From the fiery kaleidoscope of the leaves to the plumpness of pumpkins and ruby red of apples, fall’s natural beauty pervades the whole outdoors. Why not invite it indoors with you? There are many ways to include nature in your autumn decorations. Here are a few fall decoration ideas that are fun to make and will bring a warm feeling to the chill fall evenings.
Corn husk candles. Wrap a large candle in corn husks and tie with strips of husk or colorful ribbon. Enjoy the glow of the fall harvest in your living room.
Hanging gourd vase. Dry a swan gourd and cut a large hole in the upper portion of the bulb. Use as a vase for dried or freshly cut flowers, or even as a planter for live ones.
Foliage arrangement. Use dry, colored leaves, fall flowers and the fluff of seeding plants to create a beautiful bouquet. Place anywhere–on the table, in the bathroom, or on the bookshelf are good options.
Pumpkins. Beautiful on their own, pumpkins can also be carved with beautiful patterns. To make longer lasting decorations, don’t cut the whole way through–just etch a design on the surface.
Pomanders. Oranges can studded with cloves to make beautiful decorative designs. They smell amazing and can be eaten or made into juice afterwords.
Crafty leaves. Glue leaves to craft paper and attach colorful string or fishing line to make a mobile. You can also use the cards to decorate window sills, or use double sided tape to decorate the walls.
Harvest corn basket. Peel back he dried husks of colorful corn and arrange into a colorful basket. Mix with other fall bounty to add color and diversity.
A Wreath. a gorgeous addition to an entry way or door, a wreath is surprisingly easy to make. Use all sorts of natural fall materials to create the perfect one for you.
Making these crafts is especially fun to do with the family. Try involving the kids–go on a nature hike and pick out the most beautiful of nature’s creations to use in your art, and each create your own decorations. Happy crafting!
Autumn fun doesn’t have to be limited to Halloween and Thanksgiving–it can be had every day of the week! Fall offers many unique opportunities for enjoyable crafts, games, and excursions that are impossible during the other seasons. So don’t waste a minute! This list of fun fall activities for kids is just the start of the possibilities for you and your children to enjoy this beautiful season together.
Pick apples in an orchard. What could be more fun than enjoying the bounty of nature together as a family? A day spent at the orchard is bonding and is full of relaxed enjoyment. Bring home baskets of apples and make cider, pies, and apple sauce together. See how many different ways you can use apples in meals and desserts!
Get lost in a corn maze. Plentiful this time of year, corn mazes are a thrill for children of all ages, and there’s something irresistibly delicious about the hot cider and pumpkin-shaped cookies that always seem to be found in the barn or office afterwards.
Create fall art. There are many ways to incorporate autumn’s beauty into arts and crafts. Leaves can be placed under a piece of paper and colored over, gourds can be decorated and used as birdhouses, and pumpkins, of course, can be carved. Be creative with this autumn activity and encourage the same in your children!
Have a fall-themed baking party. Choose cookie-cutters that match the season, and use seasonal ingredients such as apples or pumpkins. Warning: aromas may be irresistible!
Go for a hike. Look up what birds and animals are native to the area and try to find some. Assign a different set of wildlife to each family member and have a contest to see who sees the most. Or just enjoy the beauty of nature, revel in the changing colors and the purity of the autumn air.
Make pine-cone bird feeders. Find some pine-cones and cover them with peanut butter, then roll them in birdseed. Explore and find a special tree to hang them on.
Build a bonfire. If you don’t have a place to do it, go camping or visit a nearby campsite for the evening. Sing group songs, tell scary stories, roast hotdogs and marshmallows (maybe not at the same time), and remember what you’re grateful for out-loud.
Just a few things to fill your autumn season with fun. But it doesn’t stop there! Think creatively and work with your kids to create many more fun experiences that will fill the pages of your photo albums and fill your hearts to the brim. Happy fall!
When it comes to safety for Halloween, the focus tends to be on the candy or other treats the children are receiving from strangers. However, the costume the little ones are wearing are just as important to be aware of. Keep them safe by following these 9 halloween safety tips for your kiddo’s costume.
