Harvest Time: Pumpkins, Hay Rides and Apple Cider

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I love taking my family to the pumpkin patch.  It is an activity that the entire family can enjoy together.  Beyond just picking out a pumpkin, children get to experience a taste of the traditional Fall Harvest Festival.  If done well, the pumpkin patch can feel like an open Farmer’s market, displaying all the sights and smells of Autumn.  It is a feast for the senses and this is especially true for children.

black coat pumpkin patch pumpkins unnamed

When searching for a pumpkin patch, look for one that offers Pick-Your-Own Pumpkins, a hay ride and/or corn maze and freshly pressed apple cider or some kind of food specialty. What makes the pumpkin patch a great family fall tradition is that no matter the age of your children, they can enjoy the sights and sounds of fall.  Usually, the pumpkin patch is affordable for families, but plan to spend between $5-10 per person so your family can enjoy all that the pumpkin patch has to offer.

We have two pumpkin patches near our home that offer these and so much more.  I love going to the pumpkin patch and smelling pumpkin donuts frying, and seeing barrels of apples lined up for the press.  My children love to climb up on the hay and run around in the corn maze.  Sometimes, there are even caramel apples lined up covered in chocolate and candy pieces.  It is such a simple, yet fun way to enjoy quality family time.

Especially if you help to build their excitement by telling them in advance all the things they will see and do at the pumpkin patch, young children will look forward and anticipate this family tradition with great enthusiasm and it will be etched in their memories for life.  Whatever your family traditions, never underestimate the power of a tender childhood memory when adult life becomes overwhelming.

It’s easy to prepare for a family outing to the pumpkin patch.  Although, the weather can be tricky so it’s best to dress light, but bring along fall jackets.  You’ll probably want to take some pictures so dress in fall colors and for children especially, I like to dress them in colors that will look good with orange pumpkins!  The key is to pack light.  Remember, you’ll probably be hauling a bunch of pumpkins home so have some kind of transportation for those.

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Pumpkin patches can be quite crowded on Saturdays.  And so if you can arrange to go as a family during the week, you’ll be happy you did so your children don’t have to wait in line.  If you do go on a Saturday, plan to go as early as possible after opening to avoid the crowd.  Although, it can be kind of fun crowding up on a hay ride all together.

Children today are not used to the freedom we used to have as kids as keeping them safe in a dangerous world grows increasingly difficult.  I love giving my children the opportunity to run free and explore new things whenever possible.  The pumpkin patch is a perfect place where children can do this.

Childhood is a magical time when even the simplest things like a pumpkin can stir the imagination and excitement of a young person.  This time goes by so fast.  Take advantage of all the special moments you can.  Take lots of pictures and enjoy it.  Happy Harvest!

You may enjoy these Halloween themed books for children, please click on the image for purchase, thank you,

Adorable pumpkin patch themed board books for very small children.

My mother got this Pumpkin Soup book for my children and it is so sweet.  The duck, cat and squirrel get into a fight over who gets to stir the soup and in the end, the three friends learn a valuable lesson about friendship.  It’s a great teaching book for young children about sharing and being kind to our friends.  The illustrations are beautiful and so sweet.

Dr. Seuss’s classic, What Was I Scared Of?  is a great way to talk to children about experiencing new situations and overcoming fears.  A great pairing with this book is Lemony Snicket’s The Dark.

A great book for middle school children, teenagers and grownups is Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book.  This book begins with a treacherous act, followed by a toddler narrowly escaping with his life and finding some compassionate ghosts who adopt him and raise him in the graveyard.  It is full of haunting imagery, humor and imaginative scenes.  It’s a page turner and if you haven’t read it, you are missing a great story!

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