Family Time, Fall: Child Ages 7-8

This publication provides fall activities for families with children between the ages of 7 and 8.
Family Time, Fall: Child Ages 7-8 - Articles


Your Child from 7-8

  • Is busy and curious.
  • Wants to belong to a group.
  • Has friendships that change quickly.
  • Is adventurous, active, and daring.
  • Can give fairly clear explanations.
  • Likes to play games with words.
  • Sees family unit as important.
  • Is steadily improving in body control.
  • Enjoys many different activities.
  • Likes to experiment.
  • Is very active.

To Do Family Time You Must

  • Have a firm desire to help your family grow stronger.
  • Make a strong commitment to regularly do Family Time activities.
  • Set aside time to do the activities.
  • Be determined to involve all the family members.

To Get Started

  • Pick an activity.
  • Before the family gathers, be prepared by getting together any materials that you need to do what you have planned.
  • Set aside some time each week when all the family members can be together. Turn off the TV, radio, or other distractions.

Here is a listing of activities for you to do. Tape this sheet to your refrigerator and check off the activities you do together as a record of your good times. Consider starting a notebook or scrapbook of your Family Time together. Include some art work, stories, or photographs of your family.

A Word to Parents of Young Children

Members of a strong family see themselves as a vital part of the family. This feeling of being important in and to the family doesn’t just happen—it develops.

Parents who adopt Family Time and do the activities regularly are helping each member feel important.

Each member of the strong family sees his family as the most important group he is part of. Obviously, the young child feels his family is important, but as children grow older, outside groups can gradually replace the family. Family Time helps parents with younger children develop the idea that the family is the important group. A sense of loyalty to the family develops.

Family Time helps the family learn together. Young children are beginners who need to explore and learn. Regardless of the child’s age, the parent is the child’s first teacher. Exploring and learning in an atmosphere filled with parental love is the finest climate for learning. Most of the greatest lessons the child will learn and use for the rest of his life are taught by loving parents. Parents also learn as they work with their child and see him grow and develop.

Family Time is fun for the entire family. The enjoyable moments spent doing Family Time will become the happy memories of tomorrow.

James E. Van Horn, Ph.D., Professor of Rural Sociology and Certified Family Life Educator

Let’s Explore...Our Family

Special Days in Fall

Besides the special holidays of Halloween and Thanksgiving, celebrate other fall holidays with your family.

  • Columbus Day, October 12. The discovery of our continent deserves some celebration. Try decorating a cake like a ship or making ship decorations.
  • United Nations Day, October 24. Try celebrating with an international meal. How about a Mexican meal with tacos, a Chinese meal with egg rolls, an Italian meal with pizza, or a United Nations meal with foods from all three!
  • Election Day (second Tuesday in November). Go to the polls together and vote. Then serve a patriotic meal decorated in red, white, and blue.

Thanksgiving Collage

Here’s a way for your family to focus on the meaning of Thanksgiving.

Collect old magazines, scissors, paste, and paper large enough for the whole collage.(Try a roll of shelf paper.)

While waiting for your special meal or afterwards, give each family member a chance to look for pictures or captions that in some way catch their eye as associated with the meaning of Thanksgiving. Cut out five or ten and paste them on the paper. Then, when everyone is finished, let each person talk a little about what the things they chose meant to them. This will help you focus on the meaning of the holiday and let you get to know each other and yourselves better.

A Family Coat of Arms

A family coat of arms or crest is a symbol of that family’s strengths. It is an emblem of family pride in the best sense. If this appeals to you, find a book like Simple Heraldry by Moncreiffe and Pottinger, that tells about the ancient practice.

Spend some time talking in your family about what sorts of strengths your family has which it would like to incorporate into a shield. Decide together what to include and how to represent it in symbols.

Exploring Our Heritage

Families come in all sizes and shapes. Some children live with two parents, some with one; or a child may be loved and cared for by people who are not her parents. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins are part of everybody’s family.

Each family has a heritage, its own special background, events, people, places, and stories. Find out about your family’s heritage by asking older friends and members of your family.

  • Most people don’t know how they got their last name, but it’s fun to guess. Do you have a “son,” “uez,” or “vitch” on the end of your name, like Davidson? That means the son of David.
  • Do you know the names of your grandparents and great-grandparents? Do you know what kind of work each of them did or does? Try to find out from your family.
  • Do you know where each person was born? Mark on a map or make a list of the places your parents and grandparents have lived that your family knows about. Are all of the places on a map of the United States or do you need a world map?

Who Decides What?

Who makes the decisions in your family? Should you? Your child? Both together?

