Fall Family Fun in Minnesota

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Fall is, I think, my favorite time of the year. Don’t get me wrong, I love having four seasons, and summer is great with its biking and grilling and swimming. But there’s just something about fall in Minnesota. That crispness in the air, apple orchards and cider, football, raking leaves into a big pile…

Since our family has a lot of fall traditions, I thought I’d share a few that have been on our “Fall Fun List” the past couple of years. They can apply to other states as well!

Free Fun:

  • Rake leaves into a pile and jump in! Just watch out for sticks–ouch!
  • Trick-or-treat on Halloween! Make your own costumes out of stuff around the house…there are tons of great ideas on Pinterest.
  • Rotate your kids’ bookshelf so the autumn ones are all easily accessible. I take this to an extreme and only put out about 20-30 books each season, and I keep the off-season ones in boxes so they are new and fun each year when they come out.
  • Go on a “leaf hike.” We found this idea in a book we read called Leaves, Leaves, Leaves! The kids can pick out their favorites and we press them or use them to decorate the house somewhere.
  • Make a pumpkin or leaf craft out of construction paper or whatever other craft items you have lying around. We usually leave our art open-ended, and I’m amazed at the creations my kids come up with.
  • Dine in the yard. Grab a blanket or a card table and eat among the falling leaves. Hot cider optional.
  • Go on a fall foliage drive. Here’s a map of the best spots in MN. This is only free if you don’t count gas money. 🙂

Cheap Fun:

  • Have an outdoor fire (if you have a fire pit or ring) and roast some hot dogs and marshmallows. Invite friends to make it even more lively!
  • Visit a local pumpkin patch and let the kids pick out their own. Then help them carve their own design (see mine from a couple of years ago above). Or paint the pumpkins!
  • Go to Sever’s Corn Maze. We go every year and have a blast! If your kids are runners, it might be good to keep them in a stroller or hold their hand…it’s easy to get lost but oh so fun!
  • Visit the Children’s Museum and go to Mickey’s afterward for lunch. Let the kids spin on the stools at the counter. 🙂
  • Visit an apple orchard and pick your own. We’ve checked out quite a few, and our favorites are Sweetland Orchard in Webster for the best, most tasty apples and Aamodt’s in Stillwater for their fun events (like the hot air balloon rides), the best kettle corn I’ve ever tasted in my life, and the attached St. Croix Vineyards (they do a grape stomp every September).
  • Use some of your apples to make caramel apples together. Yum!
  • Go to a football game! If you can’t afford the Vikings, check out a local high school team on a night they play a big rival. Guaranteed excitement!
  • Make pumpkin donuts. I’ve made these 3 times now, and they are so. good.
  • Visit the Minnesota Trail at the MN Zoo. Those Minnesotan animals like the cold weather and seem to be much more active now.
  • Attend a local Booya Festival. Local firefighters all around the state host events where they serve this. I love that they are raising their own funds and reducing taxpayer burden, and I love the stew and the event! The kids get to meet firefighters, climb in fire trucks, and they usually have other fun kids’ activities like games and bouncy castles.

What are your family’s favorite fall traditions? I’d love some things to add to our list for this year!

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