By TMoM Team Member Sydney D. Richardson, Ph. D.

It all started when the first crisp morning of fall hit. I stood on my front porch with my warm cup of coffee and enjoyed a cool morning. I love the fall. However, what I love most is using that time to make a fall bucket list with my family. A fall family bucket list is a creation of things to do during the autumn season. Because the fall is filled with school, work, and other responsibilities, a bucket list gives everyone in the family some things to look forward to, aside from the traditional holidays. For my family, we each like to come up with a variety of activities. That way, everyone gets to choose something that interest them, and the rest of the family gets to learn something new.

Now, bucket list items do not have to be extravagant or super expensive. You can even tailor them to various age groups. When my children were younger, items included short nature walks and leaf collecting. As they aged, they were able to state things that they really wanted to do. Such as, an afternoon family bake off competition. What makes the bucket list even better is that this list can be used for various seasons and occasions. For example, a summer bucket list or a holiday bucket list.

When talking with families about creating a bucket list, I am often asked about logistics. One question I often get refers to the number of items that should be included in the list. Your family can decide how many items to include on the bucket list. Our family writes down as many events as we can. We know that we cannot accomplish them all, but this way, we always have something to choose from.

We also include a mix of events that are free, as well as middle priced. This way, we can accomplish as much as possible without spending too much money. For example, our lists include multiple library days, visiting a pumpkin patch, and taking part in community events that are low cost. We even include rest days because we parents need a nap sometimes. Since we know that the holidays and gift giving season are right around the corner, it’s important that we not spend too much on our bucket list items.

Another question that I often get refers to how many days out of the week we should use towards the list. The answer is as many as you would like to dedicate. Because my children are involved in extracurricular activities, we use the weekend to devote to our lists. Our weekdays are already packed with duties, so Saturdays are our best days. Sometimes, we’ll use the entire day and other times we’ll use a few hours out of the day. The purpose is to have fun with your loved ones more than following specific guidelines.

So, how should one start creating a bucket list of events? One way to do it is to gather your family around you and explain the purpose of the list. Then, start with something easy. Have each member choose at least three fun things that they would like to do over the course of the fall season. For now, don’t focus on cost, just fun. Next, look at your community events calendar and see if anything listed excites your family. If it does, add it as a possibility. Next, think of things that you like to do as a family in general. You might hear from your family things that you never expected such as game night, movie night, or something else. Write those things down. Pretty soon, your bucket list will get longer and longer.

Once you have enough items that you feel comfortable with (I usually go for 30 items), start plotting them in your calendar. As you move through the fall season, feel free to switch out certain activities for others or add to your list. Again, you may not complete every item, but the goal is to have family fun. We kicked off our bucket list a little late this year, but one of the first things that we did was visit the Lam Museum of Anthropology.

fall bucket list

The Lam Museum of Anthropology is located on the campus of Wake Forest University. Their focus for this month is the history and celebration of Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) in Mexico and the United States. This was a last minute trip, as I stumbled across the museum’s webpage and found this free event (I especially love free, educational events). The museum opens at 10 am, Tuesday-Saturday, so it was a perfect Saturday trip.

My children entered the museum and we immediately noticed the Ofrenda situated in the middle of the museum. However, because it was important that we learn about the celebration, we did not rush to it. Instead, we moved through the entire exhibit, learning about the Day of the Dead. Including the symbolic meaning of each item used by families. Everything from the flowers used to sugar skulls, foods, drinks, candles, toys, and photographs were fully explained and displayed for visitors to view.

To walk through the museum and learn about every facet of the exhibit took about forty minutes. Since it was early on Saturday, we were one of a few people there. The kids were even able to view additional exhibits and learn about the Japanese Tea Ceremony. As well as view traditional tea items used for the ritual. Not only was this a wonderful learning experience (mission accomplished for me), but it was an enlightening and fun one for the kids.

There are many things to do during the fall, but I highly recommend creating a bucket list with your family. It allows them to take part in family fun planning and it makes the fall more exciting than it already is.

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