This page was created to give families activities to do throughout the year, as well as delicious recipes to try, all from the comfort of their own homes.
Check-in for daily and seasonal updates; as we will add and change activities according to holidays and time of year. If you come across anything you'd like to add, send it to us at info@HesperiaParks.com!
Click Here to Learn 13 Amazing Otter Facts on DiscoverWildlife.com
- 2 pieces of yellow paper
- 1 scrap piece of green paper
- 1 piece of brown card stock
- 1 jumbo popsicle stick
- Tacky glue
- Brown marker
Step 1: Find what you need
Gather all your supplies and materials
Step 2: Make the Handprints
Fold the piece of yellow paper in half along the long edge so there is enough room for 2 hand prints. Place the middle of the palm of the hands on the edge (the fold is at the top). Using a pencil, trace around the hand and the fingers.
Step 3: Attach the Handprints
Add a small dot of tacky glue to the end of the popsicle stick. Place the first paper hand on top of the glue, with the thumb facing left. Add another small dot of tacky glue on the bottom right of the handprint. Press the second paper handprint onto the dot of glue.
Continue adding a small dot of glue on the corner of each handprint and gluing on the next handprint (with all the thumbs pointing in the same direction) until you’ve completed the circle.
Step 4: Make the Leaves
Fold a piece of scrap paper in half. Cut out a leaf shape (draw it first if you have trouble making the leaf shape).
There is no need to cut on the fold of the paper- just cut the folded paper so you end up with 2 identical leaves.
Add a small dot of tacky glue to one end of each leaf. Then press them onto the back of the popsicle stick.
Step 5: Make the Middle of the Flower
Fold a piece of cardstock in half. Trace something round, so that the edge of it goes over and off the fold slightly. (Something that’s about 3.5 inches across. You can trace masking tape, a bowl, a large mug, etc.).
Cut out the circle. When you’re done, it should open just like a card with a fold in the middle. Using a brown marker, draw seeds on the front of the card. Then write your message on the inside of the card.
Cut slits around the edge of the front layer of the card. This adds some texture to center of the flower.
Step 6: Attach the Middle
Squeeze tacky glue all over the back of the circle. Press it into the middle of the handprints.
Your sunflower handprint card is now complete!
Apple Pie in a Cup
What you will need:
- One red apple
- One green apple
- Graham crackers
- Apple pie filling in a can
- Reddi whip
How to Make:
1. You will start with the graham crackers. Each apple pie in a cup need one to two graham crackers, depending on the size of the cup. If you are doing this with a small group of kids, you can put the graham cracker in a zip lock bag and have the kids crush it.
2. For a whole group activity, you can either pre-crush the graham crackers or put several in a gallon sized zip top bag and let kids take turns crushing the graham crackers. Once the graham crackers are in small pieces, you will want to put a generous scoop or two on the bottom of the cup. If you’re in a real hurry, they sale pre-crushed graham crackers by the pie crusts at any grocery store.
3. The graham cracker layer is the base or crust of the apple pie in a cup.
4. For the next step, to make the apple pie in a cup, you will add the apple pie goodness. You can use apple pie filling or diced apples. For this recipe, a can of 21 oz apple pie filling was used. You can warm the apple pie filling up in a microwave or crock pot- but that is definitely not necessary. You can fit two heaping scoops on top of the graham cracker crust. Depending on the size of your scoop, you can make about 6-8 pies per can of pie filling.
5. Next, you will add some whipped cream and top it off with a sprinkle of cinnamon or cinnamon sugar. Recipe By: The Printable Princess
Paperbowl Scarecrow Craft
- Scarecrow template
- Paper bowls
- Tan paint
- Black buttons
- Raffia (you can also use yellow construction paper strips)
- Yellow tissue paper
- Orange, pink, and brown card stock or construction paper
- Black and brown paper
- Tacky glue
1. Begin by painting the bottom of your paper bowl with your paper tan paint. Set it aside to dry completely.
Note: If you don’t have any paper bowls, you can always use paper plates
2. Create a scarecrow hat, you can create your own or find a template to print and use to cut out a brown scarecrow hat, and an orange scarecrow nose and pink scarecrow cheeks.
3. Cut off several sections of raffia about 12 inches long. Add tacky glue to the top of the paper bowl and add your raffia to it. You will need to hold down the raffia for a minute or two to help it hold securely. You could also use yellow construction paper stips as an alternative to raffia.
