While autumn leaves on the ground can provide a home with a picturesque surrounding landscape and a familiar peaceful crackle beneath one’s feet, behind these pleasant thoughts lies the knowledge that they must be raked up. You already know that an easy way to tackle this issue is simply to have your kids do it for you, but getting them to actually rake leaves is another story.
This is easier if the kids look at raking leaves as something exciting rather than a chore. But how? Here are some ways to get kids excited to rake leaves without nagging them to do it.
Turn Raking Leaves into a Game
Making a game out the task is a great way to get kids excited about raking leaves. A good game always has a little competition, so parents will want to entice their kids with a prize for getting the job done before sending them outside. A child that is tackling the leaves alone can be promised something in return for finishing in a certain amount of time or for making an especially humongous pile.
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Create a Treasure Hunt
Another way to get them excited would be to tell them that there are a couple of ten dollar bills out in the front yard and the person that raked up all the leaves would likely be the one to find them. This puts an element of adventure into raking leaves that would be missing if they were simply paid for the job in a straightforward manner.
When hiding the bills make sure to place them under a rock or wait until the task is nearly done before slipping the cash into the leaves. The last thing you want is for the money to blow down the street leaving your helpers empty handed.
Inspire Fall Decoration
An obvious but often missed idea is to make the raking part of a another project. Fall is the time of year for scarecrows, so get out an old pair of pants and a shirt, sew the waist and tie up the sleeves and tell the kids to stuff them with leaves. They will have fun recreating the Headless Horseman while you get to sit on the couch with a cup of hot cocoa and catch up on the Handmaids Tale.
Read more: 8 Fall Activities to Do With a New Baby
Of course the idea of jumping in the piles and throwing the leaves around will always gets a kid worked up. Remind any young professional wrestling fan that neatly raking all the leaves in your backyard into a large pile would create a great place to practice those flying elbow smashes and Yokozuna splashes. This tactic not only gets them to rake leaves but also encourages outdoor exercise.
With this direction the trick is making sure that they still actually clean up the mess at the end of the game. Every good wrestler knows that a clean ring is requirement for the next round of practice.
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Invite the neighbors along
Creating an activity for the entire block to enjoy will quickly get you in the good graces of all the parents on the street. Offer up hot cocoa and see how many helpers you can get to clean up the entire block, not just your own house. If your block has a few seniors or busy homeowners make sure your clean up crew starts to rake leaves there, helping to build community and teach the important lesson of charity and good works.
No matter what you use as a motivation for getting the kids outside, raking leaves as a family provides an opportunity for togetherness and memory making. As your little helpers go from playing in the leaves to ‘tricking’ their own children into doing the bulk of the work for them, fall memories are important to enjoy. You might be surprised when your adult children someday call you to share how their own WWE team is competing in the yard today!
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