I’m one of those people. The kind who loves boot and sweater weather. The one who can’t help but smile when pumpkin spice lattes are being served. I am the type that embraces all things fall before the autumn equinox actually happens. 

In all fairness, I live in a northern climate where leaves start to change in August.

megloeks_image27 small child climbing gate in autumn fall activities meg loeks

We have four very distinctive seasons in Michigan and fall has always been my favorite. I welcome the cooler temps because it means I get to be cozy in warm clothes in the crisp air.

The rich, jewel tones of autumn are my favorite color pallete.

My enthusiasm for fall over the years has spread to my children, and we always look forward to our seasonal traditions. And while my kids might love fall for Halloween costumes and trick-or-treat candy, I find myself drawn to the simple activities that get us outside to enjoy the sights and sounds of autumn.

This list of fall activities are some of our most cherished and they also happen to be wonderfully photo worthy.

The pumpkin patch

megloeks_image5 small child pushing large pumpkin across dirt path by meg loeks

I don’t think there is a more magical fall tradition than heading to the farm to pick the perfect pumpkin. I love seeing my children’s tastes in their pumpkin of choice shift over the years. I’ve seen preferences for the tiniest of pumpkins and oddly shaped ones and some so big that they couldn’t carry them to the car.

megloeks_image4 three small children at pumpkin patch holding pumpkins fall activities by meg loeks

When photographing these outings, I do try to be intentional with my children’s clothing. I often find that simple is best. Since a pumpkin patch is colorful, I love to dress my children in neutral clothing that I know will photograph well.

Pumpkin carving

After we pick the perfect pumpkins, it is always so much fun to bring them home and transform them into our own special jack-o-lanterns. This activity is particularly beloved and photo worthy because the kids’ expressions are so darned cute!

My son Woody is always disgusted with the process of cleaning out the pumpkin. And yet he begs to do this every single year! It’s his expressions that make the photo. Meanwhile my son Archie’s enthusiasm for the pumpkin goop and carving creates wonderful juxtaposition.

megloeks_image9 three small boys carving pumpkins in grass fall activities by meg loeks

If you are looking for an opportunity to capture all of your children in one frame, this is a great activity for just that.

Baking

megloeks_10 mother making apple pie with small boy fall activities by meg loeks

Save this photogenic activity for a rainy day. If your climate is anything like ours, autumn can be quite wet. Baking and creating still life images is an enjoyable creative outlet for me. Having my children involved in the process always makes things interesting.

megloeks_11 small child at table making small pumpkin pies with gourds fall activities by meg loeks

Still life is the perfect opportunity to experiment with colors, textures, and composition. This is a far more patient subject than the kids!

It’s also a perfect time to capture all the little details. I often start out simple with my still and then slowly build as I work to find balance.

Color walks

megloeks_12 two small boys walking along dirt path through colorful fall trees fall activities by meg loeks

We are so lucky in Michigan to have the most magnificently colorful fall season. Depending on the climate, autumn may look a little different for you. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s not a fantastic time to get outside with your children and enjoy the outdoors.

megloeks_13 small boys looking at spider web among leaves in fog in autumn fall activities by meg loeks

We love to go on walks, especially in autumn when the temperatures are cooler and there are no bugs! We make a game of finding every color in the rainbow as we explore. It keeps the kids engaged with what they are seeing and adds a fun bit of competition to our exploring.

Getting outside is also a great way to stay healthy, reset creatively, and gives me the opportunity to photograph the kids enjoying nature.

Collecting treasures

megloeks_image16 child holding red leaves autumn in hands fall activities by meg loeks

While out on your walk, collect treasures! Have your children gather colorful leaves, acorns, pinecones, mushrooms, and even rocks and sticks (my children’s personal favorites).

megloeks_image17 child reaching for leaves from autumn tree yellow fall activities by meg loeks

Bring your collection home and create a still or construct an autumnal art project (like this one).

Playing in the leaves

megloeks_image18 child laying in grass among red autumn leaves fall activities by meg loeks

You will find me (along with everyone else in the northern midwest) outside raking leaves into piles so we don’t have a mess to clean up come spring. Meanwhile my children can be found playing in these leaf piles often undoing all the work I’ve done.

If you are looking to capture joy, this is the perfect fall activity to photograph. Every autumn, our trees shed and blanket the ground with their vibrant, colorful leaves.

Hay rides

mickie_1 children at pumpkin patch fall activities by mickie devries
photo by Mickie DeVries

Do you have a local farm within driving distance? Chances are that they have all kinds of things happening this fall for you and your family to enjoy. For me, this is one of my favorite things about autumn. Bring on the donuts and warm apple cider!

Hay rides are a simple, albeit bouncy, way to get everyone giggling and having fun. Like pumpkin carving, this is a great way to capture all of your children in the frame.

Halloween

megloeks_image22 children trick or treating halloween fall activities by meg loeks

My children talk about Halloween 365 days of the year. They start planning their costumes months in advance. It’s definitely one of the most exciting events of the years and I want to capture all the excitement while they are still little enough to love it so much.

megloeks_image21 child in oompa loompa costume with chocolate fall activities by meg loeks

Halloween is a time for them to be anything they aspire to be (which at the moment involves mostly superheroes). Each year, I photograph each of my children individually dressed-up in their character of choice. Then I always try and capture an image of them all out trick-or-treating.

megloeks_image20 family in fox costumes outside in autumn fall activities by meg loeks

If your children are going to trick-or-treat, consider bringing them into town the night before to capture images of them out and about. This way you avoid crowds and strangers in your frame and have more time to creatively compose your images.

Apple picking

megloeks_image23 child picking apples from tree fall activities by meg loeks

Along with going to the pumpkin patch this is one of my favorite fall activities. Lots of apples means lots of yummy apple pies at home! Even better, it’s a wonderfully photo-worth activity to do with your children.

megloeks_image24 child laying in grass among red apples fall activities by meg loeks

Michigan is known for their amazing apples. The deep greens of the trees and the vibrant red fruit provides a beautiful backdrop for photos. And those long gorgeous rows provide the perfect framing opportunities for your subjects.

Corn Maze

mickie_3 girl walking through field of corn maze fall activities by mickie devries
photo by Mickie DeVries

Last but certainly not least, bringing your children to a corn maze is sure to produce some epic images. Chances are a local farm near you has one along with other fall activities fun for all ages. A corn maze is especially entertaining for older children and a great way to get them in front of the camera without the big kid eye rolls.

megloeks_image26 child walking among autumn foliage fall activities by meg loeks

Whether your autumn showcases cooler temps and colorful leaves or lots of rain and rich greens, I hope this list offers a variety of photo-worthy activities with children for all. Use this beautiful season as a time to get outside, enjoy the beautiful weather and reset your creativity.