With the kids settled in at school, we’re looking forward to all the fun that October brings, from Thanksgiving to farmers’ markets and—their favourite!—Halloween, of course.
Go leaf peeping!
Why? With the changing colours and comfortable temperatures, it’s a beautiful time of year for a little drive in the country or a just a trip to a big urban park. Don’t miss out on this opportunity for a hike or even one last picnic—soon enough the season of shovelling and snow pants will arrive. Bring your camera or smartphone: you might just get the perfect picture of the kids in a big pile of leaves (hello holiday card!).
To the Vancouver Island Corn Maze at Pendray Farms, Wednesdays through Sundays until October 31
Why? Because this corn maze is epic. Take older kids at dusk (bring a flashlight!) for some spookier thrills. Be sure to wear rubber boots.
Why? This outdoor toy will lead to hours of active play in almost any weather—you can use it until the snow flies. The whole family can become tight-rope walkers with this easy-to-install kit, which comes with a second teaching line you can install overhead to hold on to as you get the hang of it. Bonus: Slacklines improve core strength and balance—you’ll be sneaking in a workout while getting silly with the kids.
A gratitude game
Why? We know the importance of teaching our kids to count their blessings. But it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day, remembering only at Thanksgiving to go around the table and state the things we’re grateful for. This month, use these free printables to make a game of gratitude. Have the whole family fill out one card per day in the run-up to Thanksgiving. Draw the cards out of a bucket on the big day, read aloud and have everyone guess whose is whose.
Imaginary Fred by Eoin Colfer and Oliver Jeffers
Why? Co-created by beloved author-illustrator Oliver Jeffers, who brought us such modern-day classics as Lost and Found and How to Catch a Star, this is sure to become a new bedtime favourite. It’s a charming story about friendship written from the perspective of an imaginary friend—well timed early in the school year as kiddos get to know their classmates.
Why? Created by a Toronto dad and tech entrepreneur who struggled to get his child to transition from one activity to another, this great tablet app makes a game out of your child’s everyday routines. Parents set up customized lists of tasks for getting out the door in the morning or ready for bed at night, which display in Kid Mode as an interactive game. The time for each activity is displayed with an alarm that rings as the final seconds count down. If kids go over, it comes off their playtime at the end, while completing routines earns kids videogame time or other rewards. The app’s been embraced by parents in the ADHD community, but is useful for any of us who’ve struggled to get the kids off to school or daycare.
By hitting a farmers’ market
Why? Because there’s no better time of year to eat local. Reduce the impact of your food purchases by buying produce that didn’t need a lift here from Ecuador, and get in on your local farmers’ delicious fall bounty while you do. Stock up on squashes, sweet potatoes and other long-storing veg for hearty soups and stews that hit the spot on cooler nights.
Creepy-chic painted pumpkins
Why? Because as much as we love the idea of a front porch full of creatively carved pumpkins, that much pumpkin gutting is going to keep us up all night. Try these artfully drippy pumpkins to round out your tableau instead. The technique is easy and looks cool, too.
Stock school shelves with books and foster a love of reading in kids by voting for, (aka ‘adopting’) an elementary school as part of the Indigo Love of Reading 2015 Adopt a School program, on now until October 10
Why? Because it’s so easy and means so much. Go to adoptaschool.indigo.ca to adopt a school—it’s like voting and is free. Come back every day to adopt, and the top three schools with the most adopts in each province will win books for their library. If you want to go above and beyond, the foundation accepts donations, too—every $12 donation buys a book, and counts as 10 adopts.