Nearly every country setting across America has a farm. And many of them are more than 100 years old. Full of history and intrigue, these agricultural sites have now become a fall favorite for many. For decades, farm owners and operators have opened their gates to their communities, allowing children and adults alike a peek into the life of a farmer, from caring for farm animals, to harvesting corn. Part of the enjoyment of a local farm is the fresh produce. Adults can choose from a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, from tomatoes to squashes, peaches to apples. To add to the atmosphere, bales of hay, rusty John Deere tractors, and pigmy goats are usually a regular part of the decor, with some farms even set up with pumpkin patches and corn mazes.
These are usually a child's favorite things at local farms. There's nothing quite as exciting as hand-picking just the right pumpkins for a family carving night. And every child carries their own pumpkin to the register with pride. Then it's off to the corn maze. Most farms that grow corn allow the the cornstalk fields to reamin after the corn has been harvested. That way, children of all ages can try their wits at a staple activity of fall. The cornstalk fields are transformed into a life-size maze, with many dead-end trails going off in all directions, but only one actually leading out of the maze. Kids love the challenge, and are proud of themselves when they finally find their way out.
A farm wouldn't be a farm without equipment. And perhaps one of the most well-known pieces of farm equipment is the tractor. There's something about the put-put of the engine and the big, oversized tires that fascinate kids of every age. When hooked up with a flatbed trailer complete with hay benches, these iron workhorses cause smiles and laughter as kids enjoy bouncing down dirt roads through the farm.
Another favorite that makes a farm complete are the animals. From cows and goats, to ponies and horses, children love animals. And many farms are set up with corn kernel dispensers. Put in a quarter and out comes a handful of corn that the kids can hand-feed to the animals. Have the camera ready because the kids' faces and giggles are endless as their hands are tickled with fuzzy lips. Often there will be other animals, like chickens, rabbits, geese, and more, that kids can enjoy watching.
For urban communities that do not have local farms, the country can be brought to them by way of harvest festivals and block parties. Whether at a church or a local school, with many hands helping to plan and organize, a harvest party can be just as fun as visiting a real farm. Decorations like hay bales, scarecrows, dried cornstalks, and barrels of peanuts can be set up. Booths also be arranged to include carnival games like ring tosses, bobbing for apples, and other favorite games, as well as face painting and picture-taking booths. Throw in seasonal foods and live music, and everyone can enjoy a taste of the harvest season. Block parties can be arranged much the same way, but in backyards and public parks with permission granted.
All of these activities have very little cost, but provide a lifetime of great memories. No matter what age they are, and no matter where they are in the nation, Christians everywhere have many opportunities to celebrate the fall season with wholesome and fun activities.