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Fun Fall Books and Activities for Kids!

School is back in session, there is a chill in the air, pumpkin spice lattes are back and I even had a fire in the fireplace for the first time in over five months… Fall has arrived!

As an educator and mom, I love the combination of reading books followed by an “extension activity”. Extension activities have lots of benefits such as getting children excited to read and teaching them how to connect a book to real life. Activities give a child a chance to use the language from the book in a new way and of course, you have more positive parent-child interaction! Extension activities take reading to a whole new and exciting level and don’t need to be time consuming or cost money.

This summer I fell in love with Usborne books after a friend of mine introduced them to me. There are a unique company that makes books for all ages that include fiction, non-fiction, activity books, pop up books and more! I ordered a bunch of them this summer for birthday gifts as they are typically a bit harder to find so I don’t have to worry about kids already owning the book. The best news about these books is that they can be found right here at any of the Denver Public Libraries. Just enter the titles and place a hold at your closest library.

Since I’m excited that Fall has arrived I wanted to share a few of our favorite Fall books and an extension activity for each as well. Happy Fall!taleoftwobeasts

  1. A Tale of Two Beasts” by Fiona Roberton- When a little girl rescues a strange beast from the woods, she takes him home. But for some reason, the little beast is not happy! There are two sides to every story, and this funny and charming tale is no exception. Fiona Roberton offers both points of view in this discussion-starting tale of the importance of seeing the world in different ways

Extension Activity:

a) Have your child create their own story with two perspectives. Older children could write their story themselves, younger children could verbalize it to the adult.

b) Ask a child to think of a situation in their own life that presented a problematic encounter with a friend or adult. Encourage them to share the situation that made them feel unhappy, mad, embarrassed etc.. Try and have them see both sides of the event from each persons perspective (just like in the book). This is a wonderful way to teach empathy, understanding and problem solving.


  1. Secrets of the Apple Tree, Shine-A-Light Book” by Kane Millersecretsofappletree

Explore a tree up close and you will find a small world filled with great surprises! From worms wriggling among the roots, to birds nesting high in the branches, the hidden wonders of this amazing habitat are revealed when the page is held up to a light.

Extension Activity:

a) Do your own apple picking at a near by apple orchard! Look and touch the tree- the leaves, bark and fruit. Here are a few favorite around Denver: YaYa Farm & Orchard 6914 Ute Hwy Longmont, CO 80503; Happy Apple Farm 1190 1st Street, Penrose, CO 81240

b) Head to the grocery store and let your child pick out their own apple for a healthy snack. Talk to them about the different colors, textures and flavors. Have a taste test with a few different types of apples. Finally, cut open the apple horizontally across the middle and you will see a star with the seeds. There is a story you can share about the star here.

farmc) “ 1001 Things to Spot on the Farm” Usborne – This charming picture book shows scenes from farms around the world, and on every page, there are dozens of things to spot. The detailed pictures provide hours of looking and talking, and dedicated spotters will be unable to put the book down until they have found all the water buffaloes in the rice fields, the cocoa pods on the tropical farm, or eight lambs on the sheep farm. Counting sheep has never been so much fun!

Extension Activity:

  1. Bring the book with you in the car and have you child find what they “spot in the book” out the window! They will be amazed how many things from the book they find within their own world.
  2. Create your own Things to Spot. Use a sheet of paper and crayons or markers and have your child create their own Things to Spot page or book! Suggest they draw their house, playroom, or favorite place to play like a park or zoo and place special things to spot in their picture.



Elissa Sungar is the Co-Creator of If Not You, Who?  a free website that offers easy and fun in-home educational activities that help prepare children for kindergarten and life!  Her passion for early childhood education grew out of her experience as a pre-school teacher at Stanford University’s Bing Nursery School. Elissa loves spending time with her family and 1 year old son, hiking, running, tennis, yoga, cute workout clothes, good cheese, great baked goods and exploring Denver!   Twitter: @ElissaINYW




Five Great Early Fall Family Outdoor Activities

Labor Day has ended, the kids are back in school, and Pumpkin Spice Lattes have made their triumphant return to Starbucks. It’s also a great time of year to get outdoors with your family. It’s (usually) not so hot anymore, and the snow is still a good month or two away. Here are some ideas of great Denver-area outdoor family outings as we transition from summer to fall:

Berry Picking at Berry Patch Farms

It’s now prime raspberry picking season at this family-owned, organic farm in Brighton. Take a wagon ride to the berry fields and pick away. The people are friendly and the views are beautiful. Be sure to check out the chickens they have roaming around, too. Visit the website before you go to confirm that there are in fact raspberries to pick. Currently, families can pick on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Then, go home and make some fun raspberry desserts or jams!

Fun Fall Activities & Events in Denver!

Looking for something fun to do in Denver now that fall is here?  Well, search no more!  Here is a great list of Free Days, Events, Festivals and Fun things to do right here in the Mile High area!  There is something for everyone on this list.  Be sure to check it out!


