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Fall weekends are the best. But hanging out at the crowded pumpkin patch for the fifth weekend in a row? Not so much. Here, seven out-of-the-box fall ideas that you and your kids will love.

RELATED: The Ultimate Fall To-Do List

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Plant Bulbs for Next Spring

Sure, the clocks are telling us to fall back, but get your kids’ minds springing ahead. Take a trip to your local garden center and let them pick out bulbs to plant now for flowers next year. Tulips and daffodils are both good options for fall garden beds. Have your kids track the progress of their bulbs from the moment they’re in the ground all the way to first bloom.

RELATED: The Secret Reason Your Houseplants Keep Dying

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Sign Up for a Family Road Race

Fall is the perfect time of year to team up for family runs. Look up local running groups and races and set a goal—say, a 2K—by November. Then, every weekend, start the morning with a short family run followed by a yummy brunch. (Bonus: When you’re done, your five-year-old will undoubtedly need a nap.)

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Hit Up Your Local Farmers’ Market

Even if you don’t have the whole weekend to take an apple picking trip, plan an hour-long family excursion to your town’s farmers' market. Guide your kids through all the produce or—better yet—send them on a scavenger hunt to find fall veggies by color (like purple eggplant or green apples).

RELATED: The Best Apple-Picking Orchards in America

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Take Leaf Peeping on the Road

Pile the family into the car for a fall foliage road trip to look for unique and brightly colored autumn leaves. Plus, you can snag the perfect family photo op while you’re out there. Christmas cards? Done.

RELATED: 10 Websites That Make Holiday Cards a Total Breeze

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Help Your Kids Get Crafty

Build a scarecrow for their fall garden, decorate pumpkins and make collages from the leaves they’ve collected. The best part is, you don’t have to leave the house, yet you’ve unlocked hours and hours of family fun.

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Go Backyard Camping

It may be too cold for a full-on sleepover, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still pitch a tent. Set it up in your backyard, then head out with the kids in the late afternoon. The sun sets early enough that by 6 or 7 p.m., you’ll be good to start telling ghost stories and roasting s’mores, all before heading inside to go to bed.

 

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Try a New Fall Festival

OK, so one of these may include a corn maze, but it’s worth searching to see what your hometown has planned. For example, Circleville, Ohio has a massive pumpkin show, and Wareham, Massachusetts has a cranberry harvest fest. Just plug the name of your town and the words “fall festival” into Google and you’ll be amazed at all of the options that come up. 

RELATED: No-Carve Pumpkin Ideas to Step Up Your Halloween Game

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