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Remember Having Fun? Fun Outdoor Chores With Kids

My kids are always on the go. Always moving. If they stop, it is to sleep or eat, and sometimes they don't even stop to do that!

I'm a busy mom. I've got two jobs and I run my own site, as I'm sure most of us do. There are also those pesky outdoor chores that are always around. So, the word "fun" hasn't exactly been in my vocabulary for a little while now.

Don't get me wrong -- I love to watch my kids have fun. But, alone time is pretty minimal.

So, lately, I've taken to getting some of those more mundane outdoor tasks done while having fun with my kids. They enjoy it. I enjoy it. Everyone has fun and is happy.

Here's what I've done so far:

Cooperative power washing -- We live in an older home, so it needs pretty regular maintenance. That coupled with the fact that we have fields all around us means the pressure washer needs to come out every once in a while. 

When the kids were younger, they would watch me from the window while I did the pressure washing, but now that they are a little older (7 and 5, both boys) I decided it might be fun to let them join in on the endless fun that is pressure washing.

As long as I was helping them hold the hose, everything was good. They had a blast and I didn't really have to do much work. Hopefully, they like it so much, they'll do it when they get older! Just don't let them spray each other or anyone else...

Sprinkler Fun -- This one was a staple of my childhood and the key to surviving hot Chicago summers. But, when I moved to Houston as an adult, I didn't see many kids playing in sprinklers. I guess it must just be easier to play video games inside.

Most of the time, I water my garden by hand. I'll meticulously get every leaf and every blade of grass. But at the end of a long, hard day, I just want to relax. So, I brought the kids outside and told them to hook up the sprinkler. I set up a lawn chair and watched them run through the sprinkler, playing games with each other. I even got in there after a nice little catnap.

Dirt Castle Mulching -- If there is one thing I hate more than anything in the world, it is mulching. I'd have a landscaping crew come do it, but I'm too cheap...

So rather than dish out the cash for that, I enlisted the help of my boys. I carried the bags out to the backyard and opened them up. I grabbed the boys some gloves I had picked up at Home Depot and gave them two sandcastle buckets.

I told them that they could use the dirt to make dirt castles. They complained a little, but when I promised them they could destroy them, they started building immediately. Every once in a while, I had to direct them to the right places to put the dirt, but other than that, after a few hours, I had a mulched backyard. Brilliant!


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Comment by Diane Kuehl on January 24, 2013 at 2:14pm

The only way I've ever gotten my kids to actually rake is to promise them that they can jump in the piles after they're done.

Comment by Penny Roach on January 24, 2013 at 12:43pm

These are great ideas.....I'm in Chicago now so I know what you mean about the hot summers.  We were big fans of sprinklers too!  Any advice on how to get kids to help with raking leaves?

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