5 Family Fall Festivals to Attend this Year

fall festivals

Fall has always been my favorite time of year. I love getting out and enjoying the season, whether it be simply heading outside enoying the fall colors, a walk or out to one of the many Family Fall Festivals in and around Calgary.

I love taking the kids out to the many different festivals and events that celebrate Fall in and around Calgary. And there are definitely a lot to choose from! Pumpkin patches, corn mazes, apple festivals, harvest festivals and more. I actually didn’t realize just how many there were. I knew of the more common and popular ones but when I started researching I was surprised to find 20 or more to choose from. And there was a nice variety from free to ticketed events, days or evenings with activities that appeal to every age.

fall festivalsI was very excited about some of these and couldn’t wait to get out and attend, experiencing first hand what they were all about. Ones like the Torch Handbuilt Motorcycle Festival, the Heritage Inn International Balloon Festival and BBQ on the Bow all sounded fantastic.

We do though have our favorites. Ones that we tend to go to each year due to the fact that they appeal to everyone in the family and are very well structured family events. At each of these, there is always something of interest for everyone.

Top 5 Family Fall Festivals

Calgary Corn Maze – Autumn Pumpkin Festival & Flashlight Nights

fall festivalsThere are a number of pumpkin patch events around Calgary but the Calgary Corn Maze is currently the one closest to us. They boast pumpkin games and crafts, as well as the pumpkin explosion! (this is something you just have to see). You can also enjoy fun farm activities as well as pick your own pumpkin from the pumpkin patch to purchase and take home. Plus you can still explore the maze, which is pretty beat down by this time of year but the kids still love cruising through it!

Flashlight Nights are on Friday evenings where you navigate the maze in the dark. If you arrive early you can still take in many of the family fun events before heading into the maze. It’s super fun to navigate in the dark and definitely gives you a whole new experience.

Illuminasia at the Calgary Zoo (unfortunately this event is not running this Fall but hopefully it will return as it is a beautiful event)

The first time we attended this Illuminasia I was absolutely amazed. These handcrafted authentic Chinese Lanterns are gorgeous and definitely a sight to see. They are so beautiful as they “light up the zoo and set the stage for an experience like no other.” They fall festivalsare amazing. We went 3 times last year and enjoyed it every time. The Stage Show is not to miss as it is very well done and entertaining for all ages! It is a fantastic cultural event. There are other added activities such as Learning How a Lantern is made, musical performances, garden displays and learning about the national animals of China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam.

Heritage Park – Fall Themed Weekends

Heritage Park has always been a favorite in our family. In the fall they are open weekends only until Thanksgiving and offer different themes for each of their weekends. Events such as the Harvest Sale and Railway Days feature different family activities and events around their theme. My kids love Railway Days as we all love trains! Of course as it gets closer to Halloween they offer a great kid friendly event, Ghoul’s Night Out.

Okotoks Harvest & Blues Festival

fall festivalsThis is a weekend of concerts, exhibits & activities to celebrate harvest and blues music! There are free family activities on Saturday, that include carnival games, face painting, wagon rides and a full blues concert from the back of a flatbed truck! There are also evening concerts (ticketed events) that feature various blues performers.

Calaway Park – Halloweekends

Open weekends in the Fall, Calaway Park celebrates Halloween all season with their Halloweekends. This family friendly Fall/ Halloween event is a great way to head out of town (just a little bit) and enjoy the Fall season. Wear family friendly costumes and stroll down Hallo Street, if you dare. Enjoy tricks and treats and spooktacular rides.

These family friendly fall festivals alone will keep you busy and the kids busy every weekend til Halloween, not to mention the other great festivals that I haven’t even mentioned yet. I certainly love our favorites but I would also recommend branching out a little bit and trying something new. I kind of make it a goal each season to go to one that we haven’t been to before and see what it’s all about.

One event that is coming up this weekend is Alberta Culture Days. Celebrated around the province this a vibrant, three-day celebration with a variety of events in your area. Not having attended this one before I am looking forward to checking it out this weekend!

fall festivalsI find that there are so many opportunities to get out and explore our city and surrounding area. Not only enjoying this beautiful Fall season but also learning a little bit more about our culture, heritage and community.

What Fall events are you attending this Fall?

