Last updated on January 5th, 2020 at 12:58 pm
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Are you looking to slow the fall season down and savor it with your family, but your budget is tight? Here are 25 fall activities that you can enjoy with your family–all costing less than $10.
Before you read the list, I want to make sure that you understand a few things. I in no way expect your family to make this list of fall activities a to-do list. Instead, I want it to be an idea list. Families are busy and trying to fit 25 fall activities into fall isn’t going to create family bonding; it will create family stress.
Think of this list as an idea starter. Pick what ideas work for your family and your budget and forget about the rest.
25 Fall Activities For Families On A Tight Budget
1. Attend Free Community Events
Almost every town has a free fall festival of some type. Ask around on Facebook, check your local newspapers website, look at the bulletin boards in your local shops. If you have college in your town, check their Facebook for community events too as some put on free events for families from time to time.
2. Take A Nature Walk
Take a nature hike on a local walking trail in your community. You can take it spontaneously on a beautiful fall day or if you are more of a planner go wild preparing. Create a fall scavenger hunt sheet with five items or so that the kids need to look for on the walk. Give the kids each an empty grocery bag and tell them to collect different leaf specimens on the way.
3. Bake And Decorate Cookies Or Cupcakes
Time to break out the pumpkin shaped cookie cutters and the orange food coloring. Or perhaps the witch and cat cookie cutter and the black sprinkles. Of course, you could always make cupcakes topped with both orange icing and black sprinkles. In our family, we make cupcakes using my recipe for wacky cake (no milk or eggs and very moist), and we ice them using my super simple three ingredient icing recipe that even someone with minimal baking experience can make in under five minutes.
4. Hold A Fall Themed Movie Night
Make a batch of caramel crunch popcorn and a jug of frugal lemonade. Grab a free movie from your library, or use a free Redbox promo code (psst…the site Money Saving Mom regularly lists them.) If your library allows you access to the Hoopla app, pick one from there. If you can’t find a free one, Redbox movies are under $2 and most Amazon streaming movies are $6 and under. Both make for an inexpensive family night when compared to going to the movie theater.
5. Attend Free Church Events
Our church has thrown an annual trunk or treat for years. It is free and open to all. I know we are not the only church to offer such an event near Halloween. Check your local churches Facebook pages or websites for listings of such events.
6. Read A Fall Themed Book Aloud
Go to your local library and ask the librarian for suggestions of fall books that your family might enjoy reading together. You might also want to check out their selection of audio books that you could listen to as a family in the car. The Hoopla app is our family’s favorite source of great free downloadable audio books you can borrow.
7. Color Fall Themed Coloring Sheets
A quick Google search will help you find free fall themed coloring sheets that you can print out. Make a family evening of this event by putting out some snacks, putting on music in the background and making sure everyone has plenty of coloring pencils, markers and crayons. A pencil sharpener is also a must if you are going to be using colored pencils.
psst… did you know Hollar often carries all the supplies you will need for a family coloring night at low prices? (they often have Crayola brand too) Use my referral credit (those words in blue) and you will get $2 off your first Hollar purchase.
8. Create Fall Decor Together Out Of What You Already Own
Spend a few minutes going through your home searching for possible fall art supplies then go to Pinterest and enter “fall crafts” into their search area and see what crafts you can make using either just what you have on hand or mostly what you have on hand. If you need a few supplies, dollar stores might have what you need at a very inexpensive cost.
9. Have A Backyard Campfire Night
Depending on where you live you may or may not be able to have a backyard campfire. If you can, make sure to enjoy a crisp fall evening as a family. Buy the supplies for a hot dog roast and turn it into a night long event. Try my chocolate chip cookie s’mores for a new twist on a campfire classic. Or just keep things super simple and gather around the fire and enjoy each other’s company.
10 Paint Or Carve Pumpkins Together
Aldi in our town sells pumpkins for less than $5 a piece. Chances are your city has a source for inexpensive pumpkins too. Grab one or a few depending on what your budget can afford and spend a bit of time one evening painting or carving the pumpkin together. If you carve it, don’t forget to roast the seeds. Even if no one ends up enjoying the taste of them, it is a super easy project that all kids should try at least once.
11. Make Some Fall Slime Or Playdough
Slime is all the rage with kids right now. So why not try making a fall themed batch of it (here is a recipe I found on Pinterest). Not a fan of slime? Try making a few batches of play dough and dye them fall colors then have fun making fall scenes with it all fall.
12. Grab A Can Of Pumpkin And Bake Something
Enter “pumpkin baking” into pumpkin recipes into the Pinterest search area, and you will find hundreds of yummy fall recipes to try (I have an entire Pinterest board full of them). My guess is you might also be able to earn a cash back on those cans of pumpkin you buy if you use a grocery app or two.
Here is a list of the ones I use most often:
- Ibotta: Usually has at least one “not brand specific” deal and can be used at most major retailers.
- FetchRewards: Scan your receipt and earn cash back on over 150 brands. Use my referral code RE9FU at sign up and start your account with 1500 points.
- Receipt Hog: Can use it in any store. Earn points or spins for every receipt. Sign up here (use my referral code YECT1667 for bonus spins).
13. Collect Leaves And Make Some Art With Them
If you took my nature walk suggestion, you might have collected leaves and are now wondering what to do with them. Make them into art. I entered “leaf art for kids” into the search feed on Pinterest, and some very original ideas came up. Ideas way beyond the simple wax paper placemats I use to make in school.
14. Earn A Few Gift Cards And Cash Them In For Pumpkin Lattes Or Another Fall Favorite
I know a $5 pumpkin latte is a splurge for those on tight budgets, but what if I told you there was a way to grab one for you and possibly a few more for your family without digging into your family’s current budget? I have been using point reward programs for years to treat myself to fancy coffee.
