Fun Fall Inspired Activities for Kids

The girls’ age gap is what makes things most difficult for me in terms of taking them all out & about. Harper can play all day & easily skip naps, Eloise is a bit of a ticking time bomb when we are out in public if she gets over tired/hungry/bored, and just completely forget it if I have to sit down to nurse Claire. So with the change of seasons, I think the girls are ready for a little change of scenery when it comes to playtime each day. So, I am sharing a few ideas for Fall activities for toddlers, all of which can be done with a coffee in hand & none of which involve dumping nine hundred bags of corn kernels into a rubbermaid for sensory play. Or what I like to call, eternal cleanup.

1. Nature Scavenger Hunt // Make a list of things the kids can find outside (acorn, pine cone, yellow leaf, etc.) and then head to the park (or your yard) for them to fill up their bag. This is a fun way to switch it up instead of just playing on the playground, which is especially fun for younger kids if you or better yet, their older siblings, can help them find all of the goodies!

2. Pumpkin Bowling // The girls spent over an hour doing this the other morning. At the pumpkin patch, we grabbed a few small, lightweight gourds that could stand upright-ish, and some small, round pumpkins to use as “bowling balls.” Harper loves to stack things & set things up, so she was in charge of the pins, and Eloise in charge of destruction. Anyone surprised? 😉 Super fun, and can be done inside or out!

3. Festive Sugar Cookies // Making homemade sugar cookies can seem like a pain because of how long the process is, but they really are easy & so much fun for kids. If you prep the dough the night before, it can sit in the refrigerator until you’re ready to roll it out, it is less sticky this way & allows you to split up the work. Baking with my kids is easily one of our favorite things to do together.
 
4. Trunk-or-Treat // Check your local area calendars & newspapers for events in your city, there will most likely be a few fun trunk-or-treats for kids during the entire month of October. Usually all you have to do is bring a bag of candy to donate, but the kids will get another excuse to dress up in costumes & have a fun time trick or treating, good practice for Halloween night!
 
5. Apple Picking // This was one of the most fun activities that we did last Fall. Pulling the kids in a wagon, when the weather is cool & getting to fill up on yummy apples (and apple pastries!) is pretty much a dream.
 
6. Chalkboard Pumpkins // A lot less messy than painting pumpkins, and more fun because you can do it more than once. Grab a few craft pumpkins from Target/Hobby Lobby, spray them with a few coats of chalkboard paint & once they’re dry for 24 hours, let the kids decorate them with colored chalk! It’s Pumpkin Day, Mouse! is one of the girls’ favorite books & would be a perfect guide to helping kids create different pumpkin faces.
7. Homemade Play-doh // There are tons of recipes for homemade play-doh, lots involving pumpkin pie spice or even real apples, others involving essential oils that can naturally encourage your kids to calm the f down. 😉 A standard recipe we use is 2 cups flour, 1 cup salt, 2 tbsp cream of tartar & 2 tbsp vegetable oil. You can scour pinterest for more recipes, flavors, additions, etc. or just add food coloring for fun. So whatever it is you’re looking for, DIY play-doh is less messy, usually edible & smells infinitely better than the store bought stuff. Add some plastic Halloween cookie cutters or pumpkin carving scoopers & you’re set!
And let me just throw in the disclaimer of the century. Most days are pajama days here, breakfast is cereal or frozen waffles, and our best attempt at a super fun activity is coloring together or playing hide and seek, while I hide in the kitchen unloading the dishwasher as the girls count in the other room. So these activities are merely a little change-up from our very normal, day to day, all are easy enough & certainly don’t require “super mom status.” As always, if you have activities to share that are fun for toddlers with young siblings & doable for a mom likely wearing a baby, be sure to share!! 🙂 XO
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  1. Thank you for these ideas! I feel ya on the "most days" are of cereal and playing hide and seek in the kitchen! But I feel the need to mix it up maybe once a week with a new craft (things are getting stale around here idea wise, and a lot of pinterest ideas look so insanely messy for the 5 mins of entertainment my 2.5 year old will get haha! And just for sanity sake around here, it's still mid 90s and I have cabin fever plus 22 weeks prego. All your suggestions sound totally do – able and something he will be into! Pinning now 😉

  2. I love to read your ideas and all about your craziness at home. I have four kiddos, my two youngest are exactly H&E's ages..I couldn't imagine having an infant right now to add to the fun. The days may seem so long right now, as soon as Harper starts school in a few years you will miss these days!

  3. I love all of these ideas. I have an almost 3 year old and a 1 year old and it is getting easier to find things for them to do together. They love playing with playdough and coloring. Recently they have been having fun with plastic dinosaurs, a plastic container of foamy soap and a container of water. Once the little one is done, my older son likes to paint the dinosaurs with watercolors. My playdough recipe is the same as yours, but I also add a package of Kool-Aid. The colors and smells are amazing! We can't wait to try your Chalkboard Pumpkins 🙂

  4. These are amazing ideas!!! I can't wait to use them with my little guy but for now my 3 month old will have to deal with tummy time (ekk!) and bright colored play mats!

  5. Last year my daughter (3 years old at the time) loved to draw on her pumpkin with washable markers. Then I would set up a pumpkin washing station with a little bowl of water and a sponge and let her give the pumpkin a bath. She would spend a good hour daily doing that!

  6. Oh I just love your list of ideas! I will DEFINITELY be trying the chalkboard pumpkins! We have the pumpkin day mouse book and my two year old loves it! He always points at the sad pumpkin and says "oh no, he crying!"

  7. My mom always let us make Monster Toast. She would set out little saucers of food colored milk and give us a cheap paintbrush (the colorful plastic ones you can get in packs) and we would dab the milk-paint to make monster faces. Mom woils toast the bread and sprinkle a little sugar for us as a snack.

  8. Thanks for the fun ideas! I will be adding chalkboard spray paint and sugar cookie ingredients to my list for the weekend! I have two toddlers and struggle to find stuff to keep them entertained and busy.

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  10. I have great memories of homemade play dough when I was little! I'd always request purple but it'd turn out gray every time. Haha

  11. Great idea! We love chalkboard pumpkins and fall baking over here. I especially love the pumpkin bowling. And I nearly died at your eternal cleanup comment because, let's be honest that's what it is! We also love putting leaves under wax paper and coloring over them around here.

  12. I love these ideas! I'm a mom of two under two (well, two and under at least) and have Fridays off. I try to fill our Fridays with fun outings but it's not always practical and I feel badly if I'm not engaging our eldest in favor of caring for the baby and vice versa. I'm going to try the scavenger hunt idea out right away and I think our daughter would love pumpkin bowling and the chalkboard pumpkins too!

  13. Love these ideas! My toddlers went bonkers over pumpkin bowling last year after we went to the pumpkin patch. I just had my youngest little one 4 weeks ago, so I'm adjusting to the craziness of having 3 under 4.

    Total gongshow over here most days, but it's totally worth it 🙂

  14. A little late to this, but OH MY YOU ARE MY FAVORITE for calling out those BS rubbermaid "sensory play" things what they are = MESS MESS MESS.
    I love this list. It is so practical and I love that about you!

  15. Thanks for the ideas! I've been looking for some out of the box activities for my 18 month old. and a HUGE thank you for the disclaimer. I love the reminder that you Pinterest worthy bloggers are real moms with real kids too.

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