4. Use a stapler to staple the brown scarecrow hat to the top lip of the paper plate.
5. Glue black button eyes onto your scarecrow craft. Then glue on your scarecrow nose and cheeks.
6. Layer three yellow tissue paper squares together and scrunch them up together to make a yellow flower. Glue it onto your scarecrow hat.
7. Finish your paper bowl scarecrow craft by using your black marker to draw a mouth with stitches to the scarecrow hat with your bown marker.
Apple Cider Floats
- Sparkling apple cider
- Fresh local apple cider
- French vanilla ice cream
- Whipped cream-optional
- Ground cinnamon- optional
- Cinnamon stick- optional
- Carmel sauce- optional
1. Scoop ice cream into a cup and pour equal parts sparkling cider and fresh local apple cider.
2. Top with whipped cream, an apple slice, a spinkle of ground cinnamon, a cinnamon stick, and caramel sauce.
3. Enjoy! Recipe By: Domestically Blissful
Growing Pumpkins in Pumpkins
What you will need:
- Mini pumpkins
1. Start by cutting the top off.
2. Have kids add soil or dirt into a pumpkin
3. Water the seeds a little
4. Continue to water the seeds, and after about a week, you should be able to start seeing something grow!
5. Continue to water and continue to see new pumpkins beginning to sprout!
- 1 pound fettuccine: cooked to al dente, reserve 1 cup of pasta water
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 2 garlic cloves: minced
- 1 cup pumpkin puree: not pie filling
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 2/3 cup half and half
- ½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese: off the block
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
1. Bring a stock of water to a boil over high heat. Add a teaspoon of salt to boiling, then add fettuccine. Cook until al dente (check package instructions). Reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water.
2. Meanwhile, melt butter over medium-low heat. Stir in garlic and cook for about a minute, careful not to burn. Stir in half-and-half, parmesan cheese, pumpkin, an nutmeg. Stir until sauce is heated through and cheese is melted. Stir in pasta water about ¼ cup at a time, until sauce is desired consistency (use about ½ a cup for a more thick and creamy sauce, or add more water for a thinner sauce.
3. Add pasta and cook over medium-high heat until sauce is smooth and pasta is well coated; about 1-2 minutes.
4. Divide into bowls and garnish with fresh chopped parsley and freshly grated parmesan, if desired. Recipe By: Yellow Bliss Road
Owl Pumpkin Centerpiece
What you’ll need:
- 3 pumpkins (or however many you want on the table)
- White, brown, black, and yellow felt (plus any other colors you want to use for the eyes)
- Yellow pipe cleaners
- Magna-tac glue
1. Cut out various sized circles of the white, brown, and black felt pieces to create the “eyes.” Cut out a triangle shape from the yellow felt for the beak. Glue all of the pieces to the pumpkin.
2. Use yellow pipe cleaners to create “feet.” Glue and tape to the bottom front of the pumpkin.
Breakfast Sausage Bombs
Only three things are neede for this recipe. You will need:
- Crescent rolls
- Breakfast sausage
- You can also take it a step further and you can add a gravy to dip the sausage bombs but it’s not necessary.
1. Brown breakfast sausage until completely cooked.
2. Unroll crescent rolls and add about 1 teaspoon sausage and a pinch of cheese at the end of each roll.
3. Wrap the ends of the roll ups.
4. Cook for 14-15 minutes until golden brown and serve. Enjoy! Recipe By: Thirty Handmade Days
Leaf Lantern Tutorial
- Some pressed autumn leaves (gather some fallen leaves from the ground, and press them inside a thick book for about a week)
- Wax paper
- Cylindrical oatmeal or ice cream container (such as Edy’s)
- Iron and ironing surface
- A piece of red or orange cardstock or construction paper (painted watercolor paper was used in the picture shown)
- Glue (either hot glue or white tacky glue)
- Hole punch
- Handle from paper shopping bag-or- green-wrapped florist’s wire from a craft store (or you can use a pipe cleaner)
- Tea light (LED or real flame)
- Glass votive holder or jar (if using a real tea light)
- Thick, cushioned double-sided tape (if using a real tea light)
Step 1: The Base
Cut off the bottom ¾” of the cylindrical container, and recycle the rest. This will be the base of the lantern.
Step 2: The Body
Cut out two 18.5” wide by 9” tall pieces of wax paper. Place one piece on top of an ironing board (or a pillow case-covered table surface).
Turn iron to lowest setting. Arrange pressed leaves on the wax paper, with their most colorful side facing you.
