and let the kids hand out candy at your local homeless shelter. Make some extra cards from above and pass them out in a local nursing home or children’s hospital. Or maybe even deliver a fall treat to a family you know is struggling right now.
Again, it isn’t about how fancy, elaborate, or expensive you can be! Pray about it and see how God leads you! Involve your family and enjoy doing something for someone else!
10. Take it All In (This one is you for you, Mama)
The thing is Mamas, you can do everything on this bucket list and still miss out on most of it. I know I have been so guilty of that. It isn’t about how perfect or how smoothly everything goes. In my experience, nothing ever goes quite the way you plan. The perfect fall exists in the same capacity as the Great Pumpkin- perfection won’t happen, but you will miss all the best parts in pursuit of it.
So grab a pumpkin latte, a hot chocolate, or whatever your drink of choice, throw on your favorite flannel or plaid scarf, and then sit back and take it all in!
If your kids paint more of their skin than their pumpkin, if you start to question if you really are ‘lost’ in the corn maze, or even if someone throws a fit about every fun fall thing you do, just embrace it. Laugh at the mishaps, brush off the messes, and remember that this season of life passes as quick as the season of fall itself. Take it all in Mama!
What are your family’s favorite fall activities? Let us know in the comments!