Get your family together and give each a piece of paper. For each question, write whether the parent or child makes the decision. Then do it again, this time writing down how you think decisions should be made. Talk about the differences, if any, in your answers. (Add other questions you are interested in.)

Who decides:

  • the clothes you buy?
  • what is eaten at meals?
  • who your friends are?
  • what time you go to bed?
  • how much TV? what shows?
  • what you read?

Face Chart

On a large sheet of construction paper, have family members draw pictures of themselves looking angry. On another sheet of paper, have everyone draw pictures of themselves looking happy. Tape both pictures side by side on a wall and discuss the circumstances in which both sets of feelings occur.

Let’s Explore...Our Community

Hold a Halloween Block Party

Invite your neighborhood to a family Halloween block party. Everyone can come in costume. Families can come dressed in costumes that go together like “The Three Bears”; or they can come as a television family, or as ghosts.

Serve little pizza snacks or hot spicy cider that you made together. (See Let’s Explore... The Foods We Eat.)

Try dunking for apples, have prizes for costumes, plan games for all ages.

Sketch a Map of Your Community

See if you can find some old maps of your town. Compare them to an up-to-date map. Then sketch a map showing someone how to get from your house to the post office, library, or grocery store.

You may not have room to write in all the words you need, so make a legend and put that on a blank corner of your map. In making the legend, explain what you mean by each mark you make. If you use traffic lights as land marks, make up a sign that means traffic light. Use the sign in the map and put the explanation in the legend.

Be sure to include your name, the date, and the title of the map.

Pick Your Own Apples

Most communities are not too far away from an apple orchard. Look in the newspaper or phone directory for an orchard where you can pick your own fruit. Call and find out if you must let them know ahead of time when you plan to come.

Take time to see all there is to explore at the orchard. Look at their apple picking equipment. If there is a cider press, try to see it being run. Is there a device for sorting the apples by size? Enjoy the smells of the apples. Try to pick some different kinds so that you can see va-riety in texture, shape, color, and taste.

When you get home with your apples and cider, make some applesauce or hot spicy cider. (See Let’s Explore... The Foods We Eat.)

SOS for Emergencies

Children should know how to call for help from emergency helpers in the community. Emergency numbers for fire, police, and poison control are listed at the beginning of the telephone book. You can dial “0” for operator anywhere in the country and the operator who answers will connect you with the emergency service you need.

Discuss several kinds of emergencies with your family. Talk about why it is useful to know the numbers to call. Together, look in the telephone book for the listing of those numbers. Include the fire department, hospital, and police.

  • Talk about which family member, friend, or neighbor to contact in case of an emergency and write down their name and number.
  • Make up a chart with the list of all the emergency numbers and post it at your child’s eye level.
  • Take turns playing the game of “Pretend.” First your child can dial the emergency number and you can answer. Then you dial the number and he can answer. Teach him to tell his name and address slowly to the person to whom he is talking.
  • Caution your child only to do this if there is a real emergency!

Visiting the Bus Station, Airport, or Train Station

Our communities are situated in a much larger world. Let your child get a taste of this by going on a trip to the local bus station, train station, or airport.

Look for a map of the United States or world with all the routes marked on it. Watch as the attendant marks luggage for different places with different tags.

Watch the travelers to see what they take with them and to guess where they might be coming from or going to.

What stores are there at the station? Is there a restaurant? Is there a first aid station? Can you buy newspapers, books,candy?

Look at the trains, buses, or planes. Watch them load people and luggage. Do they get loaded at the same places? What other kinds of things are loaded?What kind of fuel do they use?

Let’s Explore...The Foods We Eat

Easy Applesauce


  • 6 tart apples
  • 3-4 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 1/4 c. water
  • cinnamon


Take advantage of the fall harvest for making some fresh applesauce. Your child can peel, core, and slice the apples, with your help. Put into pot with water. Cover and cook until tender—approximately 20-30 minutes. Add honey and cinnamon to taste. Makes 12 small servings.

Do not use honey in beverages and uncooked foods for infants under the age of one year. Honey may contain botulism toxins.

Hot Spicy Cider


  • 2 quarts apple cider
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. allspice


Heat cider, but do not boil. Add spices (more or less, according to your taste). Stir to blend.

Making Little Pizza Snacks


  • English muffins or bagels cut in half
  • tomato or pizza sauce
  • variety of toppings: chopped onions, green peppers, pepperoni, cooked ground beef, sausage, sliced olives
  • cheese: mozzarella, Parmesan, American


Place muffin or bagel slices on a cookie tray. Spread sauce on top with a spoon. Sprinkle on the toppings of your choice. Bake at 450° for about ten minutes. Then take the tray out of the oven and sprinkle with cheese. Return to oven until the cheese melts. (Your child can do the fixing, but you will need to put the tray in and out of the oven.)


