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Your adventurous child

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Every child gets cranky, irritable or starts crying when they’re bored. Or is constantly hungry. It’s the same as us, adults, right? 

How many times have you experienced your child’s restlessness when it’s raining outside, and they’re bored with their toys, books and cartoons? I can’t even count the times I’ve been in this situation.

If your child has an adventurous spirit, a homemade treasure hunt is the perfect game for them. All you need is a bit of imagination, a paper and pen (for writing or drawing clues), and of course - the treasure. This precious treasure can be anything, depending on the theme of your treasure hunt – some candy, a coin, a toy your child has been asking for. The possibilities are endless. Treasure hunts have become so popular in the last few years, that you can find so many ideas on the internet – from the inevitable Easter-themed egg hunt, to Christmas, Indiana Jones, and pirate-themed ones. Clues can be written or you can draw them, some sites even offer you ideas about possible treasures. Somehow, anything that comes to mind has already been thought of. So imagination on the part of us, parents, isn’t that crucial. But it will fire your child’s imagination ☺.

What has worked for me is to think broadly and make it super simple. Remember when your child was little and they were surrounded by new toys – stuffed animals, didactic toys, big toys and small ones, colorful and noisy one – what they played with for hours was the box the toy came in, or a water bottle or pots and pans. If a child has an adventurous spirit what this really means is that they are curious about the world around them. Every child is curious, and so they will find new meaning in the things that surround them. Anything can fire their imagination:   

  1. Two chairs and a blanket magically transform into a tent or a cave. When my kids were small, I used to put a flashlight inside their cave so they wouldn’t be afraid of the dark and a pillow to make it more comfortable. I spent hours telling them different tales about why they were in their cave or tent. We played with shadows and they had picnics inside the cave. I like to think this is why now that they are teenagers they love to travel and explore new places. 
  2. My nephew, who’s two-years old, adores water. When I babysit I usually fill the tub with water and we invent different games. We make paper boats, but we also use lids from plastic containers as boats. The boats will float or sink – both options excite him. The worst thing that can happen is that he gets wet and I have to change him.
  3. My daughters were not really interested in cooking when they were little, but my nephew is obsessed with it. He likes the feel of food, the noise of the appliances, the different pots and pans we use when we cook together. He usually helps me by stirring or breaking an egg. But I also give him a cup of flour and some water. The kitchen gets super messy, and so does he, but he couldn’t be happier when he’s making his dough. He especially loves rolling pins, so I help him roll out the dough and we make different shapes with plastic cookie cutters and bake those cookies for his toys. The mess is a small price to pay for the excitement he feels when we do this together. 
  4. I’ve found the globe, especially the rotating one, as a constant source of learning and play. Smaller children love learning what animals live on which continent. These stories can be effectively told by showing them pictures of animals and telling them interesting stories. As kids get older, they like to hear more detailed information, about the people, food, traditions, the history and art of a country. This can then turn into new ways to spend time together – cooking foods from different countries together, going to a museum or gallery. It’s up to you.

Every child is an adventurer because they don’t know what fear is. Fear is something that comes later. It’s up to us as parents to strike the right balance between what is feasible and safe and what is unnecessary during their adventures.

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