For the past three years we've embarked on seasonal adventures with our children. Each child gets to help choose an area of interest to pursue, and I load a box full of books, crafts, and activities that allow the child to make new discoveries all season long. Adventure boxes can be used for field trips, vacations, nature walks, and science unit studies revolving around such topics as rocks, weather, or trees. We've also used adventure boxes to study artists and composers, living math, and nutrition.
Adventure boxes provide many benefits. You'll discover that they
- Are great for accommodating individual interests. Indulge your children in what they want to learn more about!
- Offer a fun way to practice skills during any season—reading, writing, building, or problem solving.
- Adjust easily to your family and lifestyle. For example, one mom I know is doing marine biology with her high schooler. Adventure boxes are easy to implement whether you work outside the home or are there all day.
- Satisfy kids who like the structure of having adventure time each day. You can structure adventure-box time any way you like: always at the same time of day or whenever your children want to sit and explore.
- Cut down on "I'm bored!" complaints.
- Allow you to connect with your kids throughout the year.
- Let you and your kids be creative.
- Work with all ages—from high schoolers to toddlers and babies.
- Are flexible, if you'd rather do a "together adventure" with the whole family.
How do I successfully create an adventure box?
- Start conferencing with your kids about what kind of adventure they'd like. You can always pick for them, but in general, there's more success when you bring children to the table to let them be involved.
- Choose items for the adventure-box theme. You could select coloring books or pages, craft kits, stickers, books, games, fiction stories, reference books, movies, journals for them to write in, general craft materials, and more. Start collecting the items now. Keep in mind any skills that need attention, and choose accordingly.
- Decide how you'll keep the adventure-box materials. In a box? In a file box? On a shelf? Make sure it's easy to access for each child.
- Decide when you'll embark on your adventures each day. Will you do them all at the same time with everyone together? Or perhaps your little ones will enjoy their boxes in the morning, and your older ones will explore during the younger ones' nap time in the afternoon?
- How many items go into the box? You can choose to put a few in at a time or put everything in at once so the child can explore. You can mark the items that require help from mom so they can see how they need to spread things out according to the tickets, or however you decide to set it up. I hold some things back as surprises along the way. For items too large, you can put in a coupon instead. Your child can bring you the coupon to get the item (a game or map, for example).
Now you have all the tools to get started on an adventure!
Heather Woodie is a homeschooling mom of four kids, and she's the wife of a chemical engineer. Before rearing a family, she taught middle school science. Between family and homeschooling time, Heather is working for MOPS International as an area coordinator. You can read about her homeschooling adventures at Blog She Wrote.
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