Spring Rally in the Alley

Spring Rally in the AlleyI always love a trip to Heritage Park and this weekend was no exception. I was excited to check out Spring Rally in the Alley an event that I discovered while researching free activities for March Break. It sounded so cool and I couldn’t wait to take the kids and find out what it was all about.

Spring Rally in the Alley runs from March 18-28 and has a variety of activities for kids 3-12. The thing that I love about this is the activities are not just a random bunch of activities they have a theme that connects them! Yes I said I theme and I love a good theme. The Rally is set up around the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy Race, which is a real international motorcycle race that happens annually in May or June around the Isle of Man. Apparently, it is a super popular race that lasts two weeks and people who want to participate have to register 3 years in advance!

Spring Rally in the AlleyThis made the Spring Rally in the Alley even more exciting. When you enter, you receive a Milestone Challenge list, which is a passport with all the activities listed on it. You complete the activities in random order and once completed you receive a different colored stamp. Once you complete all the activities or challenges and get your stamps, you come back to the front to receive a ballot to be entered for the Isle of Man prize basket.

Now I am a person who loves going from station to station and collecting my stamps. And what a great way to engage the kids because they wanted all the stamps too! It encourages you to go to every activity and at least check it out. And for me personally, it made me do the “Find the Ride” Scavenger Hunt where you had to answer trivia questions, which I wasn’t really in the mood to do, but I wanted that stamp!

Spring Rally in the AlleyI thought the activities were very well put together, with something of interest for everyone (even my 12 year old enjoyed the remote control cars, selfie and scavenger hunt). There were crafts, where you made your own Rider’s Wristband, Practice Run, where you get to drive a remote control car, and my favorite the Cycle Selfie, where you can dress up in leathers and sit on a 1975 Ducati 860GT for a photo!

Spring Rally in the AlleyChloe loved Racing Down the Isle, where you race a tricycle and learn a little trivia about the actual Isle of Man race. Even after she finished her trivia she kept riding around and around on her trike. We went back to the remote control cars twice as well as the Hill Climb, where you try and get your motorcycle up the hill and just on the edge, before it falls over the cliff.

The bonus to all this? Is Reflections in Chrome – A Motorcycle Retrospective, a temporary exhibit “that sheds a little light and insight on our love affair with these two-wheelers”, is also part of the package. Entrance to Spring Rally in the Alley also gains you entrance to these motorcycles! Featuring 40 bikes from the Canadian Vintage Motorcycle Group. And wow, I love motorcycles, so it was super cool to see the evolution of this vehicle, as well as all the shiny new ones.

Though regular winter admission rates apply to Gasoline Alley, Spring Rally in the Alley is an event I would highly recommend for the family this weekend. Kids and adults alike will become quickly engaged and excited about what this event has to offer. And even if you don’t make it out this weekend, Reflections in Chrome goes until April 24th and is definitely worth the visit! (Where you can still have your photo op on the Ducati- because seriously that is super fun)Spring Rally in the Alley

Christmas around Calgary

christmas events in calgary

One of the many things that I love about Christmas are all the fun family activities that are on to attend during this season. From crafts to critters, there is something each weekend to choose from and you’ll never run out of fun things to do!

Many of them are free, while some charge a small admission fee to get in. I love that many of them are also outside, which I think is a great way to get the kids outside and help the entire family enjoy winter! (cause let’s be honest sometimes winter is not so enjoyable). These events provide different ways for you to enjoy the holiday season, celebrating and demonstrating that there is more to Christmas than just gift giving – which I feel is important to teach the kids too.

5 Fun Christmas Events in Calgary

Every year we attend at least one but usually hit 2 or 3. Our top five holiday events in Calgary are:

Zoolights

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Zoolights

Held at the Calgary Zoo, view 1.5 million Christmas lights displayed in all shapes and forms, from animals to flowers. From late November to early January from 6 – 9 pm, children will be awed with the array of lights throughout the zoo. There are other activities for the kids as well such as snowman bowling, hay jumping (our favorite), as well as fire pits throughout to stop and warm up for a while. Hot chocolate is available for purchase, or bring a thermos of your own. There is an entrance fee for this event but it’s well worth it.

