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Guest Post: Frugal Fall Family Fun


photo by Brian Hathcock

Guest Post by Kate from Cincinnati Cents

Fall is such a magical time of year for children. Trees seem to change right before their eyes, bursting into brilliant hues of red, yellow, and orange. The warm air of summer has subtly been replaced with cooler, crisper mornings. Children are amazed by their power to create a frosty cloud when breathing into the cool fall air. It is a season of change, and with that change, comes a limitless supply of family fun that will last until the first snows of winter.

Pumpkins are wonderfully symbolic of harvest time, and most children have an amazing fascination with them. For young children who are not quite ready for the carving experience, paint is a creative option.  Don an old t-shirt, lay out newspapers on the table (I’m sure we all have plenty lying around), and pour paint into old yogurt cups. Voila! You have the perfect recipe for creativity. Cheerful faces can be painted on to adorn your child’s pumpkin, and their creations will last right through the Thanksgiving season.

For older children, carving a pumpkin is always a memorable experience. From the first cut into a pumpkin, the kitchen is filled with the fresh smell of autumn. The seeds that are scooped out can be washed and set aside for later roasting. They make a yummy treat after the hard work of creating a perfect pumpkin.

The designs for pumpkin carvings are limitless. There are several online sites that offer free downloadable templates, with everything from very traditional pumpkin faces, to popular characters, and intricate scenes. Once the pumpkin is carved to satisfaction, a candle can be placed inside, and you have a one-of-a-kind autumn decoration.

Autumn leaves offer a great potential for creativity as well. Placed under paper, children can create rubbings of the leaves they find. Unpeel the paper from your child’s crayon, and rub the side of the crayon against the paper. Children are often amazed that the texture and shape of the leaf magically appears on their paper. As an added learning experience, older children can then identify their leaves, and label them accordingly.

Colorful leaves can also be torn and arranged on a sheet of waxed paper in the shape of animals or other objects of your child’s liking. Once your child is satisfied with his or her creation, place another sheet of waxed paper on top of the leaf design. Carefully iron the creation on low heat. The leaf project will need to cool for a few minutes; afterwards, punch a hole in the top of the waxed paper, slip a string through, and your child will have a unique fall creation to hang up.

Fall projects can also be created through the use of “puffy paint”. Mix equal parts of white shaving cream and white school glue. Add in various colors to create a multitude of options for projects. I often use Kool Aid to color our puffy paint, as it is inexpensive, and forms bright hues. Children can then use this “paint” to make puffy pumpkins or fall leaves (be sure to use heavy paper, as this paint is very thick).  When finished, glitter can be sprinkled on top to give the project a shimmery effect. These should be laid flat to dry for 24-48 hours, depending on how thick the paint is applied.

Of course, if you do not feel creative this Fall, that’s perfectly alright, too. Grab a rake, pile up a mound of leaves, and turn the clock back a few years. Jump with your children and let the leaves fly. It’s amazing how much fun it is to be a child again!  Enjoy your Fall!

Katie is a homeschooling mother of four. She blogs at Cincinnati Cents,
where she shares money-saving ideas, deals, and frugal activities to
enjoy as a family.

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  • Diane says:

    Long walks in fall splender are refreshing and can be quite entertaining if taken where critters are storing up for the winter. Fall is a great time for star gazing – if you can get away from city lights. A thermos full of hot chocolate and a few minutes under the night sky is a peaceful way to end the day. If you have a vehicle that allows it you could place blankets and pillows for everyone and drive to ‘the country’ and – with permission – park with relitive warmth, stay in the car and star gaze. Fall is also a good time to do some ‘spring cleaning’. Kids are about to receive new items so now is a great time to purge their rooms and let them donate older toys and games to homeless shelters/ domestic violence centers/Goodwill etc. If you have older children, fall is a good time to check in your community for opportunities to volenteer. I know we’re talking ‘fun’ but don’t forget to include your children in all the fall fix-ups around the house. If parents have fun with the projects the kids will be more likely to join in and have fun as well – and learn a few life skills in the process!

  • Jan says:

    Oh I love fall- we went straight to snow and winter here- Bummer!

  • Tiffany says:

    I just wanted to let you know that Bahama Bucks is having Sno Daze on Tuesday, December 2nd and you get a free 12oz. shaved ice per person present. I thought you could post it on your blog for everyone. Thanks.

  • Joni says:

    I did a post on my blog about frugal things to do in the fall, but it has turned to winter so quickly around here we barely had the time to do it all! Now I have pictures of the kids playing in the snow already!

  • Miss Jocelyn says:

    Hello there, the Team at the HSBA Post would like to congratulate you on being one of the 2008 winners!

    Please read more here:

    Miss Jocelyn, HSBA Post Team Member

  • Karen says:

    Congratulations on your award!

  • Allyson says:

    I love the puff paint idea! We’ll be trying that soon.

  • Stacie Ciraulo says:

    I am part of a moms group in the Bay Area in California and I was wondering if you were located close enough to come do a talk about your budgeting? Or if you know of anyone you could recommend?
    Thanks for reading this!

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