The Falling Leaves Challenge

Ahh, the joys of fall.  The air is crisp, the days are shorter, and the leaves on the trees begin to change into vibrant colors.  The idyllic outdoors has been the scene for a game that I play with my running friends each year.  Yes, as a responsible adult I play a surprisingly fun game with the group of friends I run with called the Falling Leaves Challenge.

The idea of the game is simple – catch a leaf as it falls from a tree while you are moving.  A leaf that hits you while standing still does not count; you need to be in motion during the catch.  It sounds very easy to do on paper but in reality it is quite hard.  I run outdoors an average of 4 days a week and have done so for the past two years that I’ve participated in this challenge.  Over the two years, I’ve only caught two leaves.

My 8 year old daughter rides her bike along with me on some of my runs.  We talk about a lot of things during this time and I explained to her the falling leaves challenge as we traveled the Newberry Trail along the river.  She watched me try (and fail) to catch many leaves along the trail.  As soon as we got home she dropped her bike off and begged to give the whole leaf catching game a try.  We raced for a long time up and down our street under the trees that line the sidewalk and tried mightily to catch a leaf.  While we weren’t successful, the pure joy on her face as we tried to catch leaves together made my heart smile.

I invite you and your children to participate in your own Falling Leaves Challenge.  Get outside before the days grow too short and try to catch some leaves.  We are lucky to live in a beautiful area full of parks and trails and back yards with leaves a plenty.  I hope that your family finds our simple game as fun as we do!