Thursday, August 19

Treasure Hunt

Treasure hunts are one of my favorite kid memories. I can't say I went on many planned treasure hunts, but I do recall many many hours of hunting in the backyard and neighborhood for some kind of unique find.

I was trying to think of a fun activity to get the kids outside a bit more in these last days before school starts. The good old treasure hunt came to mind and I wanted to share with you a couple of ideas you might want to use with your own kids in the waning days of summer.

For the younger kids: Give them a list of finds and tell them to go out in the backyard to find their treasures. When they have completed the list offer a little reward. Here are some simple treasures most everyone has in their backyards.
1. needle from a pine tree
2. pedal from a flower
3. a small rock
4. the longest piece of grass they can find
5. a bug
6. a piece of mulch
7. a toy they left out
8. something that a bug might eat

and some ideas that take a bit more work but are well worth it
9. 10 plastic easter eggs filled with little trinkets around the house
(this is great for more than just Easter!)
10. bury a few little trinkets (army men, marbles or some such thing)
and put little toothpicks with flags on top of them

For the bigger kids the ideas get a little more sophisticated and the backyard then becomes the entire neighborhood (or a nearby park). They might need to refer to an encyclopedia or the internet to find some of these.:
1. pedal from a black eyed susan flower
2. leaf from an oak tree
3. a part of a coniferous tree
4. a worm
5. a pill bug
6. a seed or a seed pod
7. moss
8. a piece of litter

and these require a little more work on your part:
9. bury a few treasures in the garden with a rock or toothpick on top
10. hand your child a camera and add these to the list.. a picture of.... a birds
nest, an animal with 4 legs, a frog or toad, animal tracks

Monday, August 16

Free Range Kids

I came across this website and found the concept/movement interesting and a bit inspiring. In summary, this is about letting our kids learn on their own by giving them freedom. Perhaps as parents we have gotten so overprotective that we are in fact limiting our kids abilities to learn by doing, to learn from their mistakes.

I noticed in my own neighborhood differing ideas of allowed freedoms for kids. I am not talking here about the freedom to watch TV and play video games. In our own house those are freedoms earned, and sparingly. Rather I am referring to the freedom of kids to ride down the street unsupervised, or even to the next neighborhood. I have to admit I am on the more liberal side in this subject. I remember my own childhood days where I roamed the neighborhood from sunup to sundown, back in the fields, in the woods, up at the lake, riding my bike (on a very busy street). I will admit that it sends chills up my bones at the thought of my kids (at 10 and 13) to ride up the busy street that I was allowed to at that age. However, in my defense the street I am referring to has gotten much busier. I have, however, let my kids ride up a very busy street... that has a sidewalk. Safety is of grave importance of course, but freedom is important too. I am giving my kids freedom to learn, play, and explore the world around them. YES they have to let me know where they are and where they are going, but I am not necessarily going to look over their shoulders every minute.

Read through this website a bit and me what your thoughts are. Should we give our kids more freedom or not???