Kids are back to school and that means back to stuffy classrooms, back to homework, and back to hectic after-school schedules that leave little time for outdoor play. But just because those lazy summer does are behind us doesn't mean we need to give up on play time. In fact, it's more important than even now to make sure kids get fresh air and outdoor fun time.

Fall is my most favorite season of the year ... the cooler temps, the brilliant blue skies, and let's not forget those magnificent leaf colors! There are so many awesome things to do outdoors in the fall ... and unlike summer and winter, you don't have to dash indoors to escape the temperatures.  

There are lots of great ways to enjoy the outdoors in autumn — fall hikes, leaf rubbing, nature collages, apple orchard visits ... and of course, leaf raking (and jumping.) The sky is amazing this time of year, too. Last night, the girls in my daughters' Girl Scout troop spent almost an entire meeting looking up at the sky and then trying to recreate the awesome cloud images using cotton balls, wool, tissues, yarn, paint, and whatever else they could get their hands on.

If you're looking for fall fun inspiration, be sure to check out the National Wildlife Federation's Outdoor Activity Guide for Fall.  It's a free, four-page download that's packed with great ideas for squeezing outdoor fun in to your busy fall schedule. The guide includes nature "treasure" hunts, 
leaf games, and even ideas for an evening moon walk. And I love that it offers simple ways to work these ideas in to activities you might already be doing (like watching older siblings at a soccer game or raking the front yard.)

Great ideas for a great season. Have fun jumping in those leaves!

Also on MNN: How to discover the meaning of fall (A photo gallery)

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