24 Fall Family Activities You Can Still Enjoy During COVID-19

Apples, pumpkins and corn mazes, oh my!
ByAshlee Neuman
Deputy Editor
Updated
Sep 2020

For many families with young kids, fall is a favorite time of year—a time when you can take your kiddos to romp in the pick-your-own apple orchards, go on hay rides, ready for trick-or-treating and maybe even enjoy an Oktoberfest beer while baby sleeps in the stroller (one can hope). But with COVID-19 still a concern, it’s no wonder parents are wondering, what exactly can we do this season? Take heart—there are still plenty of fun activities you and your youngsters can enjoy as autumn settles in.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), activities are safer if they take place outside, if you can keep at least 6 feet away from others and if people wear masks. Luckily, lots of the perennial fall favorites check those boxes! If you’re heading someplace other than an outdoor public space, it’s a good idea to call ahead and ask about extra prevention strategies they’ve put in place. Always have on hand a mask (for you and for kids 2 and older), tissues or wipes and hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol, and wash your and your kids’ hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds when you get home.

Here, a list of top fall activities you can safely do with your baby or toddler (with some basic precautions). Because joy is not canceled.

1. Go Apple Picking

You can breathe a sigh of relief—many local apple orchards are still open for pick-your-own adventures, so there are adorable baby photos and plenty of homemade applesauce in your future. When you’re not crunching on apples, keep your mask on and social distance from others.

2. Visit a Farmer’s Market

You may not be keen on bringing your little one to the supermarket with you, but an outdoor farmer’s market is a fun, COVID-safe way to stock up on seasonal produce and teach your tot about shapes, colors and foods along the way!

Related Video

3. Have a Picnic

While the weather still holds, a picnic in a nearby park is a perfect way to spend an autumn afternoon with your kiddo. Pick a spot a good distance away from others and let your little one revel in the fresh air. (Maybe even nosh on your farmer’s market finds!)

4. Hit the Hiking Trails

When the temps start to cool off, grab your gear and head for the hills. Whether you carry baby in a carrier and manage to summit or end up plodding down the path with your curious toddler in tow, it’s fun for the whole family. Pick a less traveled hike to avoid the crowds.

5. Go Boating

Sailing, kayaking, motor boating—it’s all good outdoor fun, especially if you have an older toddler. Just make sure your child has a properly fitting, safety-approved life jacket on.

6. Do a Nature Scavenger Hunt

Adults aren’t the only ones who enjoy leaf-peeping—those changing colors can be quite a sight for babies too. If you have a toddler, head out to a park or forest and spend some time collecting different colored leaves and pinecones for fall-inspired art projects.

7. Navigate a Corn Maze

What’s fall without a corn maze? Call ahead to learn about any COVID-19 precautions and keep 6 feet apart from others.

8. Dine at an Outdoor Restaurant

Make the most of your local outdoor dining options before the weather turns too cold. The CDC says to wear a mask when you’re not eating and, if you’re with non-family members, avoid self-serve foods to limit the sharing of serving utensils.

9. Go for a Bike Ride

Whether you put baby in a bike seat or head out with your bike-riding preschooler, taking a ride around town or through a park is a perfect socially distant fall activity. Don’t forget your kiddo’s helmet!

10. Blow Bubbles

Babies and toddlers love bubbles—they’re fascinating to watch and even more fun to chase and pop. Bring a bottle to your neighborhood park or on your next picnic, find a spot away from others and fill the air with bubbles.

11. Draw with Sidewalk Chalk

Take advantage of the still-pleasant temps and take your arts and crafts outdoors. Whether you let your little one decorate the backyard patio or front stoop sidewalk, it’s great socially distanced fun (and little to no clean-up!).

12. Take Your Child for a Spin in the Jogging Stroller

If you’re a runner, consider investing in a good jogging stroller and bringing your little one along for the ride.

13. Enjoy an Outdoor Children’s Concert

Depending on what’s scheduled in your area, you can set up a blanket at least 6 feet away from others, don your masks and sway to the tunes. Great for kids of all ages.

14. Go Pumpkin Picking

You may or may not be planning on trick-or-treating this year, but you and your kids can still pick out and carve/paint a jack-o-lantern without worrying. Call the pumpkin patch in advance to ask about any new safety policies.

15. Roll a Ball Around

Fun fall activities can be as simple as heading outside and playing around with a ball. Small, textured balls are great for engaging babies’ senses, while bigger rubber balls are great for toddlers to kick and throw.

16. Roast S’Mores

A cozy family activity! If you have access to a fire pit (and patience for insanely sticky hands), roasting s’mores is a guaranteed hit among the toddler crowd.

17. Take a Mommy-and-Me Outdoor Workout Class

Look up what’s happening in your area. If you’re itching to be outside and get your sweat on, you and baby can enjoy a socially distant workout class outdoors.

18. Paint Pet Rocks

Here’s another way to appreciate Mother Nature in the fall. Take a stroll with your toddler to find a few promising rocks, and then sit down with some craft paint and a brush and have at it!

19. Check Out Local Construction Vehicles

There’s something endlessly fascinating about excavators, cranes and dump trucks for toddlers. If there’s a construction site nearby, it’s an easy and entertaining (and socially distant!) way to spend an hour outdoors.

20. See a Drive-In Movie

If your child is old enough to sit through (or young enough to sleep through) a movie, see if there’s a drive-in movie theater near you—they’ve been springing up all over the place since the pandemic hit! You’ll get to see a film on the big screen from the safety of your own car.

21. Go Camping

Up for a little adventure? Pitch a tent! Even if it’s just in the backyard, the change of scenery might be just what your family needs this autumn.

22. Dig in the Dirt

Parents are understandably on heightened germ alert, but that doesn’t mean your little one can’t get a little dirty. Babies and toddlers can happily spend a surprising amount of time just digging in fresh soil.

23. Stargaze

Depending on your child’s bedtime, make the most of the earlier sunsets and point out the sparkly stars in the sky. A family rendition of Twinkle Twinkle might be in order.

24. Take a Walk

Whether it’s through your neighborhood streets, around your local park or through some nearby woods, getting outside for any kind of family stroll is a wonderful way to spend a fall day.

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

Plus, more from The Bump:

COVID-19 Might Be Less Severe in Kids Than in Adults, AAP Reports

Nehal Aggarwal
Associate Editor
Published
03/17/2020

Sesame Workshop Launches New Initiative to Help Caregivers and Kids

Nehal Aggarwal
Associate Editor
Published
03/24/2020

Parents’ Top COVID-19 Questions, Answered

Dina DiMaggio, MD, and Anthony F. Porto, MD, MPH

Hilaria Baldwin on the Mom Hacks Keeping Her Sane in Lockdown

Nehal Aggarwal
Associate Editor
Published
04/09/2020

Can Breast Milk Protect Against COVID-19? a Researcher Hopes to Find Out

Nehal Aggarwal
Associate Editor
Published
04/10/2020

End Your Day With a Virtual Fireworks Show Put on by Walt Disney World

Nehal Aggarwal
Associate Editor
Published
04/27/2020

This Series Lets Kids Cook With Their Favorite Pixar Characters

Nehal Aggarwal
Associate Editor
Published
04/29/2020