Fall Bucket List


Cooler temperatures and colorful leaves are on their way. We’re welcoming fall with more than 50 fall things to do around Utah. Pick and choose your favorites to create your own custom fall bucket list. 

The weather is starting to cool off, the leaves are changing and there is so much fun to be had.  Utah is full of great experiences, whether you want to spend time out in the crisp fall air or stay home working on simple projects.  Whatever mood you are, in it is nice to have a list of exciting ideas to choose from, and we have more than 50 suggestions for you to build your own fall bucket list.


  • Drive the Alpine Loop or other local canyons to see the leaves
  • Explore a corn maze
  • Visit the local farmer’s market
  • Go on a hike to see the fall colors
  • Go camping in the colors
  • Go apple, pumpkin, squash, pepper or tomato picking at a local “pick your own” farm
  • Go pick your own pumpkin from a pumpkin patch
  • Practice recreational shooting
  • Go hunting
  • Go Trick-or-Treating
  • Tell scary stories around a campfire
  • Go on a hay ride
  • Join in a family and friend turkey bowl football game



  • Do fall cleaning
  • Decorate the house
  • Host a football watching party
  • Host a Halloween party
  • Gather family for Thanksgiving dinner
  • Rake up and play in the autumn leaves
  • Clean out garden beds to prepare for next year
  • Plant spring bulbs
  • Plant a tree — Autumn is a great time to plant a tree, but be sure to water well if it is a dry autumn.


  • Do a chili cook-off
  • Make apple cider
  • Harvest fall produce and preserve it by freezing, drying or canning (jams, jellies, whole fruit, etc.)
  • Throw a homemade doughnut party – invite friends and family over for fun and doughnuts everyone can enjoy. Try them  baked or fried.
  • Make caramel apples
  • Try a new recipe for Thanksgiving (pie, stuffing, etc.)
  • Throw a party where everyone brings a different kind of pie
  • Host a crock pot party
  • Try a new homemade soup, like  Apple & Butternut Squash Soup (page 7) to help keep you warm as the days get colder.


  • Pumpkin carving – A tradition that never gets old. Find your favorite printable template or draw freehand to make your pumpkin carving creation.
  • Decorate/paint pumpkins to look like a favorite book character – Painting and decorating pumpkins is just as fun. They also last longer without wilting.
  • Boo” ding dong ditch the neighbors – Leave a bag of goodies on someone’s front porch and run away – once you have been “boo-ed” you hang an image of a ghost near your front door so others know you have been “boo-ed.”
  • Start a fall gratitude journal
  • Create a new autumn decoration
  • Make a new Halloween costume
  • Sew homemade hand warmers


This is a way to transport yourself and your little ones into another world of fun, adventure and fantasy. Cuddle up with a blanket and enjoy some of these favorites this autumn.

  • Scary chapter books:
    • Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz
    • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
    • Coraline by Neil Gaiman
    • Doll Bones by Holly Black
  • Halloween picture books:
    • Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson
    • The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda D. Williams
    • Goodnight Goon: A Petrifying Parody by Michal Rex
    • Bear Feels Scared by Karma Wilson
    • Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman
    • In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories by Alvin Schwartz
    • The Hallo-wiener by Dav Pilkey
    • Bats at the Library by Brian Lies
    • Frankenstein by Rick Walton and Nathan Hale
    • Pumpkin Circle: The Story of a Garden by George Levenson and Samuel Thaler
    • A Very Brave Witch by Alison McGhee and Harry Bliss
    • One Witch by Laura Leuck

    • Curious George Goes to a Costume Party by Margaret Rey
    • Where is Baby’s Pumpkin? by Karen Katz
  • Thanksgiving picture books:
    • ‘Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving by Dav Pilkey
    • Turkey Trouble by Wendi Silvano
    • The Ugly Pumpkin by Dave Horowitz
    • A Plump and Perky Turkey by Teresa Bateman and Jeff Shelly


This article was written by Kirsten Lamplugh, Intern at the Salt Lake County USU Extension office, BS in Family and Consumer Sciences 

Fun and Games to Make Grocery Shopping Easier

Fun and GamesMaking shopping fun for your kids will make shopping more fun and easier for you too! Check out these 11 entertaining and educational activities to keep kids busy at the grocery store!

In our last article, “10 Tips for Surviving Grocery Shopping with Kids,” one of our tips was to give children age-appropriate activities to do during shopping trips. To help you do this, I’ve collected a variety of of parent-proven activities for all age ranges. While some of these take a little planning and preparation, it is worth laying the groundwork to transform shopping with your family from dreaded and stressful to enjoyable and painless!

