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It’s the first day of fall, but the forecast here in Georgia is for 90+ temps today, and we broke 90 all week last week. The weather is supposed to drop into the 80s next week, but it’s still a far cry from sweater weather! Still, it is fall and in honor of the season, I’m putting together a simple fall family bucket list.
The thing about bucket lists is this: they make me feel like a failure! “50 Great Things to Do” and I only did 3? Fail! “Adventurous Ideas for Your Summer” and I did none? Super-fail!!
But at the same time I love the idea of being intentional about making memories with my kids – and now my grandkids. I want the perfect balance of “great ideas” and “still fits in my life.” You probably do also!
That’s why this list is smaller than some you can find. And it focuses on simpler, easier activities that can be just as fun as more ambitious outings. Of course, if you’re adventurous and super organized, by all means, tackle that “100 ideas for fall list.” Just give yourself permission to not finish it.
Ideas for Your Fall Family Bucket List
- Decorate for fall – complete with wreaths and pumpkins.
- Go to a fall festival. Get some Christmas shopping done while you’re there.
- Start a new family routine like morning devotions, Friday game nights, or walking after dinner.
- Have apple cider with pumpkin cookies (homemade or store-bought)
- Learn to make spiced cider and drink in front of the fireplace
- Get all the family together for Thanksgiving
- Practice thankfulness by creating a gratitude list
- Make a “thankful tree” with construction paper leaves and butcher paper tree trunk. Have everyone add one leaf every day.
- Make homemade soup. Search for your family’s favorite soup and learn to make it yourself. Clam Chowder? Brunswick Stew? Chicken Noodle? Everything’s better when it’s homemade.
- Plant fall flowers. Nothing says “autumn is here” quite like mums.
- Follow college football. It’s almost a religion here in the South.
- Buy and burn a new fall candle.
- Watch your favorite Halloween movie. I’m personally fond of It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.
- Watch the Macy’s Day parade while eating cinnamon rolls – a family tradition.
- Carve pumpkins into silly faces or scary ones.
Outside the Home
- Go to a pumpkin patch.
- Go on a hayride.
- Take a road trip to see leaves changing colors. Bring a picnic lunch.
- Visit a farmer’s market. Buy something delicious or new and different.
- Explore a local park and collect leaves. Don’t forget the picnic lunch.
- Go to the local high school’s football games – even if you don’t have kids in high school.
- Attend the earliest Christmas parade you can find to start the Christmas season.
- Go apple picking.
- Wander through a corn maze.
- Go bike riding
Make It Fun
You can search “fall bucket list” and come up with dozens, maybe hundreds, of lists of things to do. Some are repetitive – every list I’ve seen has ‘go to a pumpkin patch.’ But some are unique, thought-provoking, or encouraging. The most important thing about these types of lists is to make time for fun
It’s so easy to get caught up in a new school year, sports practices, work responsibilities, and ministry opportunities. And then miss out on simply having fun.
It’s also super easy to dismiss this type of list as being only for families with young children. But the truth is you need to have fun whether you’re a single 20-year-old trying to finish college and make enough to cover rent or a widowed 70-year-old who spends most days alone – somewhere in-between. Having a bucket list can force you to make time for fun.
If you don’t like my list (and you can find a longer list here), make your own. Longer lists give you more choices – so just print one out and put a star next to all the ones you want to do. Then go do them. The other ideas are for other people and other families.
Having fun is so important for all ages, but it does seem to be more important for families with young children. That’s probably at least in part because “The days are long but the years are short.” The years fly by, and before you realize it your toddlers are parents! Store up those precious moments – at whatever ages your children or grandchildren are – by being proactive.