So not only do I have a pretty dang sweet job [where I get to play with lego and plan gym games], I also do super-fun stuff at school [kinesiology — the program where you play in the gym, talk about food and watch a fair amount of YouTube.  Oh yeah, and help learn how to teach people to change themselves so that they can in turn do the same for others.  Nothing better.]

And really, it’s not every day where your prof ends class telling you “Go play in leaves!”

. . . I take these things literally.  And tell my friends that my homework is to play in leaves.

And they believe me.  Okay, it wasn’t ACTUAL homework, but I determined I’m going to someday become a grad student and write a thesis entitled “Playing in leaves: social, emotional and physiological benefits”.  That’s legit, right?  I guess up here in the frozen north, I’d have to have a second study about the effects of playing in snow, too.


In preparation for said thesis, I asked Donald and Mike to rank how they were feeling prior to playing in leaves on a scale of one to ten, ten being the happiest ever.  Mike declined to answer and Donald gave a seven, which decreased to five once we saw a Lost Cat sign, then increased back to seven once the role of exercise in the cat’s lostness was discussed and it was determined that the lost cat was getting a lot of exercise.

Evidently, I do very scientific studies.  The initial scale test was performed while seeking out leaves but before arriving at the study site, which the participants than prepared:


Yes, we did walk there with a rake.  Awesomeness ensued, including Donald skipping.  Happiness scale should have been repeated for validity.


pushed in leaves :]

Donald then said “Give me your camera”, which I surrendered to him, then he pushed me in the leaves.

After leaves were dragged across the park and put into a pile, participants fell/jumped into the leaves.  One participant also lost his sunglasses, which were not found.  This did not alter happiness that playing in leaves had created.

The scale test was repeated after playing in leaves, and both participants answered 10 out of 10.

lovelies! <3

After which the participants meandered home singing the Bananas in Pyjamas theme song in accents.  Because nothing says happy like singing theme songs to ’90s kids shows in accents, walking home with a rake and making London Fogs.


While further research needs to be conducted, validity of this study is greater than that of the Wakefield “study”.  Participants not only ranked happiness higher upon questioning, but also appeared more happy.  Based on primary research, it can be determined that playing in leaves can have positive effect socially, emotionally and physiologically.  Further studies will be modified to include more rakes, more participants and more leaves.

4 thoughts on “playing in leaves : a case study

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