Make sure your child’s costume is not too big or loose for him or her. If the costume is too long, it is not safe and your child may trip over it. An airy, flowing costume can tangle with objects and people and can present a fire hazard around open candles that are usually present during Halloween. Your best bet is to choose a costume that is the correct length and fits well.
Choose Nonflammable Materials
Check on the label of the costume and make up for flame-resistant materials. This is very important since jack-o-lanterns, candles, and other ornamental flames are common for decoration during Halloween.
Keep the Neck Area Clear
Avoid costume elements that are too tight around the neck, such as cords or sashes, that can present a choke hazard. Be very cautious and safe about jewelry that can tangle around the neck as well.
Capes With Caution
Capes are fun, but unfortunately and not as safe as it is commonly assumed, may pose a choke-risk or may be easily be tripped over by the child if it is not the right length.
Use Masks Wisely
If your child is wearing a mask, make sure that it is worn just for photos or when he or she is not walking (more likely running). Some masks are not safe and can block a child’s vision, which is even more of a concern during night time. Make sure that the mask fits snugly on your child’s face, but not too tight around the neck. The larger the holes around the eyes and nose, the better for seeing and breathing for your child.
Double Check Paint Labels
Instead of using masks, face paint is a great option. Check that the paint is FDA-approved and can be used on skin. “Non-toxic” does not completely mean that it is safe to be used on the face. Also check the ingredients of the make up to make sure that it is nothing that your child is allergic too.
Choose Accessories Carefully
Make sure that costume accessories such as swords and knives are soft and flexible. Wands, staffs, and canes should have no sharp edges or points.
Light and Reflection
Attach reflective materials onto your child’s costume to make sure that others can see him or or her at night. Accompanying adults should carry a flashlight to light the path and make it easier for drivers to see trick or treaters.
Should your child choose to wear the shoes that come with the costume, make sure that is has traction to prevent slipping and falling. If the footwear is a shoe-cover, check that it fits snugly. More than often though, these shoe covers tend to slip off while walking, being safe with regular sneakers is better.
When you’re throwing a family-friendly Halloween party, you don’t want to give your guests the creeps! If you’re the host of this year’s block party or plan to invite over a few friends, you need some smashing family Halloween party ideas. Steer clear of those bloody, body parts — look at these ideas for inspiration.
Family Halloween Invitations:
Before you can have a great family Halloween party, you have to invite them! Amy Adele has great family Halloween designs for invitations, thank you notes and any other of your party stationary needs. On this invitation, include the usual facts: date, time, and place. Consider adding a little more detail such as if they should dress up, bring food, or any activities that are going to happen as this family Halloween party. Inform your guests just enough so they get a taste of how great your party is going to be!
Decorate your party area with smiling pumpkins instead of leering jack-o-lanterns. Stick on googly eyes and permanent markers are all you need for these laughable decorations. Get creative and decorate your pumpkins to look like various family members. Place a baseball cap on a small pumpkin for a ball player inspired decoration. Make a girl pumpkin by attaching a pink bow to the pumpkin stem. Use markers or watercolors to create a smiling face. You could ask guests to bring their own decorated pumpkin. Award prizes for the most creative!
A costume contest is an easy idea that brings tons of excitement to this fall party. Kick this contest up a notch by having a theme like “favorite arcades” or “classic snack foods.” Buy quirky prizes to give to the winners. Of course there will be candy favors for everyone who participates.
Hide some booty:
One of the hallmarks of Halloween is trick or treating! Give your guests an alternative to door to door solicitation. A clever scavenger hunt keeps the whole family entertained. Once they solve the clues to the treasure, they can find and share a box of chocolate coins or various candies.
When planning a family Halloween party, remember to keep it simple and “unscary” so that everyone will have a time to remember.
It’s getting to be that time of year again. The time of year when kids are back in school, leaves are falling off the trees and kids look forward to going out trick or treating or to Halloween parties with their friends. What’s that? You say you have the decorations and food ideas but don’t have any clue what to do for Halloween games? Well, let’s see, there’s always bobbing for apples—but, yes, you’re right, we should have some fresh, new games for the kids. The Halloween games described below are just the thing you’re looking for and you can alter the difficulty of each game according to the age group at the party.
