7 Outdoor Activities to Do With Your Baby in the Fall
October 31, 2022
Fall is a magical time of year that brings cooler weather and marks the beginning of the holiday season. The word itself conjures up the sound of dried leaves crunching under your feet, a faint smell of cinnamon and cloves, and warm memories of your family gathering to give thanks. As the days grow shorter and the wind more brisk, fall is the perfect season to take your little one outdoors for fun, interactive activities. With new textures, sights, and sounds to explore, there are so many things right in your own backyard that can provide a full sensory experience for your baby. All you need is yourself, your little one, and a comfortable, waterproof play mat in order to head outside and enjoy the crisp air under warm sunlight. Here are several activities that you can do with your baby during the most exciting season of the year:
1. Outside story time
It’s no secret that reading books to babies and children is extremely beneficial for their development. It’s the reason that many local libraries often host story time sessions for kids. Reading and storytelling promote brain development, encourage imagination and creativity, develop language and emotional intelligence, and many other long-lasting benefits. Reading out loud to your baby can do wonders for their language skills and go a long way in strengthening your bond.
If you usually read to your little one indoors, heading outside for story time can be a fun change of scenery that helps them focus even more on your words and the pictures in the book. Being outside in the fresh air around the soft sounds of nature can be calming, and choosing a fall-themed book to read can help your little one make connections between the book and the environment around them.
2. Tummy time with gourds
Every fall, grocery stores overflow with all types of gourds in different shapes, sizes, and colors. Some are smooth, some are bumpy, and all provide a wonderful, natural sensory experience for littles who love to explore the variety of textures. To make use of these little gourds, other than for decoration, lay your baby on their waterproof play mat outside and place the different types of squash around them. As they feel each one, describe the colors and textures that they’re experiencing. By saying, “This one is smooth” or “This one is green,” you’re helping your little one build their vocabulary and make the brain connections with simple sensory play.
3. Color naming with leaves
One of the most beautiful aspects of fall is its warm color palette. As the leaves change colors and fall off the branches, the ground outside is blanketed in reds, oranges, yellows, and browns. Take a walk with your baby and make a game of picking up different leaves and naming the colors. Fall foliage provides a great learning opportunity to teach colors and build your little one’s vocabulary. If your baby is older, you can do other fun activities with the leaves, such as giving them a magnifying glass to look at them up close, or having them sort the leaves by color.
4. Day trip to a pumpkin patch
Pumpkin patches are magical, regardless of your age, but they’re even more fun with children. A child’s unbridled joy and excitement is contagious, and watching them climb over haystacks and giant pumpkins is one of the best parts of the season. Not only is the experience super fun for your baby, but it’s also a learning opportunity and a unique sensory experience. Children can learn about farm life, feel the dry, rough texture of the haystacks, explore pumpkins even larger than they are, and play in the dirt. It might not be the most sterile of environments, but it’s great for their brains, immune systems, and happiness!
5. Finger painting pumpkins
Finger painting is a sensory experience that’s guaranteed fun for all ages, including babies. Have your little one help with the fall decor by gathering different types of pumpkins and squash, getting taste-safe finger paint, and letting your baby create their art! It’s a fun, sensory-rich activity that’s also definitely messy, so grab your waterproof play mat and set up outdoors for fast, easy clean-up afterwards. Once the paint dries, you can display your baby’s artwork on your porch as festive decor, or wash the taste-safe paint off and use the pumpkins for whatever purpose you’d like! Since our vegan leather play mats are completely waterproof, you can simply wipe it clean after you’re done.
6. Play with pumpkin guts
If you’re planning to carve a pumpkin, this is the perfect opportunity to make use of all the guts you’d otherwise throw away. Take everything out of the pumpkin, stringy pulp and all, and put it into a Ziploc bag. Demonstrate how you play with the sensory bag, moving the pulp and seeds around with your hands, then let your little one have a go!
For babies who are older, you may even want to let them play with the pumpkin guts in a bowl, rather than inside a bag. Make sure you’re actively supervising so they don’t put any of it in their mouth, and let them explore the stringiness of the wet pulp and the hard, flat seeds. You can play with them, describing the pulp as “stringy” or “slimy” as you let them feel it. A word of warning: this activity is extremely messy, so we recommend taking it outside and doing it on a waterproof play mat that you can wipe clean afterward.
7. A fall-themed sensory box
One of the many wonderful things about fall is how many things you can find just outside your front door. Take a short walk, and you’ll likely see fiery-colored leaves, pinecones of all sizes, acorns, and other foraged items you can collect to create a fall-themed sensory box for your baby to explore. Take your baby, head outside, and see what things you both can find. When you’ve collected an assortment of different shapes, textures, and sizes, put everything into a clear plastic container, and let your baby explore the items. Always make sure to supervise your little one to prevent them from putting unwanted objects in their mouth, then put everything back outside when you’re done!
About the Author: Alice
Alice Mendoza is a copywriter and blog writer based in Los Angeles. She began writing for a baby brand while on maternity leave, and realized she had found her niche. Today, she writes exclusively within the baby space, using her BFA in Creative Writing and her own experience as a mother to guide her. When she’s not working, you can find her chasing down her toddler, going on walks around the neighborhood, or watching reality TV.