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10 Fall Activities for Kids with a Parent at Basic Training

Single parenting is a challenge most military spouses or partners face at some point during their loved one’s career. While the task isn’t easy, there...

Looking for a list of fall activities for kids at home missing a parent and anxiously awaiting the end of basic training? You’re not alone. 

Running the parenting show solo at home isn’t an easy task. The weeks of basic trining may feel more like years awaiting graduation and trying to fill each day distracting your child from missing their parent. 

Single parenting is a challenge most military spouses or partners face at some point during their loved one’s career. While the task isn’t easy, there are some fun ways to ensure your kids enjoy fall even as their parents is away at basic training. 

Here are 10 activities to make the most of fall with your kids while their other parent is at basic training. 

1. Nature Scavenger Hunt.

Create a fall-themed scavenger hunt in your local park or forest. While you’re there, ask your kids to each pick their favorites leaves. Then take your leaves home to paint or decorate as fun fall decor.

2. Take ideas from Easter.

It may sound odd at first, but fall is a great time to put old Easter eggs to use! You can find glow in the dark eggs at your local convenience store to hide candy in. Plan a nighttime egg hunt for the kids before Halloween to get excited for trick or treating. Or, make your kids a “Halloween basket” for Halloween morning – filled with Halloween goodies instead of Easter candy. Don’t forget to take photos so you can share them in your next letter to your loved one at basic training, this way they can feel part of your fall festivities.

3. Do a fall photo shoot.

Hire a photographer to do a professional photo shoot of your kids in their costumes, or as a family in your favorite fall outfits. No photographer? No problem, set your phone up and take some fun candids with your kids. This is a great way to get family photos (you can even combine your Christmas photo shoot with this one for your holiday cards). Think of creative backdrops outside and creative props to make it more fun. Then, share the photos with your loved one at basic training in your next Sandboxx Letter.

4. Host a bonfire.

Make it a cozy night in for the family by lighting a fire, or improvising with a bonfire video on YouTube. Put pillows on the floor alongside a big bowl of candy, and read ghost stories or watch a scary movie together. You could even have a competition to see who can make the best s’more. This is a great time to talk about a parent at basic training and your kids can guess what their favorite fall activity is.

make Halloween fun

5. Go camping.

If you’re in an area where it’s still relatively warm in the fall months, go to a local campsite and pitch a tent. Roast marshmallows and hot dogs, and let them sleep in their costumes. Don’t forget to take a family hike and check out the beautiful fall foliage.

6. Have a Halloween costume contest.

Spend an afternoon or evening seeing who can put together the best halloween costume from items around the house. Photograph each creation, then select your favorite and the winner get a prize. You can even get the neighbor kids involved and put on a Halloween fashion show.

7. Go to a drive-in movie.

Check our your nearest drive-in theater. They’ll probably be showing a scary (or kid-friendly) movie on Halloween night.  If you don’t live near a drive-in theater, try creating your own outdoor movie right at home.

8. Volunteer Together: Do a “give-back” challenge.

Volunteering at a local charity, or simply taking an afternoon to pick up trash at a local trail or park is a great way to teach kids the value of giving back this fall. You can teach the value of a helping hand at home too. Pick a week and challenge your kids to do as many nice things as they can – whether it’s helping out a brother or sister, writing a note to a grandparent, or painting rocks to leave on neighbors yards. For every nice thing they do, they get a piece of candy. At the end of the week, write a letter to your loved on at basic training to tell them all about the wonderful things you did.

9. Get outside.

A quick online search for fall activities in your area will likely lead to at least one pumpkin patch, and if you’re lucky possibly an apple orchard. Take the kids to explore a local pumpkin patch, pick out pumpkins, and have a fun carving session afterwards. Visit an apple orchard to pick fresh apples and find a recipe to make together.

10. Have a bake-a-thon.

Use the ingredients you got from your apple or pumpkin picking adventure for some baking inspiration. Or keep it single with a cake mix and fall themed icing. Then, spend the evening baking fall inspired cakes and cookies. Have a family contest for whose concoction is the best and be sure to send a photo in your next letter to basic training.

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Jeremiah Runser