CP Christmas Train

This beautifully lighted Christmas Train rolls across Canada making stops along the way to the North Pole. It is a child’s dream come true as you watch the train pull into the station. There are crafts for the kids as well as an outdoor concert. We went for the first time a few years ago (yes it was minus 30 and yes I think we are crazy) and my kids absolutely loved it! In fact it is the only thing that they are asking specifically to go to again this year (I guess the weather did not deter them). It is a free event and a very magical experience – check the website for your local schedule (attendees are encouraged to bring a non perishable food donation).

Once Upon a Christmas

IMG_0771 - Version 2Enjoy an old fashioned Christmas at Heritage Park where you can enjoy a wagon ride, snow painting and a visit with Santa Claus. Shop the Heirloom Christmas Shoppe with unique finds at old fashioned prices! Children’s mazes, crafts and even a kids only store (that’s right no adults allowed) so your little ones can shop for you for Christmas. Our favorite here is the Christmas Train display, where you walk into a magical wonderland of model trains, zooming through Christmas villages and displays. Oh it is a sight to behold! My kids can spend hours in there watching the trains go round and round. Runs the 4 weekends before Christmas; there is paid admission to the park but you can find coupons at Safeway or First Calgary for discount on admission, which make it quite reasonable.

Christmas at the Hive

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Making beeswax candles

This event takes you out of Calgary into the outlying areas of Okotoks. Hosted by the Chinook Honey Company this free family event includes making your own beeswax candles, honey toffee, visits with the donkey, a scavenger hunt and mead tasting. My kids love making candles in the snow and of course tasting all the honey! There is also a viewing area inside where kids can see the inner workings of an actual hive and try to find the queen bee. Just a short drive out of Calgary, this is a wonderful event that runs on Saturdays in early December starting at 10 am in a beautiful rural setting.

Lion’s Festival of Lights

Largest free drive by Christmas lights display, this 115,000 LED light display lights up Confederation Park. Set up completely by volunteers this light display will wow and awe everyone young and old. It can be seen along 14 St. NW, just south of 24 Ave.

These are just a few of our favorite Christmas event in Calgary (and around). There are many others that we have not been to before that I would like to check out, like Christmas in Kensington, Christmas Skate at the Olympic Oval (Calgary Olympic Park), Christmas in Canmore; all a variety of crafts, music and activities and each a little bit different (Canmore is showing outdoor movies – super fun!). And new this year The Polar Express Train Ride! Can we say I am super excited about this one?

There are also a number of community skates and events. Sadly, we do not have a Santa Claus Parade, which I really think should be reinstituted. Yes we used to have one, and I’ve been, way back before I had kids, my husband and I went. But apparently there has not been one in Calgary since 2007. Cochrane, Banff, Airdrie, and High River all have one, I think it’s time for Calgary to have one.

christmas events in calgaryBut even without a Santa Claus parade, there are tons of activities to choose from. From outdoor events to theater – I love it! Because each weekend in December it is not what will we do this weekend? It is which event should we go to this weekend (thankfully some of these events are on during the week as well).

Don’t get me wrong, we don’t run ourselves ragged getting to all the Christmas events. I am not a big believer in getting it all in until we are exhausted and never want to see anything Christmas again. But it is nice to have the choice and variety to go out and enjoy our beautiful city, the season and our wonderful winter weather, creating more wonderful memories for years to come (even when it is -30C, cause yes we did that one year and that is the one that my children remember).

What are some favorite holiday/ Christmas events that you attend?

How many Christmas Carols do you know?

Christmas-Carols-Origin-and-History-1Happy December 1st! Ok it is the second but it is the official kick off of the holiday season!

I get very excited for December 1st as usually I work hard in November to get gifts bought, cards written and baking done so that the kids and I can enjoy all the festive holiday events that are in December. There seems to be a multitude of them from Christmas parties to community events around the city. We never seem to be able to hit them all, though we try!, but at best hit at least one new one (we’re going to the Christmas train this year for the first time!) as well as attending some of our favorites; such as Zoolights and Once Upon a Christmas at Heritage Park.

We also have a little tradition at our house called December 1st gifts, which is something my Dad started years ago, which is just a small inexpensive gift that is given to enjoy the festivities a little more. Like a holiday coffee, festive candles, or a Santa hat. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Also on December 1st we start a Christmas Carol Challenge at our house, which Matthew and I began 2 years ago. Starting December 1st we sing a different Christmas Carol each day until Christmas. The challenge is not sing the same song twice (and singing by a different artist same sone doesn’t count – ha ha); so though easy at first eventually requires some thought.

