Fall is an excellent time to have your grandchildren visit and enjoy some family time together. Too often, during the summer, the grandkids are busy with sports or summer art programs. Now that the routine of school has settled in, they consider some special time with a grandparent a real treat.
For many, when they think fall, they think football. If taking in a Bears game is a little too much, why not check out a game at Belleville East or West? Or cook up some munchies and watch the game on your own television set or in the lounge with the big-screen TV.
Eckert's Belleville Farm is a MUST for all ages. In addition to shopping amidst nature's bounty, entire families can enjoy pony and camel rides, bounce houses, carnival rides and more every Saturday and Sunday in October during AppleFest.
At the Pumpkin Patch on Green Mount Road, the family can ride wagons out to pick out your very own pumpkin. Pony rides, a petting farm, festival foods, and live entertainment are sure to get the kids excited...and wear them out. The fun continues Saturdays and Sundays during October.
Once you arrive home, you can carve the pumpkins, toast the seeds, and decorate your home for the holiday.
On October 7 and 8, sample the chili and the music during the Belleville Chili Cook-Off. On Saturday, the children's area opens at 11 a.m. At 1 p.m., your little star can participate in the Junior Idol Competition. Just a note of warning: Beer is served both days.
Although Halloween comes but once a year, you can get your scare on at the Lincoln Theatre on Main Street any day. Believed to be haunted by seven ghosts, a phantom child reportedly runs up and down the stairs, and a woman haunts the balcony.
In November, the Christmas Tree lot opens on Saturdays at Belleville Farm. Kids can have breakfast with Santa at the restaurant the last weekend of November up to Christmas weekend. Those same weekends, the entire family can collaborate during the Gingerbread House Workshop!
Downtown Belleville hosts its annual Santa Claus Parade November 25. Santa's House on the Square opens November 27.
But you don't have to go into town to enjoy those crisp autumn days.
The grandkids can work off some energy by visiting the Children's Memorial Playground at The National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows. The two-acre playground depicts the seven days of creation in a rubberized walking surface that encircles it. A life-size sculpture of a Jesus kneels at the entrance.
Perhaps the children might enjoy watching the birds in the aviary or walking the grounds of The Esquiline to find hidden treasures, such as a waterfall, fountains, and other natural and landscaped areas.
Rent a DVD from the local library and have a movie night with some holiday classics. Whether you choose Charlie Brown specials or family favorites like It’s a Wonderful Life, the holiday season provides great movie options. Above all, you and your grandkids are sure to enjoy the time together. To add some extra fun, make popcorn or Rice Krispies treats for a snack.
If you’re in the Thanksgiving spirit, make a flock of tiny turkeys by tracing the children's hands on construction paper, then cutting it out and decorating it as a Thanksgiving turkey.
Whatever you do, make sure you take plenty of photos and videos. They'll be fun to share later during other family get-togethers.