A few top earning sites for me are:
- Swagbucks: over 25 ways to earn and some for things you are already doing online. Sign up here
- InstaGC: you get your gift cards instantly! Earn points doing simple tasks. Sign up here
- PrizeRebel: get paid to watch videos and answer surveys. 24 hour or less delivery of gift cards. Sign up here
15. Organize A Halloween Costume Swap With Friends
Halloween costumes can add up. Yes, there is always the dress up bin as well as the recycling bin for supplies and Pinterest for inspiration, which can result in great 100% free costumes, but there is another way to get great costumes for no money. Invite all the families you know over a few weeks before Halloween for a costume swap.
Make the event fellowship friendly by asking people to bring a dish to share as well as their costumes to exchange. You can dine together and then swap. Any leftover costumes can be donated to your favorite thrift store.
16. Pick Out A New Soup And Bread Recipe And Make Dinner Together
What meal screams fall? Hot soup and warm bread smothered in butter–of course! Our family loves my husband’s bread machine white bread served warm come fall, and I am usually inspired by the season to try my hand at creating at least one new type of soup.
My favorite source of free soup recipes isn’t Pinterest though–I know, shocking! Nope, I prefer trying out recipes I find in the magazines I enjoy for free! I earn most of them through RecycleBank where one-year magazine subscriptions vary from 100 points up to 300 points.
With some point earning emails providing ways to earn 100 points or more, it doesn’t take long for me to cash in for my favorites magazines. In fall you will find me curled up under a blanket on my porch swing: a hot cup of something in one hand and a magazine in the other.
17. Attend Free Library Events
One more place to look for free family events is your local library. Often libraries will bring in people to do free to the public puppet shows or short plays. They also offer free book readings for children, movie showings, arts and craft lessons and more. What they offer depends on where you live.
18. Do Fall Themed Volunteering
Chances are some people in your neighborhood could use help with raking leaves, cleaning gutters, or perhaps picking their fall fruit trees. Gather around the table as a family and make a list of those residents in your community you think could use a hand with their fall chores and then just show up with tools in hand and do the job for them. Better yet, find out when they won’t be home so they come back to a leaf free yard and no idea who did it. That right there will warm your family’s hearts and the recipient’s for days on end.
19. Take Part In National Candy Corn Day (October 30th) or another Fun National Day
Sometimes ordinary days start to string together and life seems a little boring. When that happens in our home, I often will take a peek at a National Day calendar listing online and see when the next one is that my family can take part in for little effort and money. National Candy Corn day is one of those days. On October 30th each year my family gets candy corn–they just don’t know when it is going to show up!
You could take this idea a step further and share a history lesson on candy corn, make a candy dish for the candy corn, or make button art in the shape of a candy corn. How much effort and cash you want to put into the national day is up to you. In our home, I keep it simple and pass out the candy with a loud “HAPPY CANDY CORN DAY!”
20. Create A Thankful Tree
Thanksgiving is of course in the late fall. To put your family in the thankfulness mindset create a thankful tree. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. Buy a piece of white poster board from the dollar store then use a sharpie to draw an outline of a tree without its leaves.
Grab some fall leaf colored construction paper and a roll of tape. Cut the paper into leaf shapes and put them in a bowl on your dining room table as well as the tape and the marker. Each night at dinner time have everyone pick a leaf and write something on it that they are thankful for. Do this each night the week before Thanksgiving and by the big day, you will have a tree full of gratitude reminders.
21. Have A Chili Cook-off Night With Friends
Another classic fall dish is Chili. Why not bring the dish back into your lives for the season with a bang by throwing a chili cook-off night. Invite several families and ask them all to bring a crockpot full of their favorite chili recipe. Make a voting area where everyone can vote on their favorites. The winner goes home with a prize–many dollar stores sell medals in the birthday party area.
22. Try A New Apple Recipe
Fall is apple season. Either buy a bag from your grocery store or go to a local orchard and pick your own. Once you have some google apple recipes and create something yummy with them together as a family.
24. Jump In The Leaves Or Puddles
When my kids were little, they used to love it when I not only raked up the leaves in one big pile for them to jump in, but also took the time to jump in it with them. They also loved it when we would all put on rain boots after a fall rain storm and I would take them out to find puddles to jump in.
I am sure a few drivers of the cars passing by wondered what on earth a 30+ lady was doing jumping in puddles, but I didn’t care; I knew why I was doing it, my children’s memories mean more to me than the stares of strangers.
Go out there mom’s and dad’s and not only set the stage for fall fun, but join the kids and jump in those leaves and puddles!
25. Spend An Evening Planning Your Fall Activities Together
Now that you have read my list, grab the whole family and plan a fun filled fall. Make the planning session more fun by including fall themed snacks and fall themed coloring sheets to work on while you talk. Remember: just a sprinkle will do, too much can turn fun to stress.
Have each person in the family come up with one event they want to do and get it on the calendar during your planning night or work together to come up with two fun ideas you all want to do for each month of the fall season.
Dig Into These Posts For More Inexpensive Entertainment Ideas
- 10 Fall Date Ideas That Cost Zero
- 25 Christmas Traditions For Families On A Tight Budget
- 10 Christmas Time Date Ideas That Cost Zero
For a list of 52 different websites, apps, and stores our thrifty family uses to help us keep our expenses low, click here to visit our Thrifty Tools Resource Page.
Thrifty and Thriving: More Life for Less Money is not your typical “how to save money” book. It does not list 25 ways to save on food or 10 ways to decrease your electric bill. Instead, it shares more than 40 key practices and principles that thrifty families use every day. Get your copy here. Available in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.
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