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Fall Fun With First-Grade & Under

It seems like the autumn season is becoming more anticipated every year. PA residents can’t seem to get enough of fall. We love fall colors, fall sweaters, and especially fall flavors; people have been ordering their pumpkin coffee since mid-August! Our staff is not immune to this fall craze…any fall-enthusiasts definitely have a friend in Life’s Choices! We love to encourage parents, and while some of our resources are heavily educational, sometimes we just like to have fun! If you have a few little ones running around at home, we have some creative ways to have some fall fun! 

In this article, we’ve assembled a few ideas that would be fun for children at/under the first-grade age. For any parents of older children, consider using these ideas as springboards for activities to do with your kids. We’ll have some suggestions for how to do that at the tail-end of each idea!

Fall Fun Activity #1 – Apple Decorating Afternoon

Apple slices and caramel: the yummy fall-alternative of celery and peanut butter. Make snack-time a creative experience by challenging your kids to a decorating war! Set out the apple slices and whatever toppings that sound good to you. Caramel does not have to be the only spread; peanut butter, hazelnut spread, and honey are all good options. The great thing about apples is that they make a great base; they can go with a lot of flavors! If you’re not afraid to try some interesting combos, this could be a good way to clean out your snack cabinet!

Topping Ideas:

  1. Chocolate chips (mini ones work great)

  2. Peanuts

  3. Cinnamon sugar

  4. Sprinkles

  5. Pretzel bits

  6. Trail mix

  7. Cereal

  8. Granola

  9. Mini marshmallows

Tips and Tricks:

  1. Definitely try to use a plastic tablecloth because things can get messy!

  2. To make things easier, buy caramel in a squeeze bottle (like an ice cream topping).

  3. If you cut up the apples beforehand, store them in a ziploc bag, in the fridge, with a bit of lemon juice mixed in. This will keep the apples from getting brown.

  4. Have a wet rag handy. Caramel is deliciously sticky.

For Older Kids:

  1. Have them invite some friends over to join in the fun!

  2. Set everything up in a charcuterie board style!

  3. Have them decorate whole apples (use thicker caramel & refrigerate before slicing)

Fall Fun Activity #2 – Finger Paint Mini Pumpkins

Usually for little ones, pumpkins are just a bit too large to handle, and knives are usually out of the question. But it would feel incomplete to go through fall and not decorate pumpkins. Fingerpainting is so simple, but so fun! The novelty of using a pumpkin instead of a canvas might make your less artistically-inclined children more interested in this activity. Larger pumpkins work just as well, but using mini pumpkins offer a lot of options for different ideas. Your little ones might have fun if you name a theme for each pumpkin and then let them go wild. In no time, you’ll have an array of brightly colored decorations to place all around your home.

Pumpkin Painting Theme Ideas:

  1. Cats or dogs

  2. Your child’s favorite color

  3. A bowl of ice cream

  4. Super heroes or cartoon characters

  5. Funny faces

  6. Something spooky

Tips and Tricks:

  1. Use washable, kid-safe paint.

  2. Disposable bowls or plates make great paint palettes.

  3. Let the pumpkins dry completely before moving again.

  4. Try working together on a pumpkin, it’s a great way to bond!

  5. Make things educational by going over all the colors or counting the pumpkins!

For Older Kids:

  1. If carving a pumpkin is still a scary thought, older children can have just as much fun painting a pumpkin! Maybe get some larger pumpkins and print out stencils for them to use!

  2. Have a small assortment of brushes to use instead of fingerpainting.

  3. Find a painting to copy and have fun mixing the paints to get the exact color.

  4. Invite your child to be the paint instructor and have them “lead a class” Bob Ross-style!

Fall Fun Activity #3 – Attend A Harvest Festival

Bounce houses, apple cider, hay rides…what’s not to love about a festival? Often held on weekends, harvest/fall festivals are an easy and cheap way to spend a few hours with your family. Festivals often have tons of kid-focused games and activities that your children are sure to love! Most of the time these types of events have free admission, making this a low-cost, low-commitment trip. Consider looking for a local festival and meeting up there with some friends! We love this activity idea because it involves virtually no planning for parents. Just head over and have a great time!

Making a Festival Trip Great:

  1. Bring a wagon to tote around your ones with shorter legs and pile it with cozy blankets!

  2. Check the festival policy and see if you can bring your dog along!

  3. Pick a festival that has some interesting stuff for adults, this is your fun day too!

  4. Have any fall family photos yet? Use this as an excuse to dress nice and take a few pics!

Tips & Tricks:

  1. Look for events advertised on Facebook/Instagram.

  2. Keep an eye on stores’ bulletin boards; they typically have festival posters!

  3. If going with friends, consider carpooling to make parking go smoother.

  4. Pack a few snacks, just so you don’t buy every food item you see.

  5. Even if it’s nice out, pack a hat/gloves; if you stay long, it may cool down.

For Older Kids:

  1. Maybe they can have a friend sleep over the night before and come with you!

  2. Write down a scavenger-hunt list to use at the festival (eg. “find a hay bale” or “count the number of tractors you see”)

  3. Use this as an opportunity to get them to try something new! Could be trying a new snack or participating in a festival activity, just get them excited to branch out!

These are simply a few ideas just to get your gears turning as we celebrate the autumn season. Find ways to turn these activities into your own fun traditions! Encourage other parents to join with you in creating some special moments for your small children together.

Some parents may see this little list and become easily overwhelmed. “What if I don’t make it as fun as it looks?” “What if my kids get bored” “What if I can’t make as much time for this stuff as I should?” If these types of thoughts are running through your head, we just want you to know that you are still killing it as a parent these days. Celebrate your little milestones and remember that you can enjoy this season in your own way. Fall doesn’t have to be this picturesque, perfect time where your family magically enjoys every single moment of every day.

You can also be encouraged by the fact that autumn is not a one-time event. It does come every single year. The leaves will change colors again, apple cider will be sold in stores again, and pumpkins will take over our porches next year. Same time. Your children will have plenty of fall fun this year, as long as you are there loving them and listening to them and letting you know you care.


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