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Fall is a great time of year to connect with nature and spend quality, family time outdoors. Autumn allows us to experience seasonal activities we may not be able to participate in during other seasons. These activities include playing or watching sports, hiking, picking pumpkins and apples, pumpkin carving and going on hayrides, just to name a few!

And now that school has started up, it’s important to balance our day-to-day activities with work time and play time. While establishing your family’s new school-year routine and schedules, it’s also beneficial to give your children the opportunity to have “their thing,” whether that be getting them involved in sports, clubs, or extracurricular activities.

Extracurricular activities are a great way for kids to stay active during the Fall. Even as adults, we look forward to the start of fall-season sports, like football, soccer, cheerleading, lacrosse and more. There are numerous benefits to playing sports or participating in after school activities. For example, getting your child involved in sports allows them to practice good sportsmanship and appropriate play skills. They also get a chance to interact with other children in their age bracket who may not be in their school classes, broadening their peer-to-peer social relationships.

As a parent, attending your child’s sporting events or talking about their sport over meal time will help encourage more positive communication together. In addition, some children may feel more comfortable on the sports field versus in the classroom. Sports can provide them a great deal of self-esteem if they lack that academically.

The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry supports children’s involvement in sports, and outlines the many validated benefits of participation. If your child is opposed to participating in sports, try going to a sporting event as a family, instead, and enjoy being spectators! You will still be able to enjoy family time and can talk about the memory of attending a sporting event later on, or perhaps begin a new fall tradition!

If you’re finding it hard to pack up the family and make it to an outing, there are plenty of fun fall activities you can weave into your schedule at home. One of our favorites is cooking. This is something you can do year-round, of course, but is especially fun since the flavors of fall are so distinct and tasty! What kid wouldn’t want to help make apple cider donuts? Follow this recipe – it’s sure to delight!

At Behaved Brain, we talk a lot about cooking because it provides a multitude of benefits for both you and your family. For one, teaching children different recipes is a valuable life tool that they will be grateful to have in the future. In addition, learning about the importance of ingredients and proper nutrition helps them understand the function of food and how to properly feed the body and brain. Finally, cooking helps get everyone off of their devices and enjoying family time, together! Seasonal recipes often bind a family together through “taste” memory, creating recipes they will look forward to long into the future, and perhaps even share with their own children!

If you’re local to the Bergen County or North Jersey area, check out HealthBarn in Ridgewood. They offer cooking classes for parents and children. You can sign yourself, or the kids, up on their website.

Another at-home Fall activity we love is to have a pumpkin decorating night. Adorning pumpkins is a fun and safe alternative to carving pumpkins. Getting creative with your family is a nice way to spend quality time with one another, and to enjoy a seasonal activity. Check out these ideas for how you and your family can decorate pumpkins!

We have been talking a lot about calendars and using them to keep the kids and family engaged in what’s ahead. Get everyone excited and motivated to stay on good behavior when you load the calendar up with outings they will look forward to, like:

  • Going on a Hayride
  • Apple or Pumpkin Picking
  • Spooky Train Ride
  • Haunted House
  • Corn Maze
  • Cooking Class
  • Fall Fair
  • Nature Walk
  • Sporting Event

Many of these activities can be found at your local farm or orchard, and there are a variety of places to go in the New Jersey area that have them. Here is a list to help you plan!

As some of our blogs have previously touched on, spending time outside is so beneficial to our brain health and overall wellbeing. Fall is perfect for nature walks because the weather is cooler and the fall foliage is changing before our eyes. Take the opportunity to schedule lasting memories with your family or even create fun family traditions to continue for Fall seasons to come! Ultimately, we hope this Fall season is filled with fun, quality time with your loved ones!