It’s fun though because we end up expanding our holiday song repetoire, looking up Christmas songs and learning the words. We even learn the words to some of the songs we think we know! Because as I am sure you can relate, there are some Christmas songs out there that are popular and well known but we only know the first verse.

So we print out the words for everybody and sing the song together and it’s lots of fun. We pick the same time each day to do it. The past couple of years being when we walked to the bus for school, but since Matthew walks on his own to school now, we have decided to do it at dinnertime. The twins love it too as they love singing and learning lots of songs lately.

Each year I invite my readers to join us in the challenge to see how many different Christmas Carols we can find. It is also a great way to share and learn some new songs we may not know. Plus you’ll have a blast doing it!

So I invite you to join the challenge with us this year and post each day on the Momma on the Move Facebook page what carol you sang that day. Hope to ‘see’ you there!

Happy Carolling!

 

Crunchy Broccoli and Feta Salad

One of the things I love about summer (I know it’s not quite summer yet, but it’s on my mind), is all the comings and goings, the possibilities and options of places to go and see and explore. There is so much to do that you can easily be gone all day everyday if you chose to.

I love taking the kids out whether it be to the zoo, Heritage Park or checking out a new park in the city. One of the challenges and things I really don’t enjoy so much, is packing lunch for the day. Snacks are easy enough but I find that peanut butter sandwiches are only exciting for so long and then we need something new. I also like things that are ready to grab and go so packing lunch takes no time at all. I also like variety; so salads, things with vegetables and different flavours and textures. Makes the trip more enjoyable cause you’re looking forward to lunch, and life more exciting!

So I usually prepare ahead of time and freeze, muffins and cookies to take or other meals that are easy to make ahead and just grab the day of. That’s why I was very excited when I discovered this broccoli salad recipe. It’s fresh, crisp, has a zippy flavour and is lovely on a summer day. Plus I love feta cheese! and though I am dairy free, I discovered that goat feta is ok for me as it is not considered dairy as it does not come from a cow. (And if it makes a difference to you make sure you check the label when you are buying it – I had no idea that you could have cow feta until someone pointed it out to me, I just assumed they were all goat). Which I say thank God to that! Cause I love feta!

Crunchy Broccoli and Feta Salad

1 bunch broccoli

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp wine vinegar

2 tsp dijon mustard

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 tsp. each sea salt and pepper

1 cup crumbled feta cheese (I use goat feta as it is considered a non-dairy because it does not come from a cow)

1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 c. red onion, very thinly sliced

Cut broccoli into florets. Peel and cut stems into 1/4″ thick slices.

Pour enough water into saucepan to come 1″ up side and bring to a boil. Place broccoli in steamer basket in saucepan; cover and steam until bright green but still crisp – about 1 minute. (Do not overcook! I have made the mistake a couple of times of leaving it too long and ended up with mushy broccoli and it does not taste so good in the salad. One minute is really all you need). Drain water.

In a large bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper. Add broccoli, feta, tomatoes and onion. Toss to coat.

Can be made a head and refrigerated.

The Ultimate Blog Party

Welcome! I am very excited to be joining the Ultimate Blog Party 2013 for the first time this year! I think this is a great opportunity to get out there and connect with other bloggers while sharing the things that you love, including your own blog! Thank you to Janice and Susan of 5 Minutes for Mom for hosting this fabulous event.

Ultimate Blog Party 2013

If you are new to Momma on the Move I’d like to thank you for stopping by and for those of you who are returning welcome back. It is a pleasure to have you all here.

My name is Carmen and I have 3 beautiful children, 3 year old boy/ girl twins and an older son. I grew up on the East Coast and have a deep love for the ocean. I love the outdoors, to travel, explore new places and to get out there and enjoy and embrace life!

Luke and Chloe

Things are very busy at our house with the kids daily activities and the dietary choices we have made. We have gone sugar and dairy free at our house due to allergies and intolerances and though I have found the no dairy to be easy, going sugar free was honestly, a nightmare! Sugar is in everything! But it can be done and now I am very comfortable with making the right natural substitutions and believe that our overall health is better for it.

