Family Fun in Fall Foliage

November 5, 2013 Tips & Advice

In the fall though the days get shorter and the air crisp I find my kids’ excitement about being outdoors contagious so I bid summer adieu and turn my attention to day trips. It doesn’t take much packing just a few sandwiches in a cooler, GPS or a road map, and we hop in the car in search of glorious fall foliage.

In the fall though the days get shorter and the air crisp I find my kids’ excitement about being outdoors contagious so I bid summer adieu and turn my attention to day trips. It doesn’t take much packing just a few sandwiches in a cooler, GPS or a road map, and we hop in the car in search of glorious fall foliage.

My family and I are lucky enough to live in New York State’s Hudson Valley, which in my (clearly biased) opinion is the heart of Fall Foliage. Not only does the area offer an abundance of beautiful fall scenery, but also has great spots where you can teach your kids a little science about autumn.

Since it’s not all about the destination with a little planning, you can find a way to pique your kids’ interest and keep them engaged along the journey.

  • Pack fall colored crayons and ask them to draw some of the trees they see outside the car windows.
  • Talk to your kids about why leaves change color in the fall. Explain how plants feed themselves using sunshine to make chlorophyll. Great website for more explanations, games and activities:

If your kids aren’t ready to discuss photosynthesis that’s fine, there is plenty to do:

  • See if they can spot wildlife and talk about their behavior – are the squirrels doing anything to prepare for winter? What do other animals do to get ready for winter?
  • Have them collect leaves to make scrapbooks. A leaf rubbing with waxed paper and crayon can help them explore shapes and textures and different kinds of leaves.
  • Make sure they pick up acorns and sticks – ask if they can tell you where these things come from and what they’re for, e.g – where do baby trees come from?

A wide variety of kid-friendly hikes and parks are within driving distance from the NY Metro area:

  • Harriman State Park in Stony Point, NY for scenery and outdoor attractions
  • Wave Hill in Riverdale is a quick ride from Grand Central and like Boscobel Gardens in Garrison, NY features seasonal plantings and programs, with a fantastic view of the Hudson River and Palisades.
  • New York Botanical Gardens is not only beautiful any time of year, but the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden features seasonal programs, themed outdoor galleries, and more. The Edible Academy provides hands-on gardening activities from April through October, encouraging little ones and adults to play in the dirt and learn a few botanical insights.

Autumn travel has unique safety considerations to keep in mind before you strap the little ones in and head to the hills:

  • Rain: in the fall the roads can be particularly slick with summer grime and oil that hasn’t had a chance to wash away. Leave a little more space between you and the car in front of you on rainy days – no tailgating.
  • Wet Leaves on the road can actually be even more slippery than ice and can also hide other hazards, such as potholes. Keep a reasonable speed and keep alert.
  • Leaf-seekers: if you’re driving in a popular “leaf-peeping” area, remain aware of other drivers, they may be prone to distraction and frequent stops.
  • Back to school: vehicular and pedestrian traffic in the mornings and afternoons increase dramatically during the school year. Stay alert in residential areas, and of course, be prepared to stop frequently if you are behind a school bus or in a drop-off line.

We found this site very helpful to learn more about fall road conditions

Love fall foliage? Share your family foliage photos And please make sure your car seats are installed safely and securely before you hit the road!

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