Monday, April 23, 2012

10 Days of Pouring into Your Child's Passion: Adventure Boxes

Welcome to 10 Days of Pouring into Your Child's Passion at Blog, She Wrote! Thank you for joining me. Please take a moment to subscribe, so you don't miss out- you can follow, subscribe by email or RSS feed (just look to the right!) and follow Blog, She Wrote on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest. I'd love it if you'd stay connected and visit again!

Today's post is a partial repost of my article on Adventure Boxes which I've mentioned here at Blog, She Wrote on occasion and at Heart of the Matter. Most of the nuts and bolts and how to put one together is the same, but I'm going to put a new spin on using the Adventure Box to explore and develop a child's passion. It's timely that I chose this post for today because I'm going to be speaking to a MOPS group Tuesday morning about Adventure Boxes (I had not connected the two dates in planning this series) and if you live in NY, I'll be speaking on Adventure Boxes at the state LEAH Convention in Rochester, NY on June 2nd. Maybe I'll see you there!

Some of you may have heard of Adventure Boxes. Years ago, an online friend introduced me to them and I was struck with the simplicity of the idea and the anticipation she exuded to share these adventures with her children. I began to think about how we could try out Adventure Boxes in our homeschool. Originally, Adventure Boxes were implemented with summer break in mind, but as time wore on, I realized that we could live the adventure any time throughout the year- not just on summer breaks. Now I know a lot of homeschoolers school year round (here in NY we take advantage of the short season of good weather by taking time off), but adventures are easily adapted to the year round schedule. You can choose an exploration to enjoy during some of the breaks during your year round school schedule.

An Adventure Box is a collection of fun items- crafts, stickers, books of all kinds, and games, etc having to do with a particular theme. What does your child long to know more about? What does he play with all the time? We've done various themes including: pirates, frontier/Little House, explorers, nature, birding, princesses, Redwall, animals, superheroes, to name a few. For more tips, read below!

  • 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 (I'm referring to summer time here). 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 and/or during breaks
  • 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? Make sure it’s easy to access for each child.
  • 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. One idea another homeschooler shared with me is the idea of giving the kids tickets for summer time. 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’d do our own thing (I’d do my work and interests and the kids can play) in the afternoon I’d 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 during any school break.  But I challenge you to think of how you can incorporate some of these adventures throughout our school year- not only when your kids are on break, but as part of their schooling! Adventure Boxes are the perfect way to pour into a passion in a short term fashion. You can replenish the items as your child explores the topic. They are a creative way to give your child some independence as they discover more about what they love. They are especially revealing with younger kids because it gives you the chance to see what they love. For older kids, it's a fun way to get them to dive further into their passion or to uncover new information while still heading to a goal or learning a new skill.

How can you plan to use an Adventure Box to to ignite or further fan the flame of a passion?

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Kerry said...

Great idea. This would go great with our Grace Week where kids get to choose a topic to study.

vicki said...

Career exploration for little ones :)

Good post!

Mary Prather said...

Heather, this is a really good idea. I'm going to try this coming up in the summer. My daughter is very interested in learning about England, so I think I'll put together an Adventure Box about England. I guess the possibilities are really limitless, aren't they?

I'm so enjoying your series!

Krystal said...

Could you put a picture of an adventure box up? what types of things do you put in there? I'm confused :)

Heather said...

Krystal, I'll put up a picture today, but you can visit these links to see more examples as well. Over the next several weeks I'll be posting on individual ideas and that will probably be helpful too!