Fall offers an array of activities
Michelle Blaylock, Mom's Corner
It's hard to believe it's October, especially considering we still have highs in the mid-to- upper 80s. Nevertheless, it is still fall.
There are so many things to enjoy and explore with children in the fall. There's pumpkin carving, decorating, cooking, campfires, camping, hiking, Halloween, crafts, history, etc.
There are some things that we typically wait and do right before Halloween, like pumpkin carving. I'm not real big into the Halloween decorations, but I do like pumpkin carving and roasting the pumpkinseeds. This year I think I may try my hand at making a scarecrow. Goodness knows we have plenty of leaves to stuff him!
I also enjoy the cooking that comes along with fall. There are some dishes that just belong with the cooler fall weather–well, when it gets cooler anyway. Things like chili, stews, soups, chicken and dumplings, caramel apples, and spiced apple cider just belong with fall. Speaking of apples, here are a couple of tips for you.
If you mix sour cream in with your melted caramel it won't harden. You have to keep your caramel refrigerated because of the sour cream, but you can pull it straight out of the refrigerator and it's still "dip-able." A trick my mom taught me was to add Red Hots candy to apple pie. It really gives it a spicy kick.
There are also many fun fall crafts to share with your kids. Consider making place mats for Thanksgiving using a combination of family fall pictures and pressed leaves. The first thing you need is some pictures of your family and friends doing fun fall activities, such as leaf jumping, hiking, camping, or whatever else your family enjoys.
While you're taking these fun fall pictures, gather some colorful leaves and press them. I usually put the leaves between sheets of parchment paper or wax paper and then set heavy books on top for several days. Using sheets of construction paper, glue on your pictures and leaves in a creative way, then cover with clear contact paper. Speaking of pictures, this is good time to start working on family pictures for (cringe) Christmas cards.
Of course, you can hardly think of fall without Halloween. If we're going to be doing new costumes, then I like to start early. I love to make (as in sew) Halloween costumes. This is especially wonderful if you're just beginning to learn to sew. If you mess it up, who cares? It's a Halloween costume! Some of the costumes I've sewn have been a clown, a pumpkin, Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, a step-dancer, a dinosaur, a princess, a southern belle, and several others.
I think all of these have been used more than once. We now pull out the Halloween boxes and go through them to see what we can come up with from what we've already got. If you don't like to sew, there are many internet sites that have great no-sew costumes. There are some really cute ones using just sweatshirts, sweat pants, felt and various other materials.
Fall also has some great opportunities for education. Of course, there are the traditional pilgrims, but there's also the history of other settlers and what they did to prepare for winter. This opens up a wonderful discussion about how things are so different today as opposed to 150 or 200 years ago.
I also like to bring science into fall discussions. One of my favorites is to talk about why leaves change colors. I like to ask young children what they think first. I've had some interesting answers over the last 15 years or so. One of my own said they thought God got tired of green and began to scribble! I had a child in a class one time that said it was because all the green was washed away with the fall rains.
I also had a child tell me that she thought it was because the leaves were old. When I asked her to explain, she told me that her grandmother's hair had turned gray because she was old.
That's why leaves change colors–because they're old, too. I just had to ask why she thought the leaves didn't turn gray like her Grandmother's hair.
She thought about it for a minute and said, "Because gray is pretty on my granny, but it'd be ugly on a tree." I didn't go any further. That was all the children's logic I needed for one day.
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