When the leaves are arranged as you want them, carefully place the second piece of wax paper on top of the leaves. Carefully iron over the wax paper, to fuse the two pieces together. At this point, you may want to trim the edges so they’re even and straight. (A paper cutter is handy!)
Step 3: Putting it Together
Cut a few ¾” wide strips from the cardstock. Glue a strip along the entire bottom and top edges of the wax paper, making sure the strip is glued to the side that shows the leaves’ brightest colors.
Next, attach the wax paper to the base by lining up the bottom of base. (Make sure the side with the cardstock strips faces outward). Carefully glue around the edges of the base, and roll the wax paper around it. (A hot glue gun makes this step easier, but you’ll have to work quickly.) You’ll end up with some overlap between the two wax paper edges, so run a thin line of glue from bottom to top at the overlap, to close the lantern into a cylindrical shape.
Step 4: Attaching a Handle
Next, make two holes with the hole punch or a pencil point close to the top of the lantern. The holes should be opposite each other. Attach whatever type of handle you’re using through the two holes. If you’re using a paper shopping bag handle or wrapped wire, either twist or glue each end together to fasten securely. If you intend to light the lantern with a real flame, attach a votive candle holder or jar to the lantern base by using a small piece of double-sided tape, and put a tea light inside.
- Use two bundt cake pans for the pumpkin shape. Make a large or small pumpkin.
- Yellow cake mix
- Canned pumpkin
- 1 egg
- Vegetable oil
- Pumpkin pie spice
For the frosting:
- ½ cup vegetable shortening (such as Crisco)
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons milk
- Food coloring
For the cake:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two half sized bundt pans and one mini muffin pan. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, place all cake ingredients. With an electric mixer on low, beat for 1 ½ minutes. Spoon about 2 tablespoons batter into each of 4 mini muffin cups. Bake mini muffins for 20 minutes. Continue baking cakes for 15-25 minutes (or total of 35-45 minutes) or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Let cakes cool completely.
3. Meanwhile, prepare the frosting.
4. Place shortening in large bowl bowl and beat with an electric mixer on medium high for two minutes. Add the butter and beat until combined. With the mixer on ow speed, gradually add half the sugar. Add the milk and vanilla. Beat on low speed, for a few seconds. Keep mixer on low and add more milk if it’s too thick.
Frosting and Decorating Cake
1. Put ¼ cup of frosting in a separate bowl for the green and ¼ cup in another bowl for the black. Keep the remaining frosting white for the time being. Place the first cake (rounded side down) on a cake board. Place the second cake on the top (round side facing up). Place another muffin in the middle. Frost the center only with white frosting. Color the remaining frosting orange. Frost the whole cake with the orange frosting. A small offset spatula works great for spreading. Frost a mini cupcake with green frosting. Place on top of cake. (The fourth mini muffin is extra). Create vines in green and add leaves.
2. Store cake in the refrigerator. Recipe By: Mom Loves Baking
Straw Blow Art Tree
- Art paper
- Watercolor paints and paint brush
- Pipette or dropper
- India ink or black liquid watercolor
1. Paint your entire sheet of art paper with watercolor paint to make your background.
2. Let your background paint dry.
3. Use liquid watercolor paint or india ink to paint a tree trunk. (The india ink shows up much more boldly than the water color paint and is super fun to use, but can stain. If you’re using it with a group of kids, make sure you have some extra hands to help!)
4. Now for the fun part- blowing the paint to make the spooky looking tree boughs and branches! Use a pipette or dropper to a place a few drops of ink near the top of your tree trunk.
5. Use a straw to blow the drops around your paper to create all kinds of spooky looking branches.
6. Add more drops and blow those around. Continue until you like the look of your spooky tree.
Pumpkin Cheesecake Swirl Muffins
- ¾ cup pumpkin puree (the canned variety is best, unsweetened)
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup white sugar
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 8 ounces full fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- ½ egg (beat one egg and use half the mixture)
- 1/3 cup white sugar
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, eggs, sugar, and vegetable oil until well combined
3. Add the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger and mix with a rubber spatula just until no streaks of flour remain. Set the batter aside.
4. Combine the cream cheese, ½ egg, and sugar in a medium bowl with a wire whisk until the mixture is creamy and smooth. Set aside.
5. Portion out the pumpkin batter into the 12 muffin cups, filling each one about 2/3 full
6. Add one tablespoon or so of the cheesecake mixture to the top of each and use a toothpick to swirl the cheesecake mixture into the pumpkin batter.
