What does fall remind you of?
Falling temperatures and falling leaves? Maybe spooky pumpkins and tons of candy? Fall can be a great time to involve your family, young and old, into new traditions and strengthened family bonds.
The busyness of summer is winding down and people are in a relaxed state of mind before the hurriedness of the holiday season begins.
Is there someone in your family you’ve been trying to get closer to? Maybe you just want to find some fun activities to get your family out of the house and into the beautiful fall weather.
Now is the perfect time to engage those family members you’ve been wanting to spend more time with or get to know better.
Bonding can begin before the holidays with these simple activities.
I love jam. I would say its “my jam” but that’s kinda corny, isn’t it? Even here in sweltering hot Alabama, we have apple orchards that are “U-Pick” places where you can go grab a bushel (or a bucket) and pick as many apples as you can hold! I’ve taken my family on these types of outings and they are as low stress as it gets. If you have little ones, you know what I mean when I say that it is no fun running around yelling “Don’t touch that!!” a million times. Older kids would be okay with this type of outing as well because it involves them getting food later. I don’t have any teenagers but I know enough about teenagers to know they love food. As an adult, I would definitely enjoy the smells and the quiet environment an apple orchard brings. There’s no rush and you can come and go as you please.
But what am I going to do with all these apples?! Can them, of course! I have a secret talent for canning. I love it! Fall is the absolute best time to make batches of applesauce and apple butter. If you end up making too much, give them as gifts! People always love food gifts. I have to recommend this canning cookbook that my mom got me one year because I love it! It’s great for beginners and intermediate level canning.
It’s hard to get me to stop talking about canning once I start, so you may be wondering how this is relevant to strengthening your family bonds. Both of these activities involve communication. You will have endless opportunities to talk with your family member. It takes a good bit of time to can things, from the prepping to the preparing the food, you will have a lot of time to spend with your loved one and really get to know them. Find out what has been going on in their world while you walk up and down the orchard. Creating something together always makes for a special memory.
Go On a Roadtrip in Search of Changing Leaves!
This may be more intimidating of an idea for those with little ones, or maybe it’s just my kids that are nuts in the car… But for adults and older teens, this could be a fun idea! I would suggest using electronic devices only for emergency, music, or perhaps directions if you need them.
I love long car rides.
The car is such an intimate, quiet space where you can usually talk interruption-free. I have had some of my best conversations with family and friends just riding around in the car.
There are guides on the internet for fall foliage maps that you can quickly pull up if you need to plan your trip in advance. You can research ahead of time where you’ll be going along the way and find some unique places to eat or explore. Slowing down in life to notice little things, like the vibrant colors of the leaves, can benefit more than just your relationships; it can give you a greater appreciation for the subtle beauty that surrounds you.
Go On a Haunted Town/ Cemetary Tour
I don’t know if this is just a popular thing in my area but these are everywhere now! I think it is the coolest thing ever because these walks incorporate history and ghost stories into their strolls. In my area and in some bigger cities I have visited, these strolls occur year-round. Some of them are strictly historical, but some will incorporate local food and drink.
This activity would be neat for older kids and it would teach them about local history, which is always cool. The pace of these walks are slow enough to be considered strolls, so if there were people who can’t get around as fast as they used to, this would still be appropriate for them as well. We have a trolley system in the bigger city that I live adjacent to and they will use the trollies for their tours sometimes, as well.
To be respectful to your fellow strollers, talking would not be encouraged during the walk but after the stroll ends, you could take advantage of the cool fall evening and linger around town a little (if you’re not too spooked!).
I know I seem to be hung up on food on this post but baking is such a good opportunity to bond with someone. Baking your favorite recipe together can invite stories of past memories, give the opportunity to learn (or teach) something new, or create new memories of your own.
Fall is the perfect time to bake inviting breads and pies. There are tons of recipes out there for seasonal breads and pies that will make your home smell like heaven. You can even use some of those apples you picked earlier for some apple muffins! Baking is something that can be multi-generational and recipes can be used as a tool for bonding.
The familiar smell will sometimes create a flood of nostalgia and you can share or laugh over memories made in the past.
If you’re not one for riding in the car and, if you are like me, you burn everything you try to bake, take a relative out on a sunny fall day to enjoy the crisp air. The trail doesn’t have to be intense, a walk around the park or an easy trail would suffice. A lot of towns and cities have paved walkways that would work if the gritty trails aren’t your thing.
Going for a walk with someone is an easy way to get to know more about them and taking in the sunshine is always good for your own state of mind. You’ll get a little bit of exercise and you can talk with your loved one in a quiet, no-pressure environment.
I’m sure you can come up with many more activities that are unique to your town but I hope this list gives you a head start on ideas. The main takeaway is to pick activities that are low pressure, low stress, and that give a lot of opportunities for open communication. You may learn something new or you may just re-connect with a family member that has been a little distant.
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