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Day trips to enjoy the fall foliage

Helen Hunt Falls

Put on your favorite pair of jeans, grab that cozy flannel shirt and breathe in the revitalizing air of fall. It is the ultimate time of year for a family jaunt. With cool weather rolling in and the leaves displaying their luscious coloring, it is the ideal setting in which to explore the magnificent outdoors. Fall activities, by the way, do not have to cost you a cent, which is always a pleasant bonus.

Exploring nature in its entire splendor not only energizes you and gets the kids out into the fresh air; it is the idyllic setting for a hike, biking, or a relaxing stroll in the woods or a designated walking trail. The Chamber of Commerce generally provides information for local bike and walk paths. Also, check out the activity section of your community newspaper where you will find many free family-oriented events.

Staging a “great outdoor treasure hunt” for the kids is not only loads of fun, it is educational and gets them exercising, as well. A few days of preparation for the treasure hunt, actively gets the children involved and adds some zing to the experience. As a family, you can decide what everyone will be searching out on the hunt. The possibilities are never-ending.

Having to locate at least ten things will ensure the kids will not be bored fifteen minutes into the hike. Each child can pick five things that would be fun to look for. To keep it interesting, the parents will choose five more to add to the list. Entering the items in a small notebook, which they can easily carry in a backpack, will allow them to check it off their list while on the treasure hunt.

Of course, you can guide little ones to find obvious outside treasures such as; a bright red leave, a curious pinecone, a feather or a super cool stick. Bigger kids, however, will find it interesting to seek out items of nature, which are more challenging. Some of these might include; an abandoned bird’s nest, a mysterious carving or out of the ordinary rocks. Get the kids motivated to use their imagination.

Wrapping up the treasure hunt with an outdoor picnic has a two-fold purpose. After the long hike, a rest is always welcome and the family can share and discuss their treasure finds, as well. The kids can make entries in their notebooks, describing what they found. Perhaps they can log in any special meaning they believe their treasures hold for them.

A simple basket of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, yummy cookies and some drinks, will keep the day uncomplicated for everyone. Simple is always the best route to take. Get out and enjoy nature’s bountiful beauty. Winter is just around the corner!

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