7. Bake the muffins at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until the muffins pass the toothpick test (insert a toothpick and if it comes out clean, they’re done!)
8. Allow the muffins to cool in their plans for about 10 minutes before removing them to wire rack to cool completely.
Notes: These muffins keep at room temperature in an airtight container for about 2 days. Recipe By: The Busy Baker
Autumn Tree Q-Tip Painting
- Plain paper or a canvas
- Black marker or paint
- A variety of fall colored paints (like red, dark orange, light orange, dark brown, light brown, yellow)
- Paint pallete or paper plate
1. Start out by drawing your tree in pencil. You can also print out a silhouette of a tree. If you’re drawing it, use a black marker or black paint to color it in.
2. Now put a little of each of your autumn colors on your palette. Start with the lightest shade, and dip a q-tip into it. Then stamp the tip of the q-tip into it. Then stamp the tip of the q-tip onto or next to one of your branches.
Your first stamp will be opaque, and the next few will get lighter. You can stamp the q-tip down about 3-5 times before you’ll have to re-dip for more paint. When you have a good amount of your lightest shade, move onto the next color.
3. Keep adding layers of dots.
4. If you don’t let the paint to dry in between layers, the paint will blend together and you’ll have dot leaves that are multicolored. When you think you’re done, step back and look at your painting. Does it need more yellow again? Is there a spot where you could use a few more leaves, or an overly bare branch? Do you want more falling leaves in the air, or even some collected on the ground? Use your imagination and make your painting entirely your own.
Pumpkin Cookies with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
- Eggs: large, room temperature
- Vanilla extract: a cookie isn’t a cookie without vanilla
- Butter: sweet cream salted butter, softened to room temperature
- Sugar: You will need granulated sugar for the cookie dough
- Pumpkin: You will need canned pumpkin for this recipe, you can use pumpkin pie filling if that is all you have but you should reduce the extra spices in the recipe since pumpkin pie filling comes pre-spiced
- Flour: all purpose flour
- Baking powder: to help create a soft cookie with a little bit of rise
- Salt: for flavor
- Spices: just like pumpkin pie, you’ll need: cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger
- Nuts: if you like a little crunch to your cookies, you can add chopped peacans or walnuts to the cookie dough. But this is optional
- Frosting: these cookies feature delicious homemade cream cheese frosting
How to Make the Pumpkin Spice Cookie Dough:
1. In a mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Then add the eggs and pumpkin, mix well.
2. Add the baking powder, salt, and spices together and mix until combined.
3. Add the flour, one cup at a time and mix just until blended.
4. At this point, you can add the nuts if you like.
1. Drop a spoonful of the cookie batter (about 1.5 oz) onto a cookie sheet and use a spoon to flatten it out a bit. Bake in an oven pre-heated to 350 degrees for approximately 12 minutes.
Frosting for the Pumpkin Cookies:
You have a lot of yummy options for frosting these delicious pumpkin cookies. You can use store bought cream cheese frosting or follow this recipe:
- 1 pound (4 cups) of powdered sugar
- ½ cup butter (salted sweet cream butter)
- 8 oz cream cheese
- 3 teaspoons of vanilla
- Decorating bags
- Wilton 2D decorating tip
1. Beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla extract in a mixer until blended
2. Add powdered sugar a cup at a time and continue to mix until sugar is incorporated.
Recipe By: Two Sisters
- Paper plates
- Orange tissue paper
- Cardstock (brown and green)
1. To start this fall craft, cut the inside circle out of a paper plate.
2. Take the orange tissue paper and begin to rip it into small squares. Little ones will love helping with this part!
3. Scrunch the torn pieces of tissue paper and glue them around the paper plate.
4. Continue gluing the tissue paper until the whole paper plate is covered.
5. Now it is time to make the stem! Cut a rectangle (stem) out of the brown cardstock and a leaf out of the green cardstock.
6. Glue the stem and leaf to the back of the paper plate.
7. Let your preschool pumpkin art dry and you will have the perfect decoration for your front door!
Other options for your paper pumpkin craft for kids:
- If you don’t have tissue paper, you can use construction paper and roll it into tiny balls to be glued onto the paper plate.
- Using a mix of small, medium, and large paper plates you can create a variety of pumpkins of different sizes.
- Use chenille stems (pipe cleaners) to add extra detail to your stem and leaf.
- Hot glue a piece of twine to the back of your paper plate for easy hanging.