Fall is officially here; the weather is getting cooler, the leaves are changing colour, and we are starting to see pumpkins and scarecrows adorning the front steps of neighbourhood homes. With the changing of the season comes a yearning for cozy meals and family celebrations, along with outdoor excursions to take in all the beauty that this season has to offer. Here are some fun fall activities that you can do with your toddler.
#1 Visit an apple tree orchard
This has always been a favorite fall activity of mine, and my kids love it as well. It is a yearly tradition in our home, and they always look forward to going out and picking apples as a family. We keep an eye on the weather, and choose a day when it’s nice and sunny, one of those beautifully crisp fall days that are perfect for making memories. Many local apple tree orchards also offer wagon rides or have small petting zoo areas where your toddler can interact with some friendly farm animals. Make a day of it, and then perhaps your toddler can help you bake an apple pie from your fresh new apples. Yum!
#2 Rake leaves…then jump in them!
It’s not fall if you haven’t raked a pile of leave and let your kids jump in them! Grab a kid-sized rake from the local dollar store and let your toddler help with the task. Kids love to help with household chores, and this is a great activity to do together, as it gets them outside and lets them have fun in the process! Get the leaves into a big pile, and then of course, let your toddler have fun jumping in the big pile! Our dog likes to join in the fun too, and will bury himself in the leaves, to the delight of the kids.
#3 Go through a corn maze
Corn mazes are another yearly tradition that cannot be missed! Usually, we find corn mazes at local farms where we are already picking apples or choosing pumpkins to bring home. So, again, it’s a fun day out for the family with lots of great things to do. Let your toddler be the leader through the corn maze, as they will love the twists and turns of trying to find their way out. Many farms offer a smaller corn maze for little guys, so don’t feel you have to tackle the big maze with your toddler.
#4 Collect leaves
The changing colors of fall are some of my favorites, and I love to collect them to use in crafts and decorations during this time of year. Go out for a walk with your toddler and bring a bag or a basket to collect some of the pretty leaves that you find. There are so many great things you can do with them, and your toddler will enjoy choosing their favorite ones to put in the basket.
#5 Create some fall leaf crafts
Since you’ve gone for your walk and collected some beautiful fall leaves, now it’s time to put them to use! There are endless possibilities when it comes to craft ideas with leaves, and these crafts can also serve as beautiful decorations and centrepieces for your table and home. Check out some of the ideas here for some ways to incorporate your fall leaf collection into your craft time, or try this leaf collage with bubble wrap!
#6 Make a fall sensory bin
Sensory bins are a great way for your toddler to explore and learn, all while having fun! Sensory bins allow children to play using all of their senses, as they touch and smell all the different elements within the bin. A fall sensory bin can be filled with whatever you choose, from corn kernels to pumpkin seeds, the sky’s the limit! This pumpkin-scented rice bin is super simple and incorporates so many elements of fall. Your toddler will love it!
#7 Create some fall handprint crafts
There is nothing cuter than crafts that incorporate a child’s handprint, in my opinion. Those little hands are only tiny for so long, so I love to capture them in arts and crafts pieces, so that I can hang on to them and marvel at their little hands years from now. My kids are now 6 and 9, and they love looking back on the toddler handprint crafts they made years ago and comparing how much their hands had grown. This autumn handprint tree makes a beautiful art piece for you to proudly display, and this list of fall handprint crafts provides tons of cute ideas for you and your toddler to do together.
#8 Visit a pumpkin patch
Another great yearly tradition that gets the whole family outside! Many of these activities could be accomplished at the same place, depending on what your local farms offer. You might be able to pick some apples, go through a corn maze, and visit a pumpkin patch all in one day. Bring your toddler to the pumpkin patch and let them select a pumpkin or two (or three or four!) to bring home. There are so many fun activities that you can do with pumpkins, so grab a few extra to have around the house throughout the fall.
#9 Have fun rolling pumpkins!
Now that you’ve brought some pumpkins home from the pumpkin patch, it’s time to have some fun with them! Kids love to play with pumpkins, and there are so many things you can do with them. This pumpkin rolling activity is a great way to experiment with pumpkins and have some fun gross motor play in the meantime. Set up some toddler slides and ramps, and then just let your toddler have some fun experimenting with how pumpkins move and roll.
#10 Make a fall sensory bottle
Sensory bottles are one of my favorite things, and my kids love to help make them. They’re not only super fun to make, but they’re also a wonderful way for children to self-soothe and settle themselves when emotions are running high. We do a lot of mindfulness practice in our home, as my son sometimes struggles with strong emotions. He does belly breathing while looking at his sensory bottle for a few minutes, as a way to calm himself. This fall sensory bottle is a beautiful addition to our sensory bottle collection.
#11 Play with pumpkin pie scented moon dough
There is something seriously magical about moon dough, I absolutely love it and so do my kids! It has such a different texture than regular playdough; it is light and fluffy and just so much fun! So, what would be better than moon dough that smelled like Grandma’s pumpkin pie? Moon dough is also really easy to make, so your toddler could even help with the process. Make a batch together, and then let your toddler enjoy some sensory play with these fall-inspired moon dough.
#12 Let your toddler have a fall leaf bath!
What could be more fun than playing with fall leaves? Playing with fall leaves in the bathtub! This activity is super easy to do, simply rinse off your leaves beforehand, and then when it’s bath time, sprinkle the leaves on the surface of the water and let your toddler have fun in the tub! The leaves naturally stick to the walls when they’re wet, so your toddler can make creation after creation, all while getting clean! Check out the instructions here, but it couldn’t be more simple to do.
#13 Play in a muddy pumpkin patch!
Ok, I’m not really telling you to play in an actual muddy pumpkin patch, although that could be fun too! This activity is an invitation to play in a pretend muddy pumpkin patch that you’ve put together using hot chocolate play dough (umm…YUM!) and candy corn pumpkins. Your toddler can use whatever kitchen utensils or containers you have on hand, and then can enjoy burying and digging up their pumpkins. This activity allows for free play and sensory play all in one, as your toddler can explore and pretend all day long!
#14 Make a tissue paper fall wreath
Does your front door have a pretty fall wreath on it yet? If not, let your toddler help with that! There are many different ideas out there for fall wreaths that incorporate the beauty and colors of the season. Use some of the fall leaves you’ve already collected to create a beautiful wreath, or make one using different craft supplies that you have on hand. This tissue paper wreath is wonderfully simple to make, and allows your toddler to be independent in their creation. Add a few artificial sunflowers or fall leaves, and you’ve got a beautiful piece to display.
#15 Have an outdoor fire, complete with s’mores!
These brisk, sunny days of fall make me want to spend as much time as possible outdoors, before the cold and rainy weather of November sets in. One of the things we love to do as a family is have an outdoor fire and roast marshmallows and hotdogs. The kids love being outside, and of course we all love munching on s’mores as we sit around the fire enjoying some quality family time. There’s nothing that says “fall” more than crisp blue skies, colorful leaves, and the smell of a bonfire!
It is pretty obvious that fall is my favorite season; I absolutely love the colors and those crisp, blue sky, sunny days. I enjoy passing on my love for the season to my kids, and seeing them embrace all that fall has to offer. Which activity do you think you will try first with your toddler? Be sure to let us know in the comments section, and feel free to share this list with other parents who might be looking for some fun fall activities to do with their toddler!