SIMPLE & EASY fall activities for kids
While I do love to craft, long elaborate crafts with toddlers is just not my idea of fun. For fall family fun fun, I prefer outdoor activities, easy snacks my toddler and I can make together, and the SIMPLEST of crafts.
I hope this compilation of fall activities helps you plan your October and November. Fun can be simple, y’all! And, mama… DO NOT TRY TO DO ALL OF THESE! Do as many (or as few) as your calendar/brain/patience allows. You’re doing great!
17 Outside Fall Toddler Activities
It’s finally not a bajillion degrees here in the South, so we are trying to spend as much time as possible outside! Just being outside in general has so many benefits for your body, mind, and soul; get your family out there! What else would you add to this list?
- Visit an apple orchard: Take the whole family to the apple orchard! Talk about how apples grow, describe color, size, and shape. Take a few different types of apples home and have a taste test (as described in the snack section).
- Visit a pumpkin patch: Find a local pumpkin patch or any place where different types of pumpkins are sold. Compare pumpkin colors, sizes, and shapes. Choose a few pumpkins to take home for decorating, crafting, and carving.
- Visit a Farmer’s Market: Take a trip to the local Farmer’s Market. Walk the aisles and talk about the vegetables and fruit that you see: color, size, shape, texture, and taste. Buy your fruits and veggies for the week: let your toddler help! They can do so much more than we give them credit for: pick out the veggies, bag them, sit them on the counter, and carry a few to the car. Tip: Pick out a veggie/fruit you don’t have often and have it for a snack (or with a meal) when you get home!
- Visit a park/playground: Visit a favorite park, or find a new park to visit. Make it a goal to visit a new park every weekend. Pack a snack or lunch and have a picnic.
- Go on a family hike or walk: This doesn’t have to be extravagant! You can take a day trip somewhere or walk on a nearby trail near your house. As you walk, describe using all of your senses: what do you see? hear? smell? Have your toddler describe (with the words they have) what they see using their senses. Let them collect treasures along the way. Go at their pace (or, go SOME of the trail at their pace… haha!). Toddlers like to take in details, let them teach you how to slow down.
- Walk downtown in your town or a nearby town: Toddlers love exploring; they are naturally curious. Find somewhere new to explore, and, once again, talk to your toddler about what you’re doing and what you see, and (again) try to go slowly for part of the walk and allow your toddler to set the pace.
- Go on a nature scavenger hunt: Get your kids outside on a nearby walking trail or woodsy area and complete a nature scavenger hunt (download my FREE fall scavenger hunt PDF)
- Identify trees around your house. Get one of these plant-identifying apps to help! Or better yet, borrow a plant book from your local library!
- Fall yard work: rake leaves, jump in the piles, repeat (or help your dad rake them into the street for city leaf pickup, or pile them up and burn them, depending on where you are) You can involve your toddler in yard work; they love to have useful work! Have them pick up sticks, acorns, sweep the driveway, whatever needs to be done.
- Water the mums: You probably have a few mums on your porch; let your toddler water them!
- Collect leaves: sort by color, size, or shape, then display them inside as decoration, or use them in a craft (see my simple craft list below).
- Collect rocks: Collect rocks from your yard, woods, or while on a walk and paint them! You can even leave them for others to find (at a park, on a walking trail, etc…).
- Create out of nature: Make shapes, numbers, letters, or a picture out of sticks, leaves, rocks, acorns, etc… Readers/writers can write their names or words. For pre-readers, you could draw the shape/letter/number in sidewalk chalk and have the child lay the items on the lines to form the shapes!
- Go on a bug hunt: Take magnifying glasses outside and search the grass and tree for bugs and other tiny parts of nature! Bonus tip: Identify the bugs with the Big Book of Bugs!
- Have a bonfire: Sit around a fire, sing songs, cuddle up, roast marshmallows, make s’mores, and have fun!
- Bob for apples: There’s definitely no guarantee that your toddler will actually GET an apple, but a *family* game of bobbing for apples would be so much fun to do and watch! (Why and how did we ever do this as a church fall festival activity, y’all!? GROSS! haha!) Tip: Cut the apples into wedges to make it easier for little toddlers to grab them!
- Carve pumpkins: Carve pumpkins outside (or inside)! Your toddler can’t actually carve yet, but they can choose a face (or picture) for you to carve, and they can have loads of fun exploring the insides of a pumpkin. Be sure to use the real words for the parts of a pumpkin as you explore! (Feel free to save the seeds and roast for those over 4, otherwise, they’re a choking hazard; an alternative would be to save them for a simple craft below)
10 Simple Fall Snacks to make with your toddler
These are yummy snacks that you and your toddler can make together! They’re so easy you can’t mess them up! Pull them up a chair to stand on and let them scoop, pour, and mix! A little mess is good for everyone- especially when there’s something yummy afterwards!
*Note: Depending on the age and ability of your toddler, you may have to modify these snacks to make them safe for them to eat. Be knowledgeable, safe, and prepared when it comes to feeding your child!
- Apple taste test snack: get some different types of apples at the grocery store (take your toddler with you), and have a taste test. Describe the apples as you taste them using words like “sweet”, “crunchy”, and “sour”. Have each family member choose a favorite apple. You could even have a family vote for the best apple!
- Apple cookies: I saw these on Naptime Kitchen’s Instagram– brilliant. You take cross-sections of an apple, apply a spread like peanut butter, hazelnut spread, and cream cheese, and then add a topping like sprinkles, chocolate chips, nuts, raisins, coconut, or granola. YUMMO! Let your kiddo apply the spread and toppings!