Halloween Pumpkin Hunt
Before the party begins, cut out as many different pumpkin shapes as you desire from orange construction paper and design every shape to look like a jack-o-lantern. On the back of each shape, jot down a point numbered from one to ten and then hide all the pumpkins around the room. When all the kids have arrived, allow them twenty minutes to seek out the pumpkin shapes that you’ve placed around the room. Once the twenty minutes have elapsed, ask the children to total their points from the pumpkin shapes that they found. The child that has the highest number of points wins a door prize.
Frankenstein Relay Race
Draw a starting line and, about twenty feet away, draw your finish line. Strew pumpkins amidst the start and finish lines, creating an obstacle course. The children should be divided into two or more even teams and lined up on the starting line. It’s best to keep each team under six children so that the game will be fairly short and they won’t get bored. Once the kids are all lined up and ready, you can say, “Go!” The first child from each team should run through the obstacle course of pumpkins to the finish line, then back again and tag the next person in their team to run. This continues until every child has run the obstacle course. The catch is that all the kids have to run like Dr. Frankenstein’s monster—arms straight out and stiff legs! If you catch a child bending their legs, you need to send them back to the starting line to begin again. The first team to complete the relay race wins and all the members of that team get a prize. This Halloween game sure will test their Frankenstein skills!
Halloween Word Game
This game is better for slightly older children, age nine to twelve. To start this Halloween game, give each child a piece of paper and a pencil. You would’ve written ahead of time on each piece of paper the phrase “Trick or Treat”. When the kids have each received their pencil and paper, ask them to write down as many words as they can find from that phrase “Trick or Treat” in a span of five minutes. The child who has the most words on their list is the winner. You can also play this game using the word “Halloween”.(Note: The words have to be actual words, not made-up words.)
Candy Corn Catch
A fun game that can be played together by adults and kids. Create teams of three to five members; one child or adult on each team has to tie a toy pumpkin around their waist—like the ones that you’d use for trick or treating. All the other team members get fifteen pieces of candy corn. Mark two different throw lines with a Halloween decoration like a witch or tombstone—one throw line will be for the kids and the other line will be marked further back for the adults. On the word “Go”, one member of a team tries to throw their candy corn into the pumpkin, one piece at a time. The person that has the pumpkin tied to them should move about to try and catch the pieces that are tossed off target. The game continues until every individual on that team and every team has had their turn. After all the members of each team have thrown their candy corn, the candy corn is tallied up in all the toy pumpkins. The team that has the most candy corn wins the game and all of the candy corn is divided evenly among that team as a take-home prize.
What child doesn’t like to play tag? Using rope, you’ll need to create boundaries so that no one can run outside the play area; remember to pick up any debris such as sticks or rocks in the area so that the children won’t trip or get injured. Choose one child to be the zombie, blindfold them and then have them put on a zombie mask. The “zombie” is taken to the center of the play area and all the children need to be in the play area at this time; once the game begins no one is to step outside the boundaries. The game begins with the zombie shouting “Brains!” All the other children instantly scream and run around the play area. The zombie moves about trying to tag someone while continually shouting “Brains!” and listening for the screams. When the zombie tags someone, that child becomes the new zombie.(Note: If the game goes on for a while and no one has been tagged, you’ll need to shrink the size of the play area. But if kids are being tagged quickly, you’ll need to expand the play area.)
This Halloween game calls for a little more preparation. You can either buy some ping pong eye balls or just paint bloodshot eyes on the ping pong balls yourself. Split the kids up into two or more even teams. You can give each child their own ping pong eyeball or, for a more difficult game for older kids, you can use one ping pong eyeball per team. This is a great game for any age because you can make it an easy game for little kids or a challenging game for teens by placing obstacles in their path. Create a starting line and place a skeleton, ghost or cone at the other end of the yard or room to mark the finish line. Ask the teams to line up at the starting line and hand each player that’s first in line a spoon with an eyeball on it. On your word of “Go” the first kids will run or briskly walk down to the finish line, around the skeleton or cone and come back to the start where the next teammate in line will be handed the spoon and take their turn. They can’t touch the eyeball while it’s on the spoon! If a child drops their eyeball, they can pick it up to place it back on the spoon, but they must go back to the start and begin again. Whichever team finishes first wins a prize.