(Although the activities are grouped in specific age categories, many can be used for a wide range of ages.)


Shopping with little ones

  1. When young children get to help pick out produce and other items, it makes them feel like part of the team, and they are more likely to eat what they pick out, too! Make sure you give them choices you can live with, such as, “Broccoli or cauliflower?” You can also combine this activity with the matching game (#7 below) to make it more exciting.
  2. You can help your children feel important by asking them to help carry things, either while walking or while riding in the cart. They can have items they are in charge of until checkout.
  3. If you feel crafty, you might enjoy making a “grocery game” for your child to take on each shopping trip. This can be used with toddlers as well as preschoolers, or pictures can be replaced with words for beginning readers. You can find the tutorial here.


Shopping with preschoolers

  1. Play “I Spy.” Before entering the store, let children pick out a specific color, shape, number or letter and see how many of the object they can find while shopping. Compare from trip to trip to see what things are most common in the store.
  2. Play alphabet or letter scavenger hunt. Write out letters of the alphabet (or draw shapes or colors for younger children) on a paper, and let children cross off each one they find. If this doesn’t last long enough, you can have each letter, shape or color listed multiple times.
  3. Play a matching game. Put pictures of products your family often uses on cards (you may want to laminate these for use on other shopping trips). Good sources for pictures are store ads and coupons. Let children match these cards to the products at the store. Each time they find a match, they turn the card into you. It’s fun to see how many they can match each time.
  4. Play a guessing game. Give hints about what you are going to get next and see if the kids can guess what it is before you get it off the shelf.


Shopping with school-aged kids

  1. Put them in charge of the shopping list. Make a shopping list on your tablet, phone or on paper, and put your child in charge of crossing items off as they are put in the cart. For younger kids you can use pictures for the shopping list instead of words.
  2. Have your child sort the groceries as you put them in the cart. They can sort by category, such as by food group (fruits and veggies, grains, protein, dairy/calcium), by color or by size. Let them choose categories to put things into.
  3.  If you have multiple kids to wrangle, play grocery bingo! Each child gets a board and they mark off items they see as you walk around the grocery store. The first to mark off five in a row wins! Below are several options to make your own bingo cards or download free cards to print.

If you laminate the cards or put them in sheet protectors, you can use dry erase markers to mark off items and they can be used again and again.


Middle school and above

  1.  This is a great time to guide your children in learning to shop for the best deals at the grocery store. Have them help create your shopping list, using store ads and coupons if possible. Teach them how to look for unit pricing on the shelf tags at the store, as well as how to figure it out for themselves so they can do the calculations if unit pricing is missing on the shelf or not shown in equivalent units. Find a simple child-friendly explanation of how to figure out unit pricing here


These activities, along with ideas from our previous article, can make your trips to the supermarket more pleasurable for the whole family. Have fun, and maybe enjoy singing a song in the car on the way! 

This article was written by Alissa Weller, Healthy Family Fun Box Elder County Coordinator, and Carrie Durward, PhD, RD, Assistant Professor and Extension Nutrition Specialist

Ask an Expert: How to Combat 13 Barriers to Relationship Fun

relationship-fun-graphicLooking to add some fun back into your relationship? Take a look at these thirteen common barriers to relationship fun, and how to combat them.

Boring, drab, lifeless, stale, dull, tedious. These are probably not the words you hope to use to describe your relationships. How about well planned, frugal, precise, productive, serious, busy? Though these can be characteristics of a strong, healthy relationship, they are not likely those things that make a relationship seem appealing. What made your relationship so attractive in the beginning? What is it about your partner that made you want to be with him or her?

In the beginning, no matter what the “spark” in your relationship was, it was so enjoyable you that both wanted to continue being together. Have your blissful days of being in love continued? Unfortunatelystrong, healthy, long-lasting marriages don’t just happen. We have to be intentional about our marriages, and research tells us that playing together helps us connect and feel more positive toward each other. Keeping the spark alive can be the most enjoyable work you and your partner will ever do. Make time to play and have fun; it is good for you and your relationship.

Consider the following barriers that stop couples from playing together and also ideas on how to combat them.

