4 fun, cheap fall activities for the family

Autumn is on its way, and with the temperature dropping like the leaves, new, inexpensive things to do emerge as Sept. 22 approaches.

September means the kids will be at school most days, and the home will have to be prepped for harsher weather. This makes getting out and enjoying your time together even more important before winter frost blankets the neighborhood. Check out some of the following activities this fall in order to have fun with the family without spending too much money:

1. Rake the leaves
One cheap activity, suggested by U.S. News and World Report, that doubles as an essential chore is raking the leaves. If the kids join in on the fun, this routine may soon turn into a game. Join the children raking leaves into piles. After, they can jump into the leaf mounds and play for a bit.

When this is done the leaf piles will actually come in handy for flower beds, according to HGTV. Leaving them on the grass - compacted and wet - will end up suffocating your lawn, so you might as well take advantage of the leaves after playing with them and put them to good use. Shred the leaves and use them as mulch, or put them in a compost pile, in order to boost the nutrients in your flowers' soil.

2. Visit a harvest or Halloween festival
Amusement parks, pumpkin farms, churches and more can be found holding harvest or Halloween festivals during autumn, according to Frugal Rules. Just avoid the festivals that can turn into tourist traps, and stick to those that seem low key. This is where you will find all sorts of inexpensive fun such as pumpkin picking, hay rides and haunted houses.

3. The season of apples and pumpkins
Two foods are widely associated with autumn, both of which you and the family can easily enjoy this season - apples and pumpkins. Apple and pumpkin picking are activities that have been associated with the season. If you go apple picking you can take your spoils home and make all sorts of food such as apple pie or apple cobbler, U.S. News and World report suggested. But if you don't feel like a smorgasbord of apple-based meals for the next few months, then there's always pumpkins. Jack-o-lantern carving is an "autumn tradition," the publication explained. You can spend the day making all sorts of jack-o-lanterns in order to decorate your home for the fall season and Halloween.

4. Hike or bike through the changing colors
This is the time of year when the leaves reveal a variety of earthy tones overhead, which can make for quite a sight in the right places. During the fall there is no need to fret about sweating in the summer heat, or slipping on the icy sidewalks, Frugal Rules explained. In addition, the colorful foliage can make for great photography sessions.

In addition, if you bring along a backpack you and the kids can collect little pieces of nature that can be useful for arts and crafts projects, U.S. News and World Report suggested. For example, grab a few pine cones off the ground and take them home with you. After your hike you can use these in order to make bird feeders. All you need for this are the pine cones you collected, bird feed, peanut butter and string. Tie the string around the top of the pine cone, cover it in peanut butter and then roll the end product in the bird feed. Now you have a pine cone bird feeder!

Save these fun activities for weekends this fall, in order to get some outdoor time in before a sure-to-be-cold winter.

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