Dr. Rivera

Dr. Karla Rivera is a district-wide psychologist here in Irvington. She is here to provide support for children and families as we face these challenging times.

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Fun, Safe Fall Activities!

Fall is in the air! The leaves outside are turning beautiful colors, and the weather is cool. Here are some fun safe ways for families to enjoy Fall this year!

Pick pumpkins and carve jack-o’-lanterns —  This is a great tradition that you and your family can enjoy! You and your little ones can visit a pumpkin patch, and choose pumpkins to bring home to carve or paint. Fairfield Farms in Fairfield, NJ has pumpkin patches, hay rides and an obstacle course for children to enjoy! Call ahead for safety precautions. 

Fun with leaves — The leaves are beautiful this time of year. Visit your local park and go on a leaf hunt. Children will love exploring the colors and shapes. Learn about different types of leaves in New Jersey and try to find them. Bring home some leaves to make crafts with. There are endless projects to be make with leaves. For example, you can preserve leaves with Modgepodge, a glue found at craft stores and create Fall decorations. You can trace leaves on a paper plate or paper and color them in, or lay a thin piece of paper over a leaf and rub the side of the crayon over it. Children will love watching the leaf appear on the paper. 

Apple picking — Visit a farm and pick your own apples. Children will enjoy exploring the orchards and learning about all the different types of apples. Pick some, bring them home and bake a special Fall treat such as apple crisp. There are many apple picking farms in NJ, such as Wightman’s in Morristown. Check the farm before you go to see what safety precautions are in place. 

Bake fall-inspired treats — Look up fun Fall treats to bake such as apple crisp or Pie, or bake colorful rice crispy treats, or decorate your own Fall cookies. Baking is fun for all ages! You can have your own “bake-off” –bake two treats and pick the favorite.

Scavenger hunt — Think of things that we see in Fall that reflect the season like different color leaves, a Fall flower like mums, pumpkins, scare crows, Halloween or Thanksgiving decorations, or whatever you like! Make a list, go outside and see if family members can find them all.

Nature walk — With all of the beautiful autumn leaves, it’s a beautiful time to be out in nature. Essex county has many beautiful parks to explore on a nature walk or hike. Make sure to bring water and snacks and to practice social distancing!

Help others — Helping others is a great way to lift their spirits and our own! Always check how to safely help.

    • Make cards for local seniors or residents at a local nursing home, or ask if your family can become pen pals with a senior citizen.
    • Face time or zoom with family or friends who may live alone to check on them
    • Donate books to you’ve read or clothes that don’t fit to others.
    • Donate canned goods to a local food pantry


Crafts - Fun, Safe Fall Activities

Create fall decorations — Have a crafting day with your children. Research inexpensive crafts or projects you can make at home. For example, help your child make colorful signs to place in the window to inspire others, and to wish them well. Help your child make Halloween or Thanksgiving cards to send to loved ones. Use popsicle sticks, glue and markers to make Fall picture frames or bird houses. Paint pine cones you find outside beautiful colors. The options are endless! Look online for ideas that inspire you!

Have a picnic —Enjoy the cool weather and Fall scenery outside. Grab a blanket, pack a lunch and head to a local park for a picnic. Children will love this change of pace! Play, or just sit and chat! 

Game night! — Have a night of playing games! Play board games or card games together. Look up games to play together online. This is a great way to connect as a family and to teach your child important social skills such as following the rules and taking turns. Make this a regular event and try new games together.

Read Books together — Read books to young children and talk to them about what they think the characters are feeling or thinking. Ask your child what they think will happen next, as you read. Make a “book club” with older children. Pick a book you both can read and then discuss together. Make an appointment at the Irvington Public Library to browse books. Also, the library is offering many virtual children’s programs for your child to enjoy. Visit the website to learn more!

There are many creative and free ways to enjoy Fall as a family, think outside of the box and have fun!