  1. Lack of energy, unhealthy living habits. Make a plan to eat right and participate in physical activities. Help each other stick to the plan.
  2. “Some day” syndrome. Schedule it and leave reminders for yourself.
  3. Fear of looking silly. Let your partner know your fears and trust him or her to help you overcome them. Do fun things together that you feel comfortable with.
  4. Differing ideas of fun. Find out why your partner enjoys his or her hobbies so much by asking questions and trying it yourself. Be open minded. Compromise.
  5. Serious disposition. Laugh at yourself. Just try playing and see what happens.
  6. Resentment. Remind yourself of how you used to feel toward each other by doing things you used to enjoy together, looking at old photos or talking about feelings.
  7. Loss of hope in the relationship. Remind yourself of happier times by displaying happy photos, reminiscing, looking at memorabilia, etc.
  8. Too competitive. Play a new game. Don’t keep score. Work together to complete a task.
  9. Lack of money. Find fun things to do together that are free. Or, save for a special occasion.
  10. Other priorities. Talk together about what you feel is important to make an enjoyable relationship.
  11. View it as a waste of time. Consider play as a way to strengthen your relationship, because it is!
  12. No role model. Talk to or read about other couples that have had successful relationships. Watch children play; they are the experts.
  13. Feel it is unnecessary. Just try it and see how much more enjoyable your relationship can be.

Now that you have considered some of the barriers to play in your relationship, take action and make a plan to do something fun.

Based on ideas from The Power of Play in Relationships Manual (Braff & Schwarz, 2004) and Your Time Starved Marriage (Parrott & Parrott, 2006).

For additional ideas, see the fact sheet:


This article was written by Naomi Brower, Utah State University Extension professor, naomi.brower@usu.edu, 801-399-8206, and Clarissa Barnhill, USU Extension intern

Halloween Activity Roundup


halloween-activity-roundupOctober is here, and Halloween is coming. The temperature has dropped a bit, and you may have found your kids spending more time indoors and looking for things to do. We’ve searched for some of the best Halloween-themed activities to do with your kids, whether for everyday entertainment, a classroom party, or a gathering with friends. Check out our Pinterest Board for even more ideas.

  1. Healthy Halloween Snack Ideas from Eat Well Utah


  1. 31 Days of Halloween STEM Activities from STEAM Powered Family


  1. Weaving a Spider Web Alphabet Activity from Mom Inspired Life


  1. Create Your Own Monster Cookie Bar from Babble


  1. Spider Races from Still Playing School


  1. Paper Cone Witch from Krokotak


  1. Super Simple Spider Web Art from Kids Play Box


  1. Self-inflating Halloween Ghost from Mama Smiles


  1. Origami Bats from A Girl & a Glue Gun


  1. Halloween Masks to Print and Color from It’s Always Autumn


What are some of your favorite Halloween activities? Let us know in the comments!

Summertime Family Fun – Part 2

Summertime Family Fun Pt 2.jpg

In Part 1 of this post, we talked about the importance of family activities and how to ensure their success with ground rules. We also shared five activity ideas. As promised, here are 10 more ideas to get your family out and having fun this summer.


10 Summertime Activities for Families

  1. Get sporty. Play basketball, tag, catch, Frisbee, croquet or try something new like pickleball, boccie balls, etc.
  2. Treasure hunt. Whether you are a beginner or an expert, there are literally millions of geocaches hidden around the world. Use the GPS on your cell phone or GPS unit to find geocaches near your house or wherever you may be traveling this summer. See https://www.geocaching.com/play for more information.
  3. Go global. Attend a travel show or request travel brochures from places you want to visit and then create a poster of fun places to visit someday. Pick one of the places you want to go and do something you might do if you were there (eat gelato, talk with an accent for the afternoon, have a family tea party, etc.)
  4. Join the community. Check out community calendars for free concerts or movies in the park or library.
  5. Get artistic. Get out the colored pencils and paint or get crafty with glue and glitter, beads or any other craft supplies you have. Share your talents in a family art show. For younger kids, finger paint with pudding or play with edible Play Doh.
  6. Eat the fun. Have a fondue party, invent your own new smoothie or pizza flavors, make ice cream sundaes or create other food items where everyone can participate.
  7. Find the “best of” your community. Try out different playgrounds, ice cream shops, swimming pools, etc. (whatever your family enjoys), then rate each one to find the “best” of each category.
  8. Get wet. Spend the day at a local pool, splash pad or water park. Or, play with water in your own backyard. Don’t forget the squirt guns, water balloons and painting the sidewalk with water.
  9. Become a tourist in your own city. Although you probably avoid tourist places in your own community, take a day to pretend you are tourists and go to the places they would go. Dress and act like tourists. Be sure to take pictures.
  10. Learn something new. Providing educational experiences in the summer will help to keep your kids sharp. Have a read-a-thon, go to educational summer programs at the library or start at 4-H club (FREE and easy to use curriculum available at http://utah4h.org/discover/).