Matthew

I started blogging because I love to write, share stories and help people. I find that there are so many things to share and explore, as life is a story. My oldest son said to me one day when we were out “Mom you like to take a lot of pictures.” I looked at him and smiled and said, “Matthew, everything is a blog post.” Which it is! Everywhere we go and everything we do can translate into a helpful blog piece for my audience. Whether it be our adventures at Heritage Parktraveling through BC or new sugar/ dairy free recipes that I have found, it is all a possible post to share.

I tend to write about parenting topics, how to take time for yourself, kids activities and crafts as well as recipes. It’s fun! I love it and I love to share with everyone what I know.

I like creating a community where we can share, interact and learn from each other. Plus it’s stretched me in the world of technology as well!

Now that you’re here, sit down grab a cup of coffee and take a look around. Let me know what your favorite posts are, what you’d like to see more of. Leave a comment sharing with me who you are and where I can find you so we can connect and get to know each other. I’m looking forward to visiting everyone’s sites and making new friends.

Here are some of my favorite posts:

Firewalking

Firewalking

Christmas Carol Challenge

Luke and Chloe’s First Trip to the Dentist

Natural Sugar Substitutes

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cereal Squares

Enjoy! See you at the party!

 

Let’s stay connected! Here’s where you can find me

Facebook

Twitter

Christmas Craft Ideas for Kids

Over the past month the little ‘elves’ have been busy at our house making their Christmas crafts. Experimenting with googley eyes, glitter and cotton balls, they have created some wonderful wintery and Christmas crafts to add to the decor of our home.

Matthew's Christmas Reindeer

Since Christmas is a holiday that most of us begin celebrating early in December (and for some even sooner in November -or the die hards right after Halloween :); it allows us lots of time to get ready and enjoy the season. Whether it be through games, activities, Christmas shopping and events or crafts, there is lots to do.

Luke and Chloe have really been enjoying making crafts this year and our nanny has created some wonderful crafts for them to make that use their developing skills and aid in their development of motor skills and creativity.

Chloe is very diligent and careful when she makes her crafts and though Luke is careful too, he tends to be a little ‘freer’ with his creations. One of the first crafts they made was a Santa Claus handprint, with googley eyes and sparkles that can be strung to hang on the tree as a Christmas ornament.

Another one was a snowman on a glittery snowy background complete with hat and scarf. They enjoyed them both and were very easy for them to do.

Santa Handprint Ornament

red foam sheet

white foam sheet

googley eyes

gold and red glitter glue

scissors

string

Trace child’s hand on red foam sheet and again on white foam sheet. Cut both pieces out (depending on the age of the child adult may need to cut out the handprints). Cut the white handprint in half and place on bottom half of red handprint to create beard. Cut out a white strip long enough to go across the top of the red hand between the thumb and the rest of the hand to make fur on hat. Cut out small circle for pom pom on hat and place at the end of the red thumb. Glue on googley eyes. Cut out small mouth out of red foam, Decorate with red and gold glitter glue. Put a string through the top of the red foam hand to  hang on tree.

Wintery Snowman

black, orange, green and white construction paper

silver glitter glue

pom poms

ribbon

glue

scissors

Cut one sheet of black construction paper in half. Cut 3 circles, the same size out of the white construction paper. Cut a small square out of the green construction paper (for hat). Glue the white circles sitting one on top of the other to build snowman on one of the halves of black construction paper. Glue on googley eyes on top circle to make face, add orange triangle from construction paper for nose. Use glitter glue to draw mouth. Use pieces of ribbon to make scarf for snowman and for brim on hat. Glue on. Use silver glitter glue on background of snowman (on black construction paper) to create ‘snow’. Add child’s name, if desired on right hand side of snowman.

Chloe gluing her bear puppet

When we went to Heritage Park for their Once Upon a Christmas event they had some great crafts there too. Matthew made a clothespin reindeer and the twins each made a puppet out of an old Christmas card. This was a really simple idea where they traced a pattern onto an old Christmas card (they chose a bear), then we cut it out and glued it onto a popsicle stick. Not only is this a great use for old Christmas cards but Luke and Chloe loved it! They picked the card they wanted to use and after I helped with the cutting, they glued on the stick. Chloe got a little over zealous and decided to eat the glue, not sure why kids do that, I never did – but she finished her craft in the end.

