10 best fall family activities

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Fall is a season of excitement, of transition, of freshness and a new beginning. While many of us lament the end of summer, there are so many reasons to look forward to and savour the new season.

It’s beautiful, with distinct sights, smells and tastes, plus a range of fun-filled family activities to take part in, especially those that allow you to get outside, breathe in the crisp air and truly enjoy autumn in all its splendor. Celebrate fall in the Ottawa area with any of these activity ideas, while creating precious family memories.

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Go apple picking

They’re juicy, sweet and make a satisfying, nutritious snack, or can be used for any number of scrumptious treats, such as cider, jellies, jams, pies and more. And apple picking is a fantastic way to enjoy an outing to the country, even just for a day. Many orchards offer family activities such as tours and tractor or horse-drawn rides, even a petting zoo! There are many orchards in the Ottawa area. The season runs from late August to mid-October.


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Jump in the leaves

Got a yard full of leaves, and haven’t gotten around to raking them yet? Then you’ve got a ready-made fall playground! Bring the kids outside, gather the leaves into a huge pile, and go wild! Jump in, roll around, toss ‘em high in the air or start a full-on leaf fight, and heave piles of the good stuff at your loved ones. It’s a simple, timeless and endlessly thrilling fall family activity.

Go for a fall hike

Fall, with its crisp, cool air, and vibrant foliage, is perfect for hiking. And kids love to be outside, and are naturally curious, so bring them to discover some of the hiking trails in your community or at a local conservation park. Residents here in the National Capital Region are lucky to have access to the gorgeous Gatineau Park, with its stunning natural features, unique plants and wildlife, and beautiful heritage sites. Enjoying nature while spending quality family time – there’s simply nothing better.

Visit a fall fair

For many families, the highlight of the season – hands down – is heading out for an exciting day or two of rides, shows and treats at a fall fair. Whether it’s in your own community, or a much-anticipated family day trip, these fairs are the hallmark of the season. Mouth-watering food, games, midways, parades, entertainment, agricultural displays, horse and cattle shows – there’s so much for everyone in your family to enjoy. Visit www.ontariofairs.com for a list of fall fairs.

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Plan and make your own Halloween costume

Halloween is just around the corner. What will you be this year? It’s time to start figuring it out, and of course, the more creative the better. Why not make your own costumes this year? Recruit the kids for a group project – devise and create awe-inspiring Halloween costumes that will frighten, dazzle and delight! Need ideas? That’s what the Internet is for! Pinterest in particular offers plenty of easy and fun ideas for inexpensive homemade costumes.

Visit a farm

Fall is really all about enjoying good country fun that only farms can offer, such as getting happily lost in a corn maze, carefully selecting the perfect pumpkin from the patch, or taking a hay ride. And there are the shopping delights, including fresh apples, cider and those adorable miniature pumpkins.

Collect leaves

Capture the rapturous beauty of the season by collecting and preserving coloured leaves. Head to the park with the kids and have them gather a bunch of leaves. Make sure they are dry and flat, then press them between two sheets of newspaper. Place heavy books on top of the leaves and allow them to flatten and dry for 24 hours. Place your leaves in an album. Then take some time to identify them. Also check online to see the tons of fascinating crafts you can make with your leaves. There’s so much you can do!

Decorate a pumpkin

Pumpkins are not just for spooky Halloween jack-o-lanterns and other creepy-themed props. Take a family trip to your nearest farm or pumpkin patch and choose a selection of pumpkins. Have the kids help you research decorating ideas that go beyond the typical Halloween motif and create a centrepiece for the holiday table, flower arrangement, and much more.

Discover delicious fall treats

Baking is yet another time-honoured fall activity. Embrace the mood, include the kids and make some tasty fall treats at home this year. Try a traditional favourite or a new experimental recipe. Fall staples typically include old-fashioned fudge, gingerbread, pumpkin bread or pie, candy apples, and hot apple cider. Again, an online search will yield countless fall recipe ideas (even more use for those pumpkins!).

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Plan a harvest dinner

Celebrate the harvest by shopping for super fresh vegetables and fruits such as apples, pears, pumpkins, corn, and squash, and have friends and family over for a delicious meal and a lovely evening. The kids can help with the cooking and the preparations. A great chance to break out those fall decorations! Be daring and try a brand-new recipe, or cook up some seasonal


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