It’s autumn and the leaves are beginning to fall off the trees around our house. And while some may look at this as just another chore to be done (someone has to rake them up), a person looking to ignite adventure can look at those same leaves as an exciting opportunity.

Here are seven ways to have fun with autumn leaves (don’t miss number five, it’s my favorite and makes the whole list worthwhile):

1. Raking (It Can Be Fun)

This may seem counterintuitive but, yes, raking can actually be fun. You just have to use your imagination. Play games while you rake or have a race to see who can make the biggest pile the fastest. Try picking up leaves with a large square of cardboard. Pretend that you’re cleaning up toxic waste. Imagine that they are little aliens that need to be taken to another planet. Or you can do what my kids did and borrow grandma’s red convertible to rake while you ride.

7 ways to Have Fun with Leaves

2. Decorate

For those who like to decorate (that’s you mom), you can use the beautiful autumn leaves for decoration. If you cut off a few small branches, they actually make a very beautiful bouquet that you can put in a vase and on your table instead of flowers…and they’re cheaper.

3. Jump in Leaf Piles

Jumping in leaf piles is a classic and must be mentioned. Creating huge piles of leaves becomes a fun goal as you’re raking up those leaves and helps make it fun. And kids absolutely love jumping in them. I enjoy filming my kids in slow-mo to make their leaf jumping more dramatic and they love to watch themselves so they jump over and over again. But just make sure that your kids don’t have all the fun. Make sure to jump in that pile yourself and wrestle around with your kids a little.

7 ways to Have Fun with Leaves

7 ways to Have Fun with Leaves4. Headwear

Some people like to dress and accessorize according to the season and what better way to symbolize autumn than by adding a few leaves to your favorite hat or headband. Or if you just want to look like an escaped wood elf, you can truly decorate your head like my daughter.

5. Ghost Bags

This is a cheap, cute, and sure-fire way to not only get your kids to pick up the leaves in your yard without any grumbling but to also have some fun porch decorations. Simply grab a few of your average kitchen garbage bags (preferably white) and a black sharpie. Next, take your kids outside and hand them each a bag and tell them that they are going to make ghosts. (Warning: Do not mention to your kids that they are doing work or a chore of any kind. This could ruin the whole experience.) Then tell them to stuff as many leaves in their bags as they can to make the ghosts and to come back to you when they are ready to draw their ghost’s face. And then sit back and watch as your smiling kids race to pick up all the leaves. When they have a nice, fat bag full of leaves, have them color in two eyes and a mouth with the black sharpie and, voila, they have a ghost. A ghost that they are proud of and that is cute enough to sit on your porch.

7 ways to Have Fun with Leaves

6. Leaf Collection

Kids like to collect rocks, so why wouldn’t they want to collect leaves? Autumn leaves are so incredibly beautiful and it’s a lot of fun to see what different kinds of leaves you can find. Take a family walk through your neighborhood and pick up leaves along the way. And then look at everyone’s collection once you get back. You could even make it educational by figuring out what tree family each leaf goes into, if you think that sort of thing is fun.

7. Bury People Alive

If none of the other ideas seemed like fun, then this might be the one for you. Who doesn’t love piling up leaves on top of others until only their faces can be seen? It’s silly and fun and usually ends in a leafy wrestling match. And if you don’t enjoy burying others, volunteer to be buried yourself. And then at least you can take a nap.

7 ways to Have Fun with Leaves

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