7 Ways to Explore Nature in the Fall with Your Kids ...

Turn off the TV and the video games and instead, get involved with some simple ways to explore nature. The crisp air, the beginnings of changing leaves and the passing of Labor Day all mean one thing; fall is on its way - and what a wonderful time of year to explore nature. There are numerous ways to explore nature with your kids during the fall season and enjoy the freshness of the air and the beauty of Mother Earth. Here are some of my favorite ways to explore nature during the fall.

1. Take a Walk

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One of the easiest ways to explore nature during the fall is by taking a walk. When your little ones come home from school, instead of watching TV after a snack, pull on some sweaters and go for a walk. Enjoy talking with each other, pointing out the changes of the season and just appreciating being outside. Take a bag along with you and collect some fallen leaves, acorns and other nature items, which you can use to create a craft later. An added bonus: The cool air will help to tire your kids out and give them a good night sleep.

2. Harvest

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Fall time is harvest time. During the fall season, go to a farm and enjoy the fruits of our talented farmers' labor. You could pick your own apples, pumpkins and tomatoes, or you could just go to a farm stand and discuss the different fruits and veggies that are out on display. Your kids will gain an appreciation for farming - and for healthy eating.

3. Jump in the Leaves

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Remember raking up piles of leaves and jumping in them when you were a kid? Well, how about doing the same thing with your kids? Have them help you rake up a pile of leaves (which will teach them how to help out with the yard work) and then let them jump on in. When you're done with the fun, have them help you bag up the leaf piles.

4. The Night Sky

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The night sky changes, just as the seasons do. Teach your kids about the different constellations and bundle them up to observe the fall sky. Ask them if they can find any constellations and if you've observed the sky in the summer, ask them if they notice any difference between. This is one of my favorite ways to enjoy nature, no matter what the season.

5. Navigate a Corn Maze

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I live in a very rural area with tons of farms. During the fall, our farmers love to create corn mazes, and it is always a fun adventure to enjoy with my family. See if there are farms in your area that have corn mazes and find your way through them with your family.

6. Have a Picnic

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Just because the summer is over doesn't mean that you can't still have a picnic. Pack up a lunch on the weekend and head out to your favorite park to eat alfresco with your kids. Take in the changes of the season while you're dining and when you're done eating, enjoy playing in the fall sun.

7. Investigate Nature Items

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Remember those little fall goodies you collected on your walk? Well, you and your little ones can investigate them. Use a magnifying glass to get a closer look at leaves, flowers, rocks and twigs. Create leaf rubbings. Make collages out of the items. This is a fun, hands-on way to explore the nature of fall, and a great extension activity after a walk.

These fall nature activities are all wonderful ways to get your family outside to enjoy the wonders of Mother Nature - and each other. What do you and your family enjoy doing outside in the fall?

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