Autumn Pumpkin Pie

Let your child make the pumpkin pie for your Thanksgiving dinner.


  • 1 3/4 c. mashed cooked or canned pumpkin
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 1/2 c. evaporated milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. each nutmeg, ginger, and cloves
  • 1 uncooked 9-inch pie shell


Beat all ingredients together with rotary beater. Pour into pastry-lined pie pan. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes; reduce temperature to 350° and continue baking for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center of pie comes out clean. Filling will firm up while cooking.

Tuna and Chips Casserole


  • 1 can (10 1/2 oz.) cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/2 c. milk
  • 1 can (7 oz.) tuna
  • 1 1/4 c. crushed potato chips
  • 1 c. cooked green peas


Heat oven to 350°. Empty cream of mushroom soup into 1-quart casserole. Mix in milk. Put potato chips between sheets of waxed paper. Crush chips with a rolling pin. Repeat until you have 1 1/4 cups crushed potato chips. Drain oil or water from one can tuna. Add drained tuna, 1 cup crushed potato chips, and green peas to soup in casserole. Mix these ingredients gently. Sprinkle top with 1/4 cup crushed potato chips. Bake 25 to 30 minutes. Makes 3 to 4 servings.

Let’s Explore...Plants and Animals

Clay Leaf Prints


  • self-drying clay
  • rolling pin
  • aluminum foil
  • leaves


Using a rolling pin, flatten a lump of clay on a piece of foil. Lay a leaf on the clay, and roll over it with the rolling pin. Remove the leaf and let the clay dry. Paint the clay with tempera if desired.

Sketching and Photographing Animals

Your pet is a readily available model for sketching or photography. Dogs, cats, and other pets can assume “99” different poses. Sometime or other you have probably photographed or drawn a picture of your pet or a friend’s.

Patience is a virtue while waiting for your subject animal to assume just the pose you want. You will have to discover, for example, where and when a rabbit likes to eat and then be ready and waiting for him if you want to catch him nibbling a leaf.

Put together an album of your animal pictures to share with others.

Glycerin Leaves


  • glycerin (buy at drug store)
  • small branch leaves (green or just change colors)
  • newspaper
  • hammer
  • large jar


Place the branch on several layers of newspaper. With a hammer, tap the end of the stem until it is slightly crushed.

In the jar, mix one part glycerin to two parts water. Place the pounded end of the branch into the glycerin mixture for two weeks. By that time, the leaves will be thicker to the touch, their color will have changed, and they will not fade or disintegrate.

Take a Fall Foliage Walk

Take a family walk while the fall foliage is at its best. Take time to collect leaves for Clay Leaf Prints.

  • Include, if you can, both woods and fields. Lots of dried materials such as milkweed pods, thistles, Queen Anne’s lace, and many other interesting weeds can be found along the way.
  • Make a bouquet when you get home of the things you have gathered.
  • Look for signs of animals getting ready for winter. Do you see squirrels gathering nuts for the winter? Do you see geese flying south for the cold months? Do you see any insect cocoons?
  • Look for seeds. See how they find ways to grow next year. Which fly through the air? Which are carried by animals or people? Which fall to the ground or are buried by animals? Try bringing some of each kind home. You could mount them on a piece of paper and identify them. Check your library for books about what you’ve seen.

Terrarium Garden

You can grow a pretty little garden in a fish bowl, tank, jar, or other container. It needs hardly any water. The covered bowl keeps plants moist and growing nicely.


  • jar or other container
  • gravel or pebbles
  • a few pieces of charcoal
  • soil
  • little plants (small ferns, ivy, mosses, wintergreen, hepatica)


In the bottom of the jar, place a layer of pebbles or gravel. Add a few pieces of charcoal. Add about two inches of soil and a little water. Now plant your plants. Use a pencil or stick to firm the soil about the roots. Then water with a mister or sprinkle a little. Place near a window, but not in direct sunlight. Cover with plastic or a lid, but uncover occasionally to let a fresh supply of air into the terrarium.

Let’s Explore...The World of Crafts

Sewing Buttons


  • thread
  • needle
  • button (large to start) scissors
  • material


Show your child how to hold the thread, thread the needle, and sew the button on the material. Let him experiment with various thread patterns. He can make a picture on the material with different buttons. Then let him sew on his own coat or shirt button. He will develop responsibility toward his wardrobe and be proud that he is doing a “useful task” rather than play activities.

Bits and Pieces Cards


  • glue
  • plain paper (folded to fit standard-sized envelope) marker
  • fabric remnants
  • pen
  • scissors


Fold paper to size. Draw basic design on paper. Add poem or greeting inside if desired. Then glue shredded fabric to design or picture to fill in and color (flowers, grass, trees, cloths, houses, etc.).

