Updated date:

Make Raking Garden Leaves Fun for Kids

I have "green-fingers," and love my garden. I enjoy watching wildlife and being outdoors.

How to Make Raking Leaves Easier

  1. Rake downwind. Use the wind to help not hinder your efforts.
  2. Use music to help you get in rhythm. Sing with your kids, or take a radio outside with you for a varied playlist.
  3. Many hands make the job easier. Get all the family involved and this chore will be done in next to no time.

What Can I Use to Pick Up Leaves?

Many people opt for a traditional rake for this task, but I prefer garden leaf scoops as they make the job easier for both me and my kids. Children love gathering leaves into heaps ready for bagging later. The scoops are brightly colored and so can't easily get lost inside a leaf-heap. Small hands find them easy to manage, and their large gathering capacity mean that results are quickly seen. Don’t forget to get your kids dressed for the task. A cold, whining child is not going to get enthusiastic about raking leaves no matter how much fun you make it. If the leaves are wet and soggy then wellie boots are essential. Warm gloves are a good idea too, but some kids take them off no matter how often you nag.

How to Pick up Leaves Fast With a Leaf Scoop

Get Your Kids to Help With Garden Raking

Raking leaves is hard physical work. Gathering up fallen leaves soon becomes a burden for most families. So try to think of it as a "green gym." It's a free work-out rather than as a chore. In the wild, leaves remain where they fall and provide a natural mulch and compost for the next generation of trees. In urban areas most gardeners choose to rake them up. If left where they fall, they cause die-back on lawns and may become a slipping hazard on footpaths. Children have lots of energy and can help with this autumn activity. Encourage them by making it into a game and they will be enthusiastic. Sweeping up leaves and gardening are opportunities to spend quality family time with your kids. Get them excited by the idea of fall leaves. They will burn off lots of energy by raking leaves into a pile and have fun jumping into them.

Kids enjoy raking leaves and it can be the start of a lifelong love of gardening.

Kids enjoy raking leaves and it can be the start of a lifelong love of gardening.

Make Garden Chores Into a Competition

Most children love the chance to beat their older siblings or their mom or pop at something. The task of raking leaves is ideal for this. The winner of this game is the one who can rake the most leaves into a heap in a given time (say half an hour). You can make allowances for younger kids by giving them an extra few minutes to complete the task. Or you could make it slightly more difficult for older kids by directing them to an area where there are fewer fallen leaves. They will need to work faster to gather the same amount of leaves as their younger brother or sister who will be working where the leaves are thickest on the ground.

Leaves And Their Trees: Simple Science For Kids

Children are naturally inquisitive. Raking leaves is a good time to see how many different types of trees grow in your garden. Kids can learn to identify tree species by collecting a leaf from each type of tree. Later these can be pressed and preserved for “show and tell” sessions. There’s lots to learn about which trees are native to your area and the origin of any non-native trees growing there. Each species of tree grows into a unique shape. Your kids can learn how to identify trees from their silhouette even when all the leaves have fallen. Help them identify the different types of fallen leaves, and how to match them to the trees. Teach them how and why leaves change their colors and fall every autumn.

Leaf Art For Kids: How to Make Animal Pictures With Leaves

Preserve and Press Colorful Fall Leaves

Oklahoma State University has a useful downloadable leaflet which details how to press and mount leaf samples. Leaves are dried by placing between layers of blotting paper and newspaper, before being pressed under heavy weights like books or bricks. The drying and pressing process takes several weeks to complete. The final product is brittle and is best glued to a board or card if it is to be shown at school. Pressed leaves can also be used for creative crafts. The leaves can be used to create leaf prints and patterns or they can be used as stencils or collages to create artistic designs. Discussing the colors of the leaves and the life cycle of deciduous trees whilst you are raking the leaves may also lead to imaginative stories and poems being created.

Environmental Benefits of Raking Leaves

Many children care about the future of the planet. They want to do their bit to help the environment. Raking leaves from lawns helps the grass to grow and also means that the mulch (or leaf mold) created can be used to help other plants. Raking leaves can be used to introduce them to environmental science. Discussing the benefits of leaf mold for gardens and cultivating plants can help kids understand nature’s regeneration cycle. Making leaf mold needs a bit of space to turn it into compost, but the magic can be done in a leaf bin or in black trash bags. It takes at least a year for the raked leaves to rot down and be ready for use. Making your own compost means you will be able to use fewer chemicals (or better still, none at all.) The video below demonstrates how you can convert your leaves into a rich mulch that will make your garden greener and more environmentally-friendly.

How to Make Leaf Mold: Turn Fallen Leaves Into Gardener's Gold

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.