By Lisa Dion, LPC, RPT-S

Of all the seasons, autumn is probably the one that has the hardest time looking itself in the mirror; let’s face it, summer is a tough act to follow. But, despite not being as warm as the summertime, as new as spring, or as famous for snow days as winter, autumn has a lot to like. It’s not difficult to fall for fall.

This is especially true for parents. Why? Because autumn is a season that offers many activities that you can’t find any other times of the year (take that, July!). And it’s not just about Halloween, either. Sure, a holiday centered around candy may be a kid-favorite, but – to truly embrace the festivities of fall – we sometimes must think outside the box of Milk Duds.

So, what are the activities worth embracing with your child? They include:

A leaf party:  Chores don’t have to be bores! A leaf party is a great way to merge yard work with fun. And there’s no wrong way to throw this type of get together. One idea is to rake up your fallen leaves into giant piles and let your kids and their friends jump in and play. You can also have them create leaf collages, paintings, and whatever else their imaginations desire. It’s an hour or so of enjoyment that won’t cost you a dime: this one’s on Mother Nature.

Build a birdhouse: Fall is a time when many birds pack up their birdie bags and head south for the winter. But not all birds migrate. Those that fly to warmer climates do so because of food shortages and not because of weather. This allows some birds to stay put: if they have local eats, they have no reason to leave. Building a birdhouse with your child is not only a great way to bond, but it’ll also provide shelter for a feathered friend. Who knows, maybe they’ll thank you by not pooping on your windshield.

Take a hayride: Hayrides are offered all over the country during the fall – they’re offered as part of festivals, on farms, or as free-standing events. They’re a unique way to spend an afternoon embracing the beauty of the turning seasons. Have a hayday!

Go on a nature walk: A nature walk is an ideal way to spend time with your children while embracing educational opportunities (and getting some exercise). Take a walk around the park or a hike in the mountains and point out the colorful leaves, identify the different trees, and discuss why the seasons change.

Go apple picking: While many types of fruit reach their prime in summer, apples are late bloomers: their harvest begins in August, September, and October (depending on the type of apple). So, grab your kids, grab a bucket, and make a day of it. Picking apples from an orchard is much more fun than picking them from the produce aisle.

There are many things you can do with your children this autumn. The above are just a few suggestions. Remember, ultimately, the activity doesn’t matter: it’s the time spent together that counts.

We don’t have all the answers to parenthood, but we have some. Check out our Online Parenting Class – Managing Your Child’s Moods and Behaviors. Buy now for 40 dollars off!