Costume Scavenger Hunt
This Halloween games starts before the party, write up a list of types of costumes that each team will be obligated to find people wearing around the neighborhood. Allocate points to every costume on the list on the basis of how challenging you believe it’ll be to spot each costume. Divide the kids into even teams and provide one individual on every team with a digital camera. Give a copy of this list to each team and tell them to go out and take pictures of one person dressed in a costume on that list. None of the party-goers can be dressed in any of the costumes on your list. Provide the teams with two hours to accomplish the scavenger hunt. When the two hours are up, examine the pictures and grant points for every costume that the teams took pictures of. The team that has the most points wins the game and each team member receives a prize.
Halloween Mask Trivia
This game is best for older children. Get pictures of various Halloween characters like Chucky, Dracula, Michael Myers, Freddie Kroueger, Carrie, Headless Horseman, Jason Voorhees, Frankenstein and Leatherface. Provide all the kids with a pen and piece of paper. Show the photos to the kids one at a time and ask them to write down the name of each character. When you’ve shown all the pictures, announce the answers. The child with the most correct names wins the game and a prize.
Pumpkin Penny Pitch
Before the Halloween party, sculpt a jack-o-lantern and keep the top off. Provide each child with ten to twenty pennies and ask them to line up at the starting line which should be about fifteen feet away from the jack-o-lantern. Every child will take a turn throwing their pennies at the jack-o-lantern and the child that throws the most number of coins in the jack-o-lantern wins a king-size candy bar.
This is a favorite game among teens! Fill up a big bowl or bucket with ice and marbles. In a one minute time frame, each teen will take their turn at sticking their feet in the bowl attempting to pull out as many marbles as they can with their toes. As they grab the marbles, they’ll try to successfully transfer it to a plate beside the bowl. When one minute is up, the plated marbles are counted and the total is written down on a piece of paper. When all the teens have had their turn, whoever has the most number of plated marbles wins the game.
For this Halloween game you’ll need to gather ten empty 2-liter soda bottles, paint them white with two black eyes in the center and let them dry overnight. You’ll also need a mini basketball or pumpkin and you can paint a face on it if you wish. Pour sand or pebbles into each soda bottle until it’s about a quarter full. Arrange the bottles in the normal ten-pin set-up—one pin in the first row, two pins in the second row, three pins in the third row and four pins in the back row. Don’t forget to have a pad of paper and pencil handy to keep score for all the kids. Pair up the children into teams; give them each two turns to stand fifteen feet away and roll the ball toward the pins. With younger kids, you can let them stand a little closer to the pins or use less pins. After the first roll, clear away any pins that were knocked over then let the child roll again. If a child knocks over all the pins in one roll, a strike, they receive fifteen points; knocking down all the pins after the second roll will earn them thirteen points or else every child is awarded one point per pin that’s knocked over. After every child takes their turn, tally the points for every team; the team with the highest score wins and they receive a prize.
These are just a sample of the Halloween games that will bring life and a lot of fun to your Halloween party, but just make sure that you keep the scare factor age-appropriate. With these games or ones you create on your own, everyone is sure to have a great time. Happy Halloween!
When we as parents wonder how to encourage thankfulness in our children one of the easiest ways is simply to be involved with their lives and demonstrate our thankfulness for their joy. Now that fall is here and the leaves are starting to change there are a multitude of activities for families to jump into that will bring everyone together. Some of these activities are for the outdoors and for the days when the weather just doesn’t want to agree there are few indoor activities to go along with it.
Fall Is Here
A couple of my favorite family fall activities are outdoors. Hiking and apple picking. For some reason people seem to forget that most areas of the country are lined with back woods trails. Just Google hiking trails in your area and you should be pleasantly surprised at the variety you have to choose from. Fall is the perfect time for a hike; cool weather and turning leaves make for a most enjoyable family time. Just make sure you choose an appropriate trail for your family or you might end up carrying the little ones most of the way.
