DIY Festive Fall Projects: There Is Something For Every Age With These Fun Activities

Ah, autumn. It’s here, and along with cooler temperatures, life has a little more structure.  Children are back in school, life starts feeling faster, and everyone gears up for the coming holiday seasons – first Halloween, then Thanksgiving. Lots to do in the coming months, that’s for sure.

In the meantime, however, there are plenty of fun do-it-yourself activities to undertake with your child that aren’t holiday themed but do focus on fall.  Soon, colder weather will demand that play time moves indoors, and you need a roster of fun projects to keep the little ones busy. Some of our activities are designed for indoor spaces, but others take advantage of the beautiful fall weather much of the country is enjoying right now.

1. Head to an orchard and do some apple picking.

If you are lucky enough to live within a short distance of a farm with fruit trees, spend a day driving in the country and visit orchards. There are plenty of apples that are available in the fall months, including Spartan, Gala, and McIntosh.. If there is no orchard close by, purchase a bag at the grocery store or visit a local-farmers market then take them home and bake a pie. Or better yet, get the children to help you bake some apple chips. It’s easy, fun, and nutritious.

How to make Apple Chips:

Here’s all you need:

  • Two pounds of fresh apples – we like Granny Smiths for this recipe, because they are so tart, but any kind will do.
  • A baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • A knife for thin slicing. (Parent supervision needed) 
  • Cinnamon to sprinkle on top.

To Prepare:

  • Thinly slice the apples, discarding cores.
  • Lay them on the cookie sheet, edges not touching.
  • Bake in a 200 F oven for an hour and 15minutes.
  • Carefully remove from oven when crisp; let them cool fully, then sprinkle with cinnamon, and enjoy! The little ones can have lots of this snack, as apple chips are healthy and full of vitamins.

2. Create an indoor “apple tree”:

Not everyone lives near rural acreages, so why not help the children build their own apple tree inside, so they can pick to their heart’s content, even on rainy days! Here is all you need for this fun, active project:

  • Head to a local park or trail with the family and select some thin but sturdy branches, about a dozen or so, at least two feet long.
  • Get construction paper out of your arts and crafts cupboard, along with some crayons or paint.
  • Have your child draw and color 10 or 12 apples – red, green, and rust colored, so there is a variety on their “tree.” Cut each one out.
  • Place the apples onto the tops of the branches, and affix them with glue or paste, any type of adhesive, as long as the apples can be fairly easily “picked.”
  • Place all the branches into the tallest vase you have. Place the vase on a table. Make it a contest to see who can pick the most apples the fastest. If your child is a little small to reach the tops, let them stand on a children’s stool– with your supervision and help, of course!

3. Carve a pumpkin:

Halloween isn’t far away, but before you do a scary Jack O Lantern for the front porch, carve a pumpkin to go with a festive fall display. Include a variety of gourds, lots of leaves, pine cones and twigs on a tray or place everything in a large but shallow container, and leave it in the front window or out near the front door. Any organic item that symbolizes “autumn” should be included.

4. Easy bird feeders for children to build:

Children love this project, because every morning they can look out the window and see how their handiwork is helping sustain a variety of birds passing through on their way south for the winter. These feeders are easy and inexpensive to make, and when the seeds run out, your child can simply make a fresh one.

Here’s what you need:

  • Several empty toilet paper or paper towel rolls.
  • Bird seed – sunflower seeds adhere well.
  • A jar of peanut butter. (Organic brands are best, as they have no salt or sugar.)
  • A knife that’s safe for your little one to handle – a butter knife works well.
  • String and a hole punch.

What to do:

  • Give your child one or two rolls to smear completely and evenly with peanut butter.
  • Once completely covered, let them roll each one in a plate of seeds, until the tubes are completely covered in a thick layer.
  • Take the feeders to the backyard after you have punched a hole in each one at the top and threaded it with string.
  • Let your child hang each feeder from a variety of branches at different heights. Be sure they can see them from the kitchen or living room windows. As the birds empty each one, have your child get out the supplies and create new ones.

5.  Autumn Leaves Window Hanging:

This is a fun project for children of all ages. Take your child for a walk around the neighborhood and collect a bag of leaves in a range of colors, sizes and shapes. From there, it’s easy to create this warm and welcoming window hanging.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • At least two sheets of clear contact paper, 8 x 10 or bigger. This is available at most hardware stores, and at all arts and crafts supply shops.
  • A ribbon in a fall color – red, rust, brown, and green.
  • A paper hole punch.

What to do:

  • Lay the contact paper on a large surface, like the kitchen table, sticky side up.
  • Have your child place the leaves in different ways – vertically, sideways, or in any fashion that appeals to them. They can make it as crowded or as sparse as they like. The key is variety, in shape, color and size.
  • Once the leaves are in place, carefully lay the other sheet of contact paper over top, sticky side down. This seals the leaves in place so they don’t shift once the hanging goes up.
  • Use the paper punch to put a hole in the top, then thread the ribbon through. You can hang this in any window, but ones that get the morning light really make the leaves and patterns stand out.

These are just a few of our favorite autumn-themed projects you and your child can do together. Although the days are growing shorter and chillier, the hours you spend indoors can be fun, creative, and even present opportunities for teachable moments.  Do a little online research and you will find plenty more easy, joyful projects to undertake, just the two of you or the whole family.