Sunday, May 31, 2009

Adventure Boxes Part 1

The other night I had a chance to speak to my MOPS group about Adventure Boxes. I was delighted to get the chance to share the idea of embarking on a summer Adventure with your children in hopes of discovering new things and being creative- together. As promised, I thought I'd share the general ideas here and I'll be creating a new side bar category on Adventure Boxes so that you can get even more ideas on possible family adventures. Adventure Boxes lend themselves to being organized in the Workboxes easily, so for all you Workbox fans out there, keep in mind how you might break down the elements of your Adventure into the Workbox. New to Workboxes? Just click on one of those hyperlinks to check them out. You can read more about how I use workboxes and why I like them at Heart of the Matter. Did I ever mention my excitement over writing an article for them? It was fantastic. I hope I get the opportunity to do it again!

The Adventure Box Display 1- art, nature, princess, Little House, sign language, and gardening

Adventure Box Ideas 2- sewing, trains, preschool, math, American Girl, and The Dangerous Book for Boys

Adventure Boxes- for the past three years we’ve embarked on summer adventures with each child. Each child gets to help choose an area of interest to pursue for the summer. I load a box full of books, crafts, activities that allow the child to make new discoveries all summer long.

Benefits:

· Great for accommodating the interests of your individual children. Indulge them in what they want to hear more about!

· Fun way to practice skills during the summer- anything from reading to writing to building or problem solving

· Easy to adjust to your family and lifestyle- one mom I know is doing marine biology with her high schooler, easy to implement whether you work or are at home all day, etc

· Kids like the structure of having adventure time each day. You can structure it any way you like all at the same time or whenever they want to sit and do.

· Cuts down on the “I’m Bored!” complaints

· Allows you to connect with your kids throughout the summer

· Allows you and your kids to be creative

· Works with all ages from high schoolers down to toddlers and babies

· If you’d rather do a together adventure you can do that too (family adventure)

How Do I Do It?

· Start conferencing with your kids about what they’d like for an adventure. You can always pick for them, but in general there is more success when you bring them to the table to let them be involved.

· Choose items for the adventure box theme- could be coloring books/pages, craft kits, stickers, books, games, fiction story, reference books, movie, journal for them to write in, general craft materials, etc. Start collecting them now. Keep in mind any skills that need attention and choose accordingly.

· Decide how you will keep the adventure box materials. Box? File Box? Shelf?

· Decide when you will embark on your adventures each day. Will you do it all at the same time together? Little ones in the morning and older ones during nap time in the afternoon?

· How independent do you want it to be? I suggest a combination of activities to encourage independence, but then it still allows you to be engaged with your child. This year I’m giving the kids tickets. Each child can only turn in two tickets per day and never two days in a row for any one child. In the morning we’ll do our own thing (I can do my work and interests and the kids can play) in the afternoon I’ll be available from 1 to 4 to help the kids on their adventures.

· How many items go into the box? You can choose to put a few in at a time or put it all in there 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. They can bring you the coupon to get the item (a game, map, etc.)

Adventure Boxes are a great way to keep things moving over the summer. I had the chance to ask the FIAR friend (Hi Ging!) who first shared this idea with us (three years ago or so) over on the Five in a Row (FIAR) message boards what she was up to this summer with her kids. I was excited to learn about this year's adventures and her super idea for using tickets with her kids. It occured to me while chatting with her that waiting until the summer to have such adventures is perhaps a silly idea. I'm going to put some thought into how we can incorporate some of these type adventures throughout our school year. As our official year ended this week, I'm starting to really think on how to reorganize our school calendar. That along with Living Math and using Adventures during our year will give me plenty to think about and plenty to blog about over the next few weeks! Oh and of course I will blog in more detail about this year's summer Adventure Box.

6 comments:

Shonda said...

Inspiring, Heather! I loved your article, too!

Jenny L. said...

Genius idea! I want an Adventure box for me too. :) Thanks for posting about this, off to read your article.

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