Fall Bucket List

A few months ago, a friend of mine posted a picture on Facebook of her “Summer Bucket List.” Her list included things like, “Go to a splash pad. Eat a picnic dinner in the park. Make homemade ice cream.” While I’ve seen bucket lists used for “life goals” before, I’d never seen them used for a shorter span of time. What a fun idea!

One thing that I have been struggling with is how to make each moment count. Social media can make it very easy to compare my life with the lives of others, and when I’m looking through the highlights reel of someone else’s life, my world can feel pretty mundane. However, I have to remind myself that what I see on social media is just a glimpse into someone else’s life – not the big picture. I should be focusing more on making my own life as awesome as it can be without comparing it to others’!

Because of this revelation, I have been trying to do more fun, memory-making activities with my kids. Some of the things we have done have been big family excursions, but they don’t necessarily have to be. Since Harper’s birth, we’ve had to keep things low key. I’m always amazed when the memories my older kids seem to cherish the most are moments that I didn’t think twice about.

With all this in the back of my head, I decided to create a bucket list of my own for fall. Now that we’re nearing Thanksgiving I’ve been able to check off quite a few of these! While some of these are activities that require you to “go and do” (and thereby may have a cost attached) others are inexpensive, simple things that you can do at home (my favorite).

Fall Bucket List

1. Visit an apple orchard. This is one of my favorite fall activities to do. It is a yearly tradition for us to travel up to Michigan near family and visit Yates Cider Mill. I can smell the donuts and cider just thinking about it! Unfortunately it doesn’t look like we’ll be going this year, but I am looking forward to in the years to come!

2. Bake a pie. I am not much of a baker, but my perfect picture of fall includes pie. I think I’m going to give this rustic apple galettes recipe a try! I’ll be sure to share about the recipe if it turns out!

3. Pick your own pumpkins. For several years this has been a traditional fall activity for us (I love looking back on the pictures from our yearly visits and watch how my kids grow and change from year to year!). We love hauling our cart through the pumpkin fields in search of the perfect pumpkin, taking our pumpkins home, and decorating with them.

4. Carve pumpkins. Although Halloween has come and gone, this is still a timeless fall activity that cannot be forgotten. If you feel like jack-o-lanterns are too “October,” look online for ideas that are more Thanksgiving-related. If want your pumpkins to last longer, check out these “no carve” options.

5. Watch a football game. Whether you are enjoy watching a football game on a big screen TV or go out to support your local high school team, fall football games are a time-honored fall tradition. While football isn’t my favorite, who doesn’t love the tail-gating food?

6. Jump in the leaves.  My kids love to jump in the leaves when I’m raking!  Unfortunately, we’ve had a lot of rain in my area lately, so the leaves aren’t very fluffy this year.  I’m hoping things will dry out a little before all the raking is done so my kids can enjoy this activity this year!

7. Bake pumpkin bread. I don’t know about you, but I love how the house smells when I’m baking something delicious. One of my favorite fall recipes is this pumpkin bread recipe. The best part about this recipe as that it doesn’t include sugar, yet it still tastes delicious!

8. Bonfire and s’mores. There’s nothing like a warm fire on a cold night. Add in a delicious sticky treat, and I can’t think of a better way to end the day!

fall bucket list

9. Make caramel apples.  My kids love caramel apples! There are multiple ways to make them (either melting premade caramels or making your own caramel from scratch), but no matter what they are delicious. We like to add toppings to the apples; crushed Oreo cookies, M&Ms, nuts, and drizzled chocolate are some of our favorites.

10. Visit a corn maze.  Corn mazes are a great activity especially for older kids. Nothing is more fun that making it into a competition – who can get to the end first!

11. Make pumpkin pie play dough. This would be a perfect recipe to use on a cold, rainy day when the kids are getting stir crazy. Say, Thanksgiving break?! If you prefer, you could also add in a few drops of your favorite essential oils in place of the spices.

12. Go on a hayride. Many pumpkin patches and apple orchards offer hayrides as part of the whole “farm experience.” These are great for little ones who might not be able to do the walking attached to other activities. Last year we went with our church community group and it turned out to be a wonderful time!

fall bucket list

13. Donate to a food bank. As Thanksgiving approaches, many churches and businesses host food drives for local homeless shelters and food banks. This is a great way to give back to the community and is very easy to do. Check online to see what churches or businesses in your area are collecting food this year (keep in mind that typically these food drives collect non-perishable items only).