There are a plethora of creative ideas out there for Christmas crafts for all ages such as paperplate snowmen, handprint wreaths and reindeer puppets. The ideas are endless and it is easy to create your own crafts as well. Here are some of my favorite links for more Christmas crafts and ideas.

Make your own snowglobe

Pipecleaner Snowflakes

Enchanted Learning

DLTK crafts

Enjoy and happy crafting as you enjoy this holiday season!

 

Once Upon a Christmas

One of the things that I love about Christmas is all the activities and events that surround the holiday. There are craft fairs, carol sings, Christmas parties and many community events that you can choose to participate in to celebrate the season. There is something for everyone, depending on what you like to do.

One of my favorite events is Heritage Park’s Once Upon a Christmas, that runs every weekend starting late November for the 4 weeks prior to Christmas. This is a wonderful family event that includes all kinds of activities for kids and adults alike. They offer kids crafts, visits with Santa, carolers, plays, wagon rides, mazes and a ‘Kids Only’ Store where parents are not allowed to enter with their children. This year they added firepits placed throughout the park, which are great places to cozy up and have a chat and warm up by the fire.

There is so much to do there that it is easy to spend the day. The challenge is that most of it is outside so you have to be to dress for the weather and be prepared to be outside. So for me I always choose a mild weekend to go with the kids. It is much more enjoyable for everyone and we can stay longer and enjoy what the park has to offer.

As this turned out to be a mild weekend, I decided to pack up the kids Sunday morning and head out. Though it was a bit of a challenge to get us all out the door (and I would have prefered to have left half an hour earlier than we did), we made it there with a packed lunch, hot chocolate and gingerbread cookies, dressed and ready to go.

Luke and Chloe love Heritage Park so I had no trouble convincing them to go, in fact they chatted about it the day before hoping to see the “choo choo train”, which only runs in the summertime, but I told them we would ‘check’. Matthew enjoys the park as well and though he had mixed feelings about going easily went out the door.

I always hit the wagon rides first, as the line for that tends to get long as the day goes on. Plus Chloe loves horseys, so was looking forward to it. Chloe was beaming and smiling and pointing things out, while Luke was just taking it all in.

Matthew's Christmas Reindeer

We ventured to the kids crafts where Matthew made a clothespin reindeer and Luke and Chloe made little puppets out of old Christmas cards and popsicle sticks. This area is really well set up, as there is a selection of craft ‘kits’ that the kids can choose from to make their craft and there are lots of volunteers on hand to help the kids out. For the younger children they have coloring sheets and the puppets as options.

Matthew really wanted to hit the Kids Only Store as he went for the first time last year and really enjoyed the freedom of shopping on his own and spending some money 🙂 We also saw Santa and went to the petting zoo.

Luke petting the sheep

The highlight for me though was definitely the Christmas Model Railway, housed in the pool hall. It is one of those as soon as you walk in you go “Wow”; as it really is a Christmas wonderland. There are at least 3 or 4 trains going around this beautiful Christmas scene, villages and houses, lights and trees. I love it because I have always loved trains, and the magical Christmas scenes. I have no idea why I love trains so much, but I think they are cool, especially the model railways that go around and around all by themselves. Which is interesting cause that’s all it does is go around and around- but I could watch it for hours. The railway was really well done; on loan from some private collectors, it was a beautiful site.

The Christmas Railway

We chowed down on peanut butter sandwiches and carrot sticks on a bench outside Gunn’s Dairy Barn and enjoyed homemade hot chocolate, made with fresh almond milk (very easy to make your own), cacao, and spices, as well as homemade gingerbread cookies (sugar and dairy free of course). It was a bright sunny day with clear blue skies, a perfect wintery day, with the air of Christmas all around.

After walking and exploring we headed home, tired but satiated and satisfied with our Christmas adventures. Who knows where we’ll go next?

Fall Activities for Kids

Fall is my favorite time of year. The vibrant colors, the leaves changing on the trees. I often find a sense of renewal and excitement in the fall. Change and new beginnings, an expectation of things to come. Now I know that spring is typically the time for renewal and new things but for some reason this applies more to me in the Fall. There is just something about the energy, the way the warm sun glints through the trees, the crisp cool mornings, and the cozy afternoons. It’s magical, inviting and I look forward to it every year.

