Although fall is my favorite time of the year, there is one thing I dread about this season and that is raking leaves. Normally outside home maintenance is in my husband’s wheelhouse, but when it comes to the fallen leaves—all hands are on deck. Even though raking leaves is not my favorite thing about homeownership or fall, this year I’m looking on the bright side. I have realized there are many benefits of turning this chore into a family fun activity.
Benefit #1: Promotes Outdoor Play and Physical Activity
My toddler has a lot of energy, so playing outside is always a daily activity. The fall season is filled with some of the last sunny days of outdoor play without completely bundling up. Although my daughter loves playing in the snow, jumping in the piles of leaves is her absolute favorite. Watching her use her imagination, get fresh air, exercise, and learn about nature is all worth the few hours of raking leaves.
Benefit #2: Improves Fine Motor Skills and Cognitive Development
This year we have taken our raking activity to a new level and added some educational elements. Identifying shapes, sizes, colors, and counting the leaves was helpful in keeping our toddler busy as we complete our raking and bagging. Picking up individual leaves one-by-one is also a great activity to help improve fine motor skills.
Benefit #3: Creates a Sense of Responsibility
My daughter loves to help with household chores, from feeding the dog to putting away laundry. She always wants to be involved. Last year, she was a little disappointed we didn’t have a rake her size. She didn’t feel like she could really help. Our little toddler’s eyes lit up when we bought her a little yellow rake. She was so proud she could help with raking leaves this year. I strongly believe teaching responsibility and independence at a young age is vital to a child’s development.
Benefit #4: Allows More Family Bonding
Families that spend time together tend to build stronger relationships. Spending quality time with my daughter raking leaves was really the highlight of my day. We didn’t get a lot done, but it didn’t matter. It was so enjoyable to watch her run around and rake leaves in little piles and then jump or run through those piles. I believe bonding with your children with family fun activities actively strengthens mutual respect and helps them gain self-confidence. In the busy world we live in, taking the time to get away from technology and bond outdoors is extremely important to everyone’s well-being.