14. Make a list of things you are thankful for.  In past years, my family has made a verbal list of things we are thankful for during the Thanksgiving season. However, I found this really creative idea to make a “Thanksgiving chain.” The kids can help fill in the things they are thankful for, put the chain together, and we can use it as décor for Thanksgiving. What a great way to reflect on the things that really matter!

15. Drink hot apple cider. Whether fresh made or bought by the gallon at the grocery store, there’s something so perfectly comforting about a warm cup of apple cider on a chilly day.

16. Try a new soup recipe. As I’ve said before, I’m a Pinterest lover! There are a billion soup recipes on Pinterest. Open your pantry, see what you already have and make some soup with it!

17. Read books about autumn. Our local public library has a great selection of books, and is a resource that we frequently utilize. If you feel intimidated about locating seasonal books with all of the options available, just ask one of your friendly librarians for help. Awhile back we had a blast making painted hand turkeys from a book we have in our library at home!

18. Make leaf prints. This is a great activity to do with younger kids! There are two ways to do this – one is a little more messy than the other. You can either put paper over a leaf and, using a crayon on its side, and make a leaf rubbing. Or, you can paint the leaves lightly with paint and press than down on paper. A few years ago we made leaf garland with some paper leaves that we decorated. I still have it, and hang it up every fall!

Fall bucket list

19. Volunteer at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter.  As the weather gets cold, those without a home turn inwards, causing homeless outreach programs to become more stretched. By taking the time to volunteer with one of these programs, you not only help those who are running the program, but have the opportunity to provide hope into the life of someone who may desperately need it. Check online for opportunities in your community.

20. Host a chili cook-off.  Some friends of ours host a chili cook-off every year. This provides an opportunity to try out some great new recipes, as well as a chance to try something new ourselves. Not only that, but it allows us to get together with old friends and catch up on life. This is an event my family really looks forward to!

21. Go on a hike.  The trees are absolutely gorgeous this time of year!  Pops are red, orange, and yellow are everywhere you look. With the mild temperatures and great scenery, fall is the perfect time to enjoy the great outdoors. Hiking not your thing? Take a walk along a local bike trail or around your neighborhood to enjoy the colors!

fall bucket list

22. Make homemade hot cocoa.  Last winter, I discovered crockpot hot cocoa. Not only is it super easy to make (as is almost everything in the crock pot!), but it is creamy and delicious. Add a few marshmallows on the top, a drop of peppermint essential oil, or a candy cane for a special twist.

23. Visit a farm with animals.  In the fall, many farms host special child-centered events featuring animals. Check online to see what is available in your area. Visiting animals is always a hit with the kids!

Cows on a Farm

24. Take family photosEvery fall, my clan has family pictures taken. Even though I’m pretty sure that I am the only person to enjoy this yearly tradition, all of us love looking back on the pictures we’ve had taken in the past. It’s such a fun way to document how our family has grown over the years, and the kids love seeing how much bigger they are from year to year. Plus it’s great to have a new picture for your Christmas cards every year!

photo credit: The Carrs Photography

25. Sort through your closet.  That doesn’t sound like very much fun, does it? However, fall in a great time to go through your old clothes and see what doesn’t fit or what you no longer wear.  These clothes can be donated to local ministries or homeless outreach programs. Last year, I discovered a the online consignment store, ThredUP and I actually made money cleaning out my closet!

Looking at all of these ideas, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed – especially since we are already well into November. However, just consider your family’s needs, available time, available resources, and pick out a few things that could still be attainable! Don’t miss an opportunity to make every moment count!

So what about you? What are some fall activities that are on your bucket list? Have you checked off any or all of my fall-inspired activities yet?

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About Laurie

I'm a Child of God, wife, mother of 4, wellness advocate and writer. This blog is a journal of my days, a collection of my recipes and crafts, and hopefully, a platform for all families to share their ideas, encouragement, inspiration and advice! I'm striving to "bloom where I am planted". Don't wait until things are "perfect" to begin sharing your gifts. We are all part of one giant puzzle—don't be a missing piece!

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