Pumpkin Spice Latte

I also enjoy all the activities that you can do in the Fall with the kids, the Fall recipes like warms hearty stews, specialty coffees like Pumpkin Spice Lattes, the bonfires, the festivals. It creates a warmth, a coziness and welcoming feeling that I love. It’s the time of year that I start to light more candles and fill my house with scents of pumpkin, cinnamon and cloves. It’s also a great time of year to be outside enjoying the warm sunny autumn afternoons.

One of my favorite things to do in Fall is to just go for a walk, letting the kids explore and play in the leaves. The leaves are the best part of Fall. Whether we are kicking them up and dancing with them as they blow in the wind or gathering them for crafts and decorations for later. And I still love jumping in them! When I was growing up my sisters and I would love raking up the leaves, piling them high and jumping in them. Now as a parent and adult I love to jump in the leaves with my kids.

Taking the kids out for a walk is a great opportunity for them to not only have some fun but to teach them to learn about and appreciate their natural environment. There are lots of simple activities you can do while you’re out with very little equipment. If you bring a few items with you such as a magnifying glass, some paper, crayons, pencils and a cloth bag, this will get you started.

Many of these activities will engage kids of all ages. Here are some of my favorites:

Tree & Leaf Rubbings

Leaf Rubbings

Have the children pick a tree, then take a piece of paper and a crayon. Put the paper up against the bark of the tree and then gently rub over the paper with their crayon. Younger children may need assistance holding their paper. Once they are finished they can leave the tree rubbing on it’s own or then add to it and make it part of another picture. They can also do leaf rubbings with leaves they have found on the ground, but will need a flat surface to do the rubbing. If there is nothing close by then take the leaves home and they  can do the leaf rubbings there.

More Leaf Fun…

Have the kids gather a variety of leaves, different shapes, sizes and colors. (Please note to get the children to take the leaves off the ground not off the trees!) The kids will love gathering them and it is an easy way for them to explore and teach them about the different kinds of trees. Take a moment to help them figure out which leaves belong to which trees. If you aren’t familiar with which trees are which, you can get a tree identification book from the library. With young children only talk about one or two, with older more.

With their gathered leaves they can also make a bouquet to put in a vase and use as a centerpiece on your table, or cut a circle out of cardboard and glue the leaves on to make a  leaf wreath.

They can trace their leaves on construction paper using different colors, cut them out then decorate their room or a part of the house. Also using construction paper they could make their own Autumn tree by cutting out a trunk and glueing the leaves on the branches or creating leaf people out of their leaves. Younger children may need help with cutting.

Find a Tree

This is an environmental game that I do with all ages of children, from my 2 year old twins to the Leaders in Training who are 12-14. You can adjust it accordingly depending on the age of the children but the premise is the same. In partners, one is blindfolded and the other leads their partner to a tree. While blindfolded they explore the tree using their other senses. Touch, smell, etc. Once they feel that they have explored the tree thoroughly then the partner takes them back to where they started, removes the blindfold. The blindfolded partner then goes and sees if they can find their tree. With younger children use a small area with only a few trees to choose from with older you can use a larger area to make it more challlenging.

Fall Festivals

On the Jumping Pillow at the Calgary Corn Maze

Many communities Fall Festival celebrations, from pumpkin patches to hayrides, corn mazes and barbeques. We have a variety here in Calgary, from the Calgary Corn Maze, where they have a petting zoo, jumping pillow and corn cannons; to events at Heritage Park such as the Harvest Sale and Railway Days. Check out your local community events to find something that speaks to you.

Other Crafts and Activities

Twig Fairy

There are so many materials in the natural environment, especially in the Fall, to create all kinds of wonderful crafts and activities. When gathering materials for crafts please encourage the children to take things from the ground (whether it be leaves, pine cones, etc.) and not from the live trees and plants as this could damage or kill them. There are great crafts such as twig fairies, autumn looms (to display all the natural treasures they find), word searches and coloring pages. Just GoogleFall Activities and Crafts’ and all kinds of great websites will come up. Some of my favorite sites are Enchanted Learning and Family Fun.

Fall is a beautiful season, so get out and explore it, let the kids fill a bag of goodies (natural items) and then come home and see what you can do with them. Encourage the kids to create their own crafts and games from what they have found. It is a wonderful time to be creative and use their imagination and they’ll be learning about the natural world and all she has to offer at the same time!