- Fall snack mix: This looks so yummy! You can make this snack mix anyway you choose. I like to take cereals/snacks that are at the end of their lives and throw them together for my snack mixes. Throw in some fall-themed candy like candy corn and you’re good to go!
- 2 ingredient pumpkin muffins: These are so stinkin’ yummy and EASY, y’all! Make regular muffins for breakfast or mini-muffins to snack on. Spice cake mix is sometimes hard to find, but no worries if you can’t find it- use this recipe that calls for yellow cake mix and spices instead.
- Pumpkin patch in a cup: I just love a quick, fun snack! You could make this even easier by just putting some pumpkin candies in a pudding cup!
- Instant Pot Applesauce: Homemade applesauce is the.best. Help your toddler use an apple slicer, and then a toddler-safe knife to cut the apples into pieces for this recipe!
- Apple nachos: These are like the apple cookies from above, but the apples are cut in wedges! Drizzle on chocolate and caramel, sprinkle with toppings and voila- a yummy snack!
- Apple dippers: So many fun apple recipes! These are apple wedges on skewers, dipped in chocolate and toppings. Count me in, y’all!
- Spider crackers: I’m not a fan of spiders, but I know my son would love making these spider crackers to scare me! You just need 4 ingredients for these: round crackers, a spread like cream cheese or nut butter, dried fruit for the eyeballs, and pretzel sticks!
- Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels: I’ve never thought about adding anything to pretzels, but I’m IN, y’all! You could even add some pumpkin spice for an (even more) seasonal variation!
13 Easy Fall Toddler Crafts
- Felt sticker pumpkins: I’ve seen this one a few places over the years; it’s so simple and I love it! We went to a local farmer’s market to buy a few smaller pumpkins (for play), and on the way home we stopped at the Dollar Store to see what Halloween-y things they had. We grabbed some fun felt stickers and voila- instant craft. My son loved “deck-e-ating” the “pump pumps” and finding a place to display them! You can use felt stickers, foam stickers, or regular stickers; I’ve just found that felt and foam are easier for little hands!
- Face-sticker pumpkins: These stickers are so stinking cute. Remove the background sticker (what’s normally left after you take the stickers off), and/or fold up the edges of the stickers so your little one can get them off. You can use these stickers on foam pumpkins (I found some at Walmart this year), or small real/plastic pumpkins.
- Do-a-dot pumpkins: You can decorate your pumpkins with anything you like! We love do-a-dot makers! It would be so easy and cute to make polka-dotted pumpkins!
- Creature googly-eye gluing: I wanted my son to do some gluing practice, and I wanted a fast, easy activity, so I added some googly eyes to my grocery pick-up and (very- amateurly) drew some Halloween-y creatures. He loved gluing on the eyeballs and it made for some cute playroom art! Tip: To prevent gobs of glue, squirt the liquid glue into a shallow dish and have the toddler use a paintbrush to apply glue! Keep a damp cloth close by to wipe hands.
- Pumpkin Beaded Pipe Cleaners: Have your toddler string some beads onto a pipe cleaner and shape it into a pumpkin! Great fine-motor practice and oh so simple!
- Washable Marker Leaf Prints: This is such a simple way of making leaf prints that I’ve never seen. We are definitely going to be trying this soon; the prints look so pretty!
- Leaf Rubbing: Collect some leaves on your family walk or use the leaves from your Fall Scavenger Hunt to make some leaf rubbings. Display the pictures for easy fall decor!
- Easy leaf wreath: Have your toddler collect some more leaves, cut a hole in the center of a paper plate for them, and show them how to glue the leaves to the plate. Pro-tip: Press the leaves in books before you glue them to plates!
- Pumpkin and rubber bands (or Pinecones and rubberbands): This is a great hand-strengthening activity! Give your toddler some rubber bands and a small pumpkin or pine cone; allow them to stretch the bands around the pumpkin/pine cone (obviously forego this activity if you are uncomfortable with your toddler using rubber bands).
- Leaf cutting tray: Set up a leaf-cutting station with leaves and a few different pairs of scissors. Let your little one go to town! I learned a fabulous tip from Beth at DayWithGrey.com: put a smiley face on your little’s thumb fingernail to help with scissor grip; remind them that they should always be able to see the smiley face!
- Corn/seed gluing: Let your little one practice gluing and get more familiar with shapes/numbers/letters at the same time! Draw or write something on a piece of paper and have your toddler glue corn or seeds on top of the lines of the shape/number/letter (or even their name)!
- Pumpkin hammering: We tried this, you guys, and my 2.5 year old LOVED it. HE loves anything and all things to do with hammers, so this was right up his alley. I had to get the tees started, and then he hammered away! I think it would be easier with a larger pumpkin and/or real nails.
- Apple stamping: Cut an apple in half and examine the inside with your toddler. Stamp with one half of the apple (tip: use a corn cob holder to hold the apple!). Cut the other half of the apple into wedges for a yummy snack!
There you go, my friends! I hope you get to try some of these outdoor activities, snacks, and crafts, and that they add some extra fun to your family’s fall! Let me know what you tried in the comments; can’t wait to hear from you!
Lots of love,
November 8, 2020
Great ideas! / Cason and I went for a walk, rather jog yesterday on family land. He runs the trail while I try to keep up. He spotted white tipped pine cones along the way! It was a fun time! Small moments are some of the best ones!
November 12, 2020
I love that! What a great way to burn off some energy, spend time in nature, and spend time together! And ABSOLUTELY to “small moments”!!