With the sun setting earlier and the days getting cooler, autumn chores are upon us. Those green leaves that offered summer shade now carpet your yard and beg to be raked. Why not change that dreaded leaf clean-up task into a fun family tradition?
So get ready to transform leaf raking into a day of playtime and family bonding. Raking leaves allows kids to gain a sense of accomplishment while learning a bit about nature. Everyone will reap the benefits from the fresh air and exercise, too.
Make leaf raking a full-day fall event. Plan a few wholesome leaf activities to delight your kids before discarding or mulching your leaves.
Fortunately, you only need a few tools:
- Rakes are a must for everyone. The best adult rakes are lightweight and fan-shaped with a long handle and a broad head to gather more leaves at once. Kids need a comfortable, age-appropriate rake for their size.
- Gloves for adults to prevent blisters from doing the lion’s share of the raking. Kids may be excited to have their own colorful pair of gloves as well.
- Sun Safety is year-round so fall isn’t the time to let your guard down. The warm summer may be in your rearview, but the sun is still up ahead. So go ahead and pack away swimsuits and flip-flops, but continue to be sun-safe to avoid a sneaky autumn sunburn or worse. Check out UV Skinz UPF 50+ clothing and accessories to keep your whole family safe from unwanted sun damage while enjoying all of your fall outdoor activities.
- An ability to have fun, especially if you want your kids’ eager help again next year!
- Optional items include leaf bags, a large tarp, composting area
Best Time to Rake
Wait for a crisp autumn day after all the leaves have fallen and your trees are bare. This helps you avoid having to rake multiple times – and ensures you have plenty of leaves for the kids to enjoy. Be sure to check the weather to avoid a rainy day or the day after a storm since leaves are easier to rake when dry.
Fun Leaf Activities
The classic way to enjoy autumn leaves is by jumping into them! Piles of leaves are simply irresistible to kids, so try raking the leaves into multiple piles in a row or a circle and allow kids to jump from one pile to the next. You can also enjoy other fun activities like these:
- Mazes: If you have the space, design a leaf maze for the kids to run or bike through. The prize for finishing the maze is jumping into a huge pile at the end.
- Slides: Rake a heap of leaves to the bottom of a kids’ slide and let them take turns sliding into the leaf pile.
- Angels: Lay down on the leaves and slide arms and legs up and down to create leaf angels, similar to snow angels.
- Crafts: Pick the prettiest leaves and some twigs to make a wreath, garland, or other age-appropriate craft.
After enjoying some fun family time, get ready to re-rake and dispose of your leaves based on your local ordinances. You may need to bag the leaves and transport them to a compost site, or compost them yourself to benefit your garden.
Time to Eat
Lastly, it’s time to feed the hungry troops. Sit down to a cool weather meal like chili and a salad. Make it easier by prepping the salad and chili toppings in the morning and adding chili ingredients to the slow cooker before you head outdoors to play and rake. Maybe your gang prefers to roast hot dogs, fruit kabobs, and marshmallows over a fire. Either way, warm apple cider is a great finish to the beautiful autumn day.
As with any family activity, be ready to snap lots of photos using the magical backdrop of nature. Maybe your kids had so much fun that they’ll want to help their grandparents or neighbors rake up their yards, too.