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The best frugal family activities for autumn

The best frugal family activities for autumn
The summer holidays are a distant memory and the children have settled back to school. However, Autumn brings a host of potential pastimes. Just because summer is over, it doesn’t mean you have to hibernate!   
Autumn is my favourite season for a plethora of reasons. The vibrant oranges and yellows of the leaves falling, crisp morning air and cosy nights in are things that make me feel peaceful and happy. Yes, the weather tends to turn a bit dingy and grey, but the lure of duvet days hearing rain patter again the glass is something I can’t deny I love. 
So, here are some of my favourite frugal activities for the family. Having fun doesn’t have to hurt your bank account! 

Go for a walk in the woods 

The trees are at their best, the shrubs are full of berries and the dappled sun coming through the leaves is very calming walking through an Autumn woodland. If the weather is cold, wrap up warm and go anyway. It’s good to get some fresh air and burn off some energy. Whilst you are on your walk in the woods, collect some interesting leaves and make leaf pictures back at home. You can either paint the leaves for leaf printing, or make a collage. 
Image of a family walking through the woods smiling

Head to the beach 

Now that the holiday hoards have gone home, the beaches are much quieter. Wrap up and take a walk, collect some shells, take your sketchbook or do some rock pooling. A flask of hot chocolate and some sandwiches are a good idea for a trip to the beach in Autumn. 

Make an apple cake 

You often come across free windfall apples at this time of year, but even if you buy them, they are cheaper when they are in season. This delicious spiced apple cake recipe makes good use of them. The kids can help! 

Embrace the rain 

Don’t run inside the minute it rains. Get your wellies and raincoats on and go splash in the puddles. You might even spot a rainbow. You can come in a snuggle up on the sofa to read or watch some TV

Go pumpkin picking 

Visit a pumpkin patch. There are many open during the October half term holiday. Watch out for the entrance fees, though, as they vary a lot. Many start from £2 to £3 per person, and you pay extra for what you pick. Some, however, offer free entry and sell the pumpkins for a slither of the supermarket prices. Get practising with your carving skills for Halloween, or use them to make a delicious pumpkin soup. 

Find local activities 

Check out your council and tourist information websites for half term entertainment. Events are often free, or at least low cost, with activities such as craft sessions, storytelling, festivals and open days. 

Do your own reading challenge 

Set your children an Autumn reading challenge - a bit like the summer reading challenges most libraries run. Maybe they can read one book a week for six weeks? Make them a certificate for when they have completed the challenge. 
Your local library is the obvious place to go to borrow books for your challenge, but you will also find films and games whilst you are there. In addition, some larger libraries run activities such as craft sessions for children. 

Do outside things indoors 

If the weather is too wet or cold to eat outside, make an indoor picnic. Pack up some sandwiches, cakes, drinks and little treats, lay out your blanket and tuck in! 
Children love camping, so you could also create a tent indoors. Tie some old sheets over the furniture to make a den, put some duvets or sleeping bags inside, along with a torch, then sing songs and tell stories as if you were round the campfire.  

Go for a bike ride 

If you don’t have bikes, see if you can borrow some for a day (or find them for free on Freecycle or Freegle).  Find a safe and suitable route for you and your tribe, pack your raincoats and some refreshments, and discover your local area by bike. 

Make a time capsule 

Make a time capsule with photos, letters, mementoes, etc from each of your family members and bury it in the garden.  
Image of a woman and young girl inside an indoor tent laughing

Have a pyjama day 

Watch some of your favourite films, play games, sing and chill in your pyjamas for a few hours. Smaller children will probably get restless after a while, so it’s a good idea to have some other activities at hand as well. 

Make a photo collage 

I miss having tons of printed photos in albums! Now that photography has been digitised, I find I don’t look at old photos as much. A nice, frugal family activity to rectify this is to print out some of your photos and make a collage to display. Alternatively, give each of your children a scrapbook to stick some photos in.
Written by Isobel Lawrance, money content writer at MoneyMagpie
Image of a lady smiling Isobel Lawrence from Money Magpie
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