Monday, October 5, 2009

Outdoor Field Trips with the Family for Fall


Fall happens to be one of my favorite seasons. In upstate New York it is the calm before the storm. It begins to get chilly but we also have some great outdoor activities to enjoy. Plus, we try to take advantage of any nice days before the bitter cold of the winter sets in. To those of you who follow this blog or us on Twitter, you probably have realized that in my opinion outdoor activities are a must for developing children. So here are some ideas for field trips to get outdoors this Fall.

Go apple picking. Here in upstate New York this is a tradition. To pick and eat an apple right from the tree is truly a treat. Children of all ages can usually reach the apples to pick them. If you do not have an apple orchard near you, still take advantage of the fresh fruit in the grocery store. Bring some home and have the children help you wash them, cut them up (if possible) and make applesauce. Your house will smell great after you come in from the outdoors!

Visit a corn maze. This is another great tradition in the upstate area. We have several corn mazes to choose from. You follow a path to navigate through the corn. The paths are very wide at some and it is flat terrain making some of them possibly wheelchair accessible. It is very bumpy though. Children of all ages like this activity. I have gone to corn mazes with babies through teenagers. Each child takes in the experience differently.

Visit a playground. A crisp Fall day is a great day to visit a playground. If you need to locate an accessible playground you can go to Accessible Playgrounds. If you can not find a completely accessible playground, perhaps visit one to explore other options. Maybe bring some activities that your child can use at the playground i.e. large ball, bubble machine, etc. Your child can then play with other children at the playground but perhaps not on the equipment.

Go letterboxing or geocaching. On the websites you will find listings of where boxes are hidden. For letterboxing, you follow written clues to a box. Inside the box you will find a log book and a stamp pad. You bring along a log book on your journal and stamp in the books to record that you found the box. This is great fun for all ages and abilities. Usually the clues listed on the website offer some description as to the terrain of where the clue is located. Some are located on bike paths for easy accessibility.

You need a GPS or smart phone(i.e. iphone or blackberry) to go geocaching. With geocaching, you follow directions on the navigational system to locate small boxes. Inside the small boxes are log books and sometimes trinkets. The kids can bring trinkets with them on the hunt. When they open the box, they put their trinkets inside the box and remove one to take home. Again, on the website, it gives descriptions of where the boxes are located and how easy or hard it is to find them.

For letterboxing or geocaching, all young children will need assistance. The boxes are hidden off of the path several feet. An adult usually has to locate the actual box. Based on our experience, letterboxing requires a bit more hiking whereas with geocaching the boxes are usually closer to where you park.

In our family, this is one of our favorite outdoor activities.

Go fishing. This is another one of our favorite family outings. It is so enjoyable to watch your child catch a fish for the first time or many times. The look of your child's face when they bring in a big fish is priceless. Viewing the Fall foliage is a great addition to fishing this time of year.

What is your favorite Fall field trip?

1 comment:

Chris said...

We love geocaching. My husband and I have been geocaching over three years now. I love how it takes us to new places, off the beaten path.