The Challenge

Take action! Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to brainstorm three ideas that would be fun to do with your family this summer (yes, right now!). Now text, email or write it down and share it with your family in the next 24 hours. Then have them share ideas of their own.


Read Summertime Family Fun- Part 1.

This article was written by Naomi Brower, USU Extension associate professor, Weber County

Summertime Family Fun – Part 1

Summertime Family Fun Graphic

Spending time with family is important, but it can also be fun! We’ve got some great ideas to make your family time fun and memorable in this two-part Summertime Family Fun article. Check out Part 2 for 10 more ideas for family activities.  


Family Time

What are your favorite memories from your childhood? Most likely they revolved around spending time with those you love.

Because it is so easy to get caught up in the busyness of life, it is important to be intentional about creating time and experiences together (or it may not happen). According to family expert, William Doherty, families that are intentional about connecting with each other through traditions, special occasions and everyday rituals (such as having family dinnertime) are more likely to create and build strong bonds with each other that will last a lifetime. What fun things can you do with family members this summer to connect and create memories?

Ground Rules

Start by creating ground rules as a family such as:

Make a plan. Pick an activity and set a date and time to do it. If you like to be a bit more spontaneous, just plan the date and time and then randomly select ideas from a jar of fun activity ideas that you have chosen together. Be sure to take turns selecting the activity so everyone can participate.

Focus on each other. This is about connecting with each other; friends, work and other distractions can wait. Having a no electronics rule may help to reinforce this.

Keep it simple. Spending time together doesn’t have to be elaborate or require a lot of time or energy. For those with small children, going to a park together or writing on the sidewalk with chalk can be just as much fun as doing something that requires far more effort.

 Get ready…get set…play!

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  1. Pick a theme and do activities related to the theme. For example, go to a museum to see unique rocks, then go on a hike and collect some of your own. Or go to a car show, then set up a race track at home for matchbox cars.
  2. Get outdoors. Have a picture nature scavenger hunt, track the phases of the moon, go on a hike, have a picnic in the backyard, fly a kite, blow bubbles together or anything else to get outside and enjoy the fresh air.
  3. Share your talents. Write new lyrics to familiar tunes, create your own dances to favorite songs or host your own Olympics with unique events such as an obstacle course, miniature golf or javelin (foam noodle) toss. Award prizes.
  4. Get board. Have a board game party or put a puzzle together.
  5. Camp in your backyard. Find constellations, tell stories or make shadow puppets on the side of the tent or house. If you have a fire pit, light a fire and roast marshmallows and make s’mores. If not, improvise using a gas stove, barbeque or microwave.


Check out Summertime Family Fun – Part 2, and see 10 more great ideas for summertime family fun!

This article was written by Naomi Brower, USU Extension associate professor, Weber County

Reference: Doherty, William (1997). The intentional family: Simple rituals to strengthen family ties. HarperCollins: New York, NY.

Baby Animal Days!

Baby Animal Days Blog

Do you want to meet baby pigs, goats, lambs, ponies, calves, baby chicks, rabbits, and a miniature yak? Then come to Baby Animal Days!


Join Us!

It’s that favorite time of year again – Baby Animals Days! Come join us in Kaysville on May 8th and 9th for this fun family event.

Activities include:

• Children’s Activities
• Horse Rides
• Sheep Shearing Demos
• Food Vendors
• Miniature Train Rides
• Climbing Wall
• Bouncy Houses
• Climbing Wall
• Baby Reptiles

Click here for a detailed list of activities, hours, prices and more.

Screen Shot 2015-05-01 at 3.39.30 PM

Instant Savings

Don’t forget to use code BAD2015 to get $5.00 off of a family pass.

You won’t want to miss this once-a-year event! See you there next weekend!

New Utah Public Gardens Website!

Utah Public Gardens

Did you know that Utah has a variety of public gardens? These gardens span across Weber, Davis, Salt Lake, Utah and Washington County. Each garden is unique and provides different, fun, and educational opportunities to the public.


Check it Out!

The new Utah Public Gardens website is dedicated to providing Utahns with valuable information about each public garden. It serves as a gateway to each unique garden and offers a glimpse into the gardening culture of Utah.

You can search for public gardens in Utah by going to the find a garden page. More information about each garden can be found through the links to their individual websites.

To find fun and educational activities for you and your family, visit the Utah Public Gardens website and take advantage of the great pool of information and resources.



This article was written by Leah Calder, a USU Extension Marketing Assistant.