I’m falling for Fall, once again. Every single year I have a certain level of anxiety as the weather turns cold, mainly because I hate snow more than anything. But, fall? There is no place I’d rather be to welcome the crisp mornings and breezy evenings than Columbus, Ohio.

The Midwest has everything you’d want for a perfect Fall weekend. Sure, I’m biased, but I’ve lived in many other states and I still think Ohio has the most beautiful falls.

This is the first year I wanted to be very intentional with checking off all of the boxes of our favorite fall activities. I give homeschooling credit for that! The flexibility and ability to turn almost anything into a lesson has given us the freedom to enjoy lots of seasonal outings.

Here is my list of 21 Must-Do’s this Fall:

  1. Pumpkin Patch: I recommend finding a ‘pick your own’ pumpkin patch. We have one local to us that requires some elbow grease, but you’re able to walk away with as many pumpkins you can fill in your wagon for $30.
  2. Apple Picking: Sure, it’s a little cliche… but if you don’t have apple picking photos, did you even live through autumn?
  3. Visiting the Zoo: Seeing the Columbus Zoo decorated for the fall is so fun! Plus, the cooler temperatures seem to be more comfortable for the animals. We love visiting the zoo at this time of year.
  4. Hayride: Most pumpkin patches also offer hayrides… I think this is a must-do. My kids love hoping on a tractor for a short little ride around the farm.
  5. Boo a Neighbor: You could always “booze” a neighbor if you don’t have kids. You can find “You’ve been Boo’d” signs online. Print one out and then visit your local CVS or Dollar Store to snag some fun, festive activities, candy and decorations. Drop off the bag full of goodies on your friend’s doorstep…. don’t forget to be sneaky about it. Guessing who the boo-er is, is half the fun.
  6. Decorate your Front Porch: Grab some pumpkins, corn stalk, hay. Head out to Party City or the dollar store and get some bats. You can also decorate your front door with some Kraft paper and a sharpie. We had so much fun decorating our front porch this year! Check out this post for some inspiration.
  7. Paint Pumpkins: I prefer painting pumpkins to carving them. Cleaner and easier in my opinion.
  8. Halloween Movie Nights: We’ve done this every Saturday night this season and loved it! Make a festive soup, plan an activity, create a cocktail… invite a few friends over or keep it small to just your family. Then take turns picking the Halloween movie of the week. Don’t forget to pop some popcorn and grab a few blankets to cuddle up with.
  9. Soups: There is nothing like soup in the fall. I could live off soup, but my kids and husband would probably protest. I still use the fall season as a great excuse to serve up some savory soups.
  10. Fall Cocktails: My cousin and I have been making some really fun fall cocktails this season. Here is a blog post with a few recipes: click here. If you’re looking for something simple, Apple Cider and caramel vodka is also a fan favorite!
  11. Horseback Riding: This was completely new for us this year. My kids, particularly my daughter, was asking to go horseback riding for years. Google local horse farms in your area and see if they offer riding for kids.
  12. Visit a Covered Bridge: Ohio is full of covered bridges and in the fall it’s magical! If you have covered bridges in your area, I highly recommend making a trip. Be sure to tell your kids the history of covered bridges and why they built them all those years ago!
  13. Go for a nature walk/ hike: There is nothing more beautiful than exploring nature during the fall season. Seeing the leaves change colors and eventually fall is such a special time of year for kids, and for me! We’ve started exploring new parks in our local area that have creeks and hiking trails. Be sure to have your kids pick out their favorite fall leaves for the next item on my list.
  14. Collect leaves for projects: There are so many fun art projects you can do by collecting beautiful leaves in the fall. You can also use those leaves for science experiments! Once you collect your leaves, here are a couple of my favorite projects: Click here!
  15. Visit your metro parks: When you decide to take your nature walks, try to explore different parks. We have a lot of Metro Parks in Central Ohio so we try to pick a different one every time we go out. There is one directly across the street from our neighborhood that we tend to always fall back on when we are pressed for time, but if you try to explore different parks in your area, your kids will complain less and find more excitement in your outings.
  16. Visit a small town in your area: The last couple of years our family has taken short (2 hours or less) excursions to visit small towns in Ohio. With COVID, that might not be feasible for you right now, but we have loved hitting the road to explore new towns, support small businesses and visiting their best parks.
  17. Trick or Treat: It might look a little different for your little ones this year, try to find a local trunk or treat or drive thru if you’re not comfortable letting your ghosts and goblins hit the streets on the hunt for treats this year.
  18. S’mores night: We do this almost every weekend! Sometimes we invite some neighbors, sometimes just us. If you have a fire pit or something similar in your backyard, grab a blanket and warm cider and cuddle up by the fire for s’mores. This is an Ireland family favorite.
  19. Football Weekends: Most Saturdays, if we aren’t at a sporting event, you will find our family crowded around our TV set watching football games. Saturdays in the fall are my absolute favorite. Jeff is home from work, I typically make a soup or appetizers and we watch game after game after game while the kids play and we toss the football with them. I know I will look back on these years with fond memories of Football Saturdays in the fall.
  20. Take Fall Family Photos: My husband complains about these every single year, and every single year he is so happy we did them, or maybe he’s a great actor. You don’t have to hire a professional photographer for these either. In fact, the last two years are the first years we have ever hired a pro to take family photos. In years past, I would scout out the prettiest trees, watch the forecast for a sunny afternoon / evening and set up our self timer. Be sure to grab at least one photo with your entire family, one with you and your kids, one with you and your spouse and individual shots of the children. We have cherished these photos… and they can double as your Christmas cards.
  21. Make a Thankful List: This is something I try to practice with the children on a daily basis, talking about what we are thankful for… but I think it’s even more important around the holidays. On November 1st, we plan to create a list of 31 reasons why we are thankful. We then will read each one on that particular day and reflect on why we are thankful for our blessings.

What’s on your Fall Bucket List??? What from my list have you done and what do you think I’m missing?

Decorate your front porch.

Fall cocktails for a Saturday movie night.

Pick your own Pumpkins.

Paint pumpkins over carving for little ones.

Soups are great for the season.

Explore Metro parks and go on nature walks.

Horseback riding.

Collect leaves for art and science projects.

Explore small towns in your area.

Go on a covered bridge tour.

Find new parks and create scavenger hunts.