Raking Leaves

One of my favorite fall memories growing up (and even now with my kids) is raking leaves together as a family.  Initially, when we were told that we were going to rake leaves on the upcoming weekend we would moan and groan, our stomachs would have a perpetual knot in them but by the time we were up the next morning, ready to start we were ready to accept the fact that we were going to be working. 

Yes, like any normal kids, we had a preliminary dread of what was to come.  I don’t know why we did dread it but by the time we got into it and started burning some of our energy, we all had a blast!  Usually, we would work through most of the morning getting the yard raked and cleaned up.  As we went along, we’d have a contest of who could rake the largest pile of leaves and a game of leaf tag, and probably a leaf fight or two. :) When lunch rolled around we could expect something fun – usually pizza – to eat and some ice cream bars or cookies - just something special that we didn’t usually get.

If you’re looking at your yard and thinking that it needs a good raking why not plan a Saturday morning and get outside with your kids and make it a fun occasion.  I can help you out with a few tips, some fun games and a quick menu to make your raking leaves day fun! 

What are You Going to Need for Raking Leaves?

Make sure that a couple days before you start raking you check to make sure you have a few of the following items:

  • Big Black Leaf Trash Bags – so handy to put in your trash can….  But if you have a truck and you’re trying to be economical you might just skip the trash bags and fill up the trash can and dump it in the back of the truck as need be. 
  • Trash cans – haha… the first time I went to rake leaves at my house, I realized I didn’t have a trash can (oops!) 
  • Rakes – Have several on hand so that no one is left idle… and a the job will get done much faster if a couple people are raking.
  • Gloves – you don’t want any blisters from doing all that raking.  Blisters = tears and we want to minimize that with kids! 

Getting the Day off to a Good Start

Brisk fall mornings usually mean that kids (and parents :)) want to stay cozily wrapped up under the blankets and snooze the morning away.  So, to start your day off right, how about making a Crockpot of oatmeal the night before?  That way you wake up to a yummy breakfast that will get the kids warmed up and awake.  Throw a banana in the mix and you’ll have already started the day off on the right foot for the kids.

So, with their tummies full of breakfast goodness, head outside and start raking leaves! 

Ways to Make it Fun

So just how do you make raking leaves fun?!  Well, make up a few games as you go along.  The games will break up the monotony and will keep the kids on track. 

  1. See who can rake the largest pile of leaves
  2. Leaf Tag – (this might create more of a mess but the giggles and laughs that you get out of it make this game so worth it!)  Just designate an “IT” person and run around trying to catch people by throwing leaves at them.  
  3. Leaf Fight – set up two teams and see who can endure the leaf throwing the longest :)
  4. Jumping into the leaf piles
  5. Having races with picking up the leaf piles.  See who can pick up the leaves the fastest

Also, plan a way that you can celebrate the yard being all cleaned up.  Like I mentioned above, my family would have a pizza party.  The week before the big day we’d buy a bunch of frozen pizzas then when we are about a half hour from finishing up the raking, someone would go inside to get the oven preheated and the pizzas cooking.  But if you’re not thrilled with the pizza idea I have a few other FAST and EASY ideas below (by this point everyone’s going to be tired and no one is going to want to do any time consuming cooking plus you want to make it a “special treat” for the kids):

  1. Cook up a bunch of Hot Dogs and Brats + Chips + Fruit + Brownies 
  2. Mozzarella Sticks – you could buy a big box of these to serve to everyone. + Fruit + Package Cookies 
  3. Lunchables – Just open and go! + Fruit + Ice Cream 
  4. Dump some premade frozen meatballs and spaghetti sauce in a crockpot and quickly boil some noodles for a tasty lunch + Fruit + Ice Cream
  5. Assembly line of Subs – buy all the meat, lettuce, tomatoes and toppings, set up an assembly line and everyone can make their own + Chips + Fruit 
  6. Hard boiled eggs + Peanut Butter Crackers + Cheese Slices + Fruit + Ice Cream (I love ice cream :)) 
  7. Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwiches + Chips + Fruit + Brownies 
  8. Grilled Ham and Cheese Sandwiches + Dill Pickles + Fruit
  9. Cheese Crisp (Sprinkle some cheese on a tortilla shell, top with a little bit of salsa if you want and bake at 415˚ for about 7-10 minutes)  + Fruit + Cookies
  10. Freezer burritos/chimichangas + Tortilla Chips and Salsa + Fruit + Brownies

Alright!  Well, I think you’re just about ready to go for an epic day of raking leaves as a family!  Have fun, no arguing, and get out and get some exercise! 

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