Botanic Gardens 720-864-3500
Friday, October 23

Botanic Gardens at Chatfield Park 303-973-3705
Friday, November 6
Friday, December 4

Denver Museum of Nature and Science 303-322-7009
Monday, November 2
Sunday, November 22

Denver Art Museum 720-865-5000
Free First Saturdays – the first Saturday of every month is free for Colorado residents; entry ticket is required for crowd control

Children’s Museum 303-433-7444
Free First Tuesdays – the first Tuesday of every month is free for Colorado residents from 4:00 – 8:00 pm

Denver Firefighter’s Museum 303-892-1436
Saturday, October 10
Saturday, October 31: Free admission for children in costume
Saturday, November 14: Colorado Residents Free Day

Denver Zoo 303-376-4800
Sunday, October 25
Sunday, November 8
Wednesday, November 11

Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls, and Toys
1880 Gaylord Street, Denver
First Sunday of every month, “pay what you can”


Dinosaur Discovery Days

First Saturday of the month, 10:00 am – 2:30 pm

Dinosaur Ridge – 16831 W Alameda Pkwy

The Hogback will be closed to vehicles while trained guides explain dinosaur evidence and answer questions; free activity booklet; fun activities for kids including the Stegosaurus Branding, the Edmontosaurus Bone Dig, the Grallator Track Lab ($1), the Future Illustrator Coloring Studio, the Cretaceous Crossroads Track Site, and Face Painting ($1)

Visitors can hike at their own pace or ride the Vanosaurus for $2 per person (children 4 and under ride free)

High Plein Air Arts Festival

November 14 through December 31, times and locations vary – check website

Golden Triangle Neighborhood – Lincoln between Speer and 13th Ave in Denver

Watch over 100 artists paint throughout the area; Paint Out locations include the Denver art Museum Plaza.

Third Thursday on 32nd

Third Thursday of the Month, May through November, 5:00-8:00 pm

Along 32nd Ave near Lowell

Free food, live music, store specials

First Fridays on Santa Fe

First Friday of the Month, May through December, 6:00-9:00 pm

Santa Fe Drive between 6th and 13th Avenues

Free food and drinks, live music, art, jewelry and other displays; history tours of the area offered at the same time

Golden Triangle First Fridays

First Friday of the Month, January through November, 5:00-9:00 pm

Golden Triangle Neighborhood – Lincoln between Speer and 13th Ave in Denver

Free shuttle bus to participating galleries; historic Byers-Evans House also open for these evenings

Golden First Fridays – 303-279-3113

First Friday of the Month, 5:00 – 8:00 pm

Downtown Golden

Cherry Creek North First Friday Gallery Walk –

First Friday of the Month, 5:00 – 8:00 pm

Cherry Creek North shopping district

Tours of the myriad art galleries in the district

Hay Bales and Tall Tales

First Saturday of the Month, 11:00 am – 12:00 pm

Four Mile House – 715 S Forest St in Glendale

A reading of a pioneer story followed by a wagon ride for the kids

Wild Rides – 303-289-0930

Year round starting at 9:00 am

Trolley tours of the wildlife on the former Rocky Mountain Arsenal

Free, but you must call for reservations

Heritage Square – 303-279-2789

Alpine slide, kiddie amusement rides, go karts, bumper and paddle boats, fishing, train, shopping, musical and children’s theater and much more in this replica of a Victorian main street

18301 W Colfax Ave in Golden

Celestial Seasonings Tea Factory –

On the hour, 10:00 am – 3:00 pm, Monday through Saturday; 11:00 am – 3:00 pm Sunday

4600 Sleepytime Drive in Boulder

45 minutes; no children under 5 in the factory; tea samples; gift shop

Denver Mint

On the hour, 8:00 am –3:00 pm, Monday through Friday, closed on federal holidays

Colfax and Cherokee in Denver

1 hour, reservations recommended; coin production in action; tight security so check website for restrictions; gift shop

Colorado State Capitol Building – 303-866-2604

9:15 am – 2:30 pm, Monday through Friday, closed on state and federal holidays

Colfax and Broadway in Denver

45 minutes; watch government at work and see an historic building

Coors Brewery – 303-277-2552

10:00 am –4:00 pm, Monday through Saturday

13th and Ford in Golden

45 minutes; beer samples (for 21+); gift shop

Anheuser Busch Brewery

10:00 am –4:00 pm, Thursday through Monday

2351 Busch Drive in Ft. Collins

1 hour; beer samples (for 21+); Clydesdales; gift shop


Looking for a listing of Fall Festivals, Corn Mazes, Pumpkin Patches, and Trick or Treat Options? Please click here for the list!

Do you know of something that isn’t on our list that should be included? Send an email to assistant editor, JoAnn at [email protected]