Curly Ques


  • paper
  • scissors
  • plate or cup for pattern


Draw circles on paper by tracing around a cup or plate. Cut it out. Then, starting at the edge of each circle, cut around and around. Punch a hole in the center, tie a piece of thread through the hole, and hang your curly ques.

Seed Mosaics


  • different kinds of seed, separated into plastic dishes
  • white glue
  • cardboard
  • pencil


Draw design on the cardboard. Apply glue to areas of the design. Sprinkle small seeds or place larger seeds one at a time on glued areas. Repeat with other seeds until surface is covered.

Loom and Spool Weaving

Purchase or make a potholder or spool loom for your family. They can be bought in-expensively at toy stores and will bring a lot of pleasure to your child. He will enjoy choosing a pattern of colors and will be able to make quick presents for his family.

Sweet Smellers (Pomander Balls)

A pomander ball is an easily made Sweet Smeller that gives off its perfume for a long time. Make it for yourself or as a gift to place in drawers, hang in closets, or put on bedposts. (Remember, December will soon be here and these take a few weeks to prepare.)


  • Fruit: apples, oranges, lemons, or limes
  • orris root
  • whole cloves
  • cheesecloth or nylon netting
  • powdered cinnamon
  • string or ribbon


Select a piece of fruit which is ripe, firm, and unbruised. Press cloves into the fruit until the fruit is completely covered. (Apples will be easier for the younger family members.) Roll studded fruit in cinnamon mixed with orris root.

Cut cheesecloth or nylon netting large enough to wrap the fruit completely. Enclose the fruit in the cheesecloth and tie string or ribbon around the ends. Hang it where it won’t be disturbed for a few weeks. As the fruit dries, it shrinks and becomes lighter. The sweet smell will develop and grow stronger.

Let’s Explore...Other Fun Things

Science Experiments Are Fun

Encourage the curiosity of all family members. If these experiments whet your appetite, go to the library and search for more.

Water and Wax Paper

Place a few drops of water on the wax paper and observe the reaction. Try blowing water or moving the paper to get the water out of its bead form.

Looking Through a Pinhole

Make a pinhole in the center of a piece of 8 1/2 x 11 white paper. Have your child hold up the paper to look through the hole. See how amazed he is at how much he sees through the small pinhole.

Giant Gelatin Lens


  • 2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
  • 1 1/2 c. boiling water
  • pie pan


Pour boiling water over gelatin and stir until dissolved. Pour mixture into pie pan and place in refrigerator until firm. Lift it out with spatula, hold it up to the eye, and look through it. Does anything look distorted?

All the Family Can Enjoy this One!

Home Hazard Hunt

Most accidents in the home are preventable. Make a game to see who can spot home hazards as the family checks the house together to learn how to avoid, repair, or protect from home hazards.

  • Check that no poisonous cleaning supplies are stored under counter.
  • See that items are not stored on stairs.
  • Check the fireplaces, kerosene stoves, or wood burners. Are they safe from little hands?
  • Are bathtubs and shower stalls safe from slipping?
  • Are sliding doors marked so that no one will bang into them?
  • Are there oil slicks on the driveway?

Take a good look at your home and think of other possible hazards. Then work on removing them!

Picture Fun

Try clipping pictures out of magazines and thinking up funny captions for them. Send one to a friend if it seems just right for that person.

Family Chore Bowl

One way to assign jobs for family members is to write various tasks on colored slips of paper which are placed in a bowl, jar, or box. Each child picks a chore and, when finished, returns to choose another. Children cannot dispute the fairness of this method.

(Be sure the chores are suited to the ages of the children.)

Doing Things Together Builds Strong Families

Newspaper Games

Let one night be “newspaper night” at your house.

Have family members crumple newspaper into ammunition balls and arrange forts of card-board for a good battle. No one gets hurt and lots of “fight” gets played out.

Have a contest to see who can make the most unusual hat with newspaper. Provide tape or paste. You can add any other odds and ends you might have around the house.

Make flour paste, tear the newspapers into strips, and mix. Use the mixture to mold shapes. See who can make the funniest, the smallest, the most original, etc. Let them dry and they can be painted later.


  • 1/2 c. flour
  • 2/3 c. water


Mix and stir the paste until it has a creamy consistency. Be careful about making lumps. Refrigerate. Makes about 1/2 pint.

Developed by James E. Van Horn, Professor of Rural Sociology and Certified Family Life Educator; Ellen Y. Matten, Program Assistant; and Natalie Ferry, County Extension Director, Union County.