Fall is an interesting time of year in Charleston because we really don’t have an autumn season to speak of, it’s a bit too warm still for a hot pumpkin spice latte (though I’m not letting that stop me) and it’s technically still beach weather. It’s nice to try to share a bit of what traditionally makes fall, fall with our kids.
Because the busy holiday season is now right around the corner and many of us will soon be spending a small fortune on Halloween costumes and candy, it’s even better if we can participate in autumn activities that are inexpensive and fun for the whole family!
This fall bucket list is a good place to start to bring all of the fun of fall while keeping costs down!
Go on a Park or Playground Hop
Fall in Charleston is the perfect time to be outdoors as it’s usually not too hot and if you’re out and about during the weekday, it’s not too crowded at the playgrounds. One thing we like to do is pack some drinks and snacks and hop from one playground to another. We can usually visit three playgrounds or parks in an afternoon. Some of our favorites include Smythe Park (Pirate Park) on Daniel Island, Gahagan Park in Ladson and Hampton Park downtown!
Go Apple Picking
Having grown up in New England, taking a trip out to an apple orchard was a favorite way to herald in the fall season! We’d visit the farm to pick out a few pumpkins and purchase chocolate chip pecan pies, then hop on the train to the orchard to fill our buckets with apples to take home! While the Lowcountry isn’t the ideal climate for growing apples, a mini road trip to the Upstate will put you right into the spirit of autumn with endless opportunities for apple picking!
Make S’Mores Without A Campfire
Every fall Bucket list I see on the internet mentions making S’Mores around a campfire. It sounds like such a wonderfully cozy idea until you realize that you live in Charleston and the last thing you probably want to be doing is gathering around a fire when it’s 80 degrees outside. Instead, why not try your hand at making DIY Solar Panel S’Mores. The sun is going to shine brightly through Halloween, so why not take advantage of it?
Start a Gratitude Jar or Journal
The weeks leading up to Thanksgiving are the perfect time to create a Gratitude Jar or Journal. I like to use the Gratitude Journal from WriteShop (affiliate) for ideas that get my son thinking about what it is he truly is grateful for and why having a grateful heart is so important. Teaching him to be thankful for the small things in life and to have empathy and compassion are probably the most important aspects of his character that I want to foster.
Create an Educational Nature Table
Probably the only thing I miss about New England weather is the fall foliage, though not having to shovel in the winter (usually) here in Charleston cancels out any nostalgia I feel toward living up North. That said though, watching the leaves change from green to yellow, then orange and crimson before they fall away to the ground and the inevitable snowstorms start is a magical time of year.
Try recreating fall with a sensory bin, or lay out a nature table for your kids by including leaves, pinecones, and hickory nuts from the playground or your yard. You can also include things like small pumpkins, or corn kernels (depending on the age of your child) and synthetic leaves from the craft store and countless other items. The idea for young children is to get them familiar with the bounty that harvest time brings and how nature changes with the seasons.
Get to Know Your Neighbors
In a time when we all tend to keep to ourselves, fall is the perfect time to bring your neighborhood together for a Fall Festival or potluck. Some neighborhoods and subdivisions gather together for a potluck and pumpkin carving block parties. Aside from having fun with your family and friends, getting to know one another on a personal level lays a foundation for your children, the idea of a community coming together for one another.
Incorporate Poetry Tea Time
When the weather starts to shift from hot and sunny to cloudy and rainy, one of my favorite things to do is spend more time indoors reading books. We try to incorporate Poetry Tea Time into our weekly homeschool schedule and sit down together at the table with snacks, a warm (or cold) beverage, and a collection of read-aloud books and poems. Our current favorite, because it features seasonal poems is The Random House Book of Poetry For Children but any seasonal books would work just as well.
Transitioning from summer to fall in Charleston is difficult for those of us who love the change of seasons, but with a little outside the box thinking, we can still enjoy our favorite things about it without having to bundle up and brace for inevitable colder weather. And don’t forget to check out our Ultimate Guide to Fall & Halloween around Charleston for all the fun, family-friendly events going on this season!