You know fall is here when it’s time to go apple picking. While this may not be available everywhere, there are many areas of the country that do have apple trees. Get the family together and go grab some apples. This is similar to a hike in that the fall is the best time to go. Otherwise your selection of apples is basically limited to looking at the trees. Pick one of those weekend days when the weather is perfect and make sure you pick up some cider on your way out. Not much can top fresh apple cider; warm or cold.
The next step would be for one of those drizzly fall days. Take some of those apple you guys picked and turn them into a delicious apple pie or two. This can be fun to do while Mom is out for a little while so you can surprise her when she gets home. My only piece of sage wisdom on this matter is make sure you have some good vanilla ice cream to go along with the pie. That smell of apple pie will tell the whole house “fall is here”!
A couple more creative ideas for fall revolve around Halloween. I know kids want to go buy the costume for their favorite cartoon character or dress up like a fairy princess, but homemade costumes can be much more creative and tons more fun. Looking around I’ve found ideas for dressing your kids up like shadows, smartphones, and even sushi rolls. Searching for costumes is a sure sign that fall is here. The options are endless and even if you’re like me and not the most creative person in the world there are tons of ideas online.
On this note pumpkin carving has always been a family tradition. We generally let the kids each draw a face and carve it out together. Last year we bought some .99 cent stencils at the dollar store and used them to create some pretty impressive pumpkins. This year I think we are going to try out the pumpkin drilling technique. Fall is great. The weather can be amazing for outdoor fall activities and force the family to try out some indoor activities all in the same week. Fall is here, use the time to try out some new things that bring the family together and realize the little things that we all have to be thankful for.
With fall and winter quickly approaching, it is the perfect time to teach your kids how to roast marshmallows. While many people consider summer to be the best time to roast marshmallows, depending on where you live it could be too hot to roast marshmallows during the summer. The chilly months that are quickly coming is the best time to roast marshmallows since being around a fire will keep you warm, and because roasting marshmallows is a fun activity for all ages that can help to relieve boredom when the weather turns bad. However, if you have never roasted marshmallows with your kids, or if you have never roasted marshmallows yourself, you may be wondering how to roast marshmallows. Here are the basics of what you need to know to get started roasting marshmallows.
Buying the Marshmallows
While purchasing marshmallows may seem like the simple part of the process, it is key that you purchase the right ones. While name brand marshmallows may be more expensive than the store brand, you will be glad you spent the extra money. Store brand marshmallows do not taste as good as their name brand counterparts, and they are more likely to melt than they are to roast when you put them over the fire.
Building Your Fire
Preparing the proper fire is an important step to take before you start roasting marshmallows. You do not want to roast marshmallows on a fire that has just started, as the flames will be too big and erratic, which will be more likely to torch your marshmallows than roast them. Build your fire to a decent size, and keep it going for 30 minutes to an hour before you try roasting marshmallows on it so that you will have an evenly hot fire to cook them on. Also, it is important to note that you do not have to have a real fire or even an outdoor space to roast marshmallows. You can just as easily roast marshmallows on a gas fireplace or stove if you do not have the ability in your home to make a wooden fire. Simply turn the gas on to a medium heat level and you will be good to start roasting marshmallows without having to wait.
Roasting The Marshmallows
While roasting marshmallows can be a fun activity for the whole family, it is important to remember to follow certain safety guides when letting your children roast their own marshmallows. Firstly, it is best if you purchase long or extendable roasting sticks that have a heat resistant handle. Traditionally people have roasted marshmallows on metal coat hangers; however, this is not very safe for children. This is because metal coat hangers are not very long, thus children may burn their hands when they get that close to the fire.
Now you are ready to start roasting marshmallows. Simply put a marshmallow on each child’s roasting stick and let them roast it. There is no real method to roasting marshmallows. It is best to simply let them try roasting their marshmallow. They will eventually discover how they like them roasted, whether that be lightly golden or completely burnt. Just make sure to purchase enough marshmallows in case they want to try making them several different ways.
Roasting marshmallows is a great family activity that is perfectly safe as long as it is done under adult supervision. You will soon find that roasting marshmallows, whether indoors or outdoors, will soon because your favorite cold weather activity.