Summer’s endless hours of outdoor fun may be coming to a close but that doesn’t mean your wild bunch needs to hibernate indoors this fall. Instead, make summer jealous with simple outdoor adventures you can take any time, any place. Read on and “leaf” the planning to us!

2 boys at pumpkin patchphoto: Staci Lopshire

1. Jump in a leaf pile. It doesn’t get any easier than rake, gather, repeat to help the kiddos hop into autumn. Launch yourself feet first into this fall fave!

Boy with leaf pile Russ on flickrphoto: Russ via Flickr

2. Pick apples at a nearby orchard. U-pick, we pick, your kiddos will love picking bright crispy apples on a sunny day. Bring home a bushel and a peck from a nearby U-pick orchard during apple’s high season.

Girl picking apples sarah lenssenphoto: Sarah Lenssen

3. Check out the fall foliage. Court fall’s most colorful stars by taking a stroll around the ‘hood or hiking a tree-lined trail. Bonus points if you take a route you’ve never taken before.

Kids walking in park Angela Bartonphoto: Angela Barton

4. Go bird watching. Grab the binocs and a local birding guide from the library before heading out on this quiet adventure. Don’t forget to record your finds in a field note journal you can use year after year.

Kids birdwatching born1945 flickrphoto: born1945 via Flickr

5. Play ball. Throw, kick or bounce your way over to the local outdoor sports court or grassy park for some game time. Challenge your mini-me to shoot hoops, throw the pigskin around or kick a winning goal when he’s got energy to burn.

Kid and dad playing footballphoto: Justy Cin MD via Flickr

6. Go on a leaf scavenger hunt. Put your little sleuth on the case of the missing leaves. Have him gather up the usual suspects (think: maple, elm, birch, and more) when you take to the neighborhood streets. Collect one of each leaf in all of fall’s favorite colors to complete the lineup! Feeling crafty? Use your collection in a cool project.

Leaf in hands Christina Millerphoto: Christina Miller

7. Bundle up for a bike ride. Get more mileage from your outdoor time on your trusty two-wheeler. Whether you’re trailer-ing your crew, or they’re balance biking alongside you, there’s no denying the joy that comes from a family bike ride.

Family biking Bike SLO County Flickrphoto: Bike SLO County via Flickr

8. Go on one last picnic. Before the winter weather sets in, pack the picnic basket full of everyone’s favorite noshables. Then find a grassy spot to enjoy the spread.

Family picnic Wellspring Community School flickrphoto: Wellspring Community School via Flickr

9. Watch the sun set. The leaves’ changing colors don’t have anything on the fall’s glorious sunsets. Bring your tiny tot out to enjoy the colorful show before she hits the hay.

Mom and kids sunset beach jose martinez flickrphoto: Jose Martinez via Flickr

10. Get lost in a corn maze. Fall is a great time to take advantage of old school farm faves, like winding your way through a corn maze. Follow your mini-me’s lead on this wild adventure!

3 kids at corn maze beccy gabbardphoto: Beccy Tressel Gabbard

11. Find an Oktoberfest. Raise a glass to this festive family outing. Bundle up the kidlets for face painting, dancing, parades and of course, a few frothy mugs for mom and dad. Cheers!

family at oktoberfest rochelle hartman flickrphoto: Rochelle Hartman via Flickr

12. Find constellations in the night sky. Fall’s shorter days and longer nights mean little stargazers don’t have to stay up too late to find dazzling patterns overhead. Find your favorite twinkle, twinkle stars before shuttling your sleepy head off to bed. Here’s our step-by-step guide to stargazing with kids. 

Girl with telescope Lotzman Katzman flickrphoto: Lotzman Katzman via Flickr

13. Pick pumpkins at a patch. Nothing says fall quite like the annual pumpkin patch outing. Let your sidekick climb the hay bales or jump in the corn bin while you sip hot apple cider nearby. Then comb through this year’s pumpkin crop to find the perfect one to carve.

Boy and dad in pumpkin patchphoto: Amy Huey

14. Shop your local farmer’s market. Glossy red apples, stew-worthy root veggies and a cornucopia of squashes are waiting for you at your local farmer’s market in autumn. Get yours before the markets go on hiatus for the winter.

People at Farmers market Jay Cross flickrphoto: Jay Cross via Flickr

15. Hunt for pinecones. Turn a simple walk into a treasure hunt when you keep an eye out for pinecones. After you’ve collected quite a few use them to make bird feeders, paint with them or even turn them into a wreath just in time for Turkey Day.

Boy collecting pinecones Elizabeth M flickrphoto: Elizabeth M. via Flickr

16. Plant bulbs. Get your little green thumb into the mud before the first freeze to plant bulbs now so you can enjoy them this spring. Let your garden grow!

Boys planting bulbsphoto: Christina Miller

What’s your family’s favorite way to enjoy the great outdoors in the fall? Share your ideas in a comment.

—Allison Sutcliffe