Things To Do Before Your Child Turns Eleven

The environment must be rich in motives which lend interest to activity and invite the child to conduct his own experiences.

 ~ Maria Montessori

 

Do you think that your children are connected to nature? Do you remember the activities from your own childhood that bring up a sense of great joy? Have your kids become sofa-bound? Would you like to encourage more activity in them?

 

Turn Off the Electronics!

 

It’s time to have some fun outside with your kids!  Childcare has changed in the past sixty years from children clustered around their Super Mom’s ankles, talking, playing with pots and pans or interacting with their siblings in the kitchen while she cooks, to children staring quietly at some electronic device – a TV, an iPod, a tablet or a computer – lost in their own worlds.

 

I do not advocate not using electronic devices. They have their value.  But I believe we are missing the boat if we don’t encourage our children to turn them off, go outside, and indulge in old-fashioned things.  These are the things that feed kids’ souls!

 

Things Like What?

 

Improve their connection to nature and wildlife.  Some of my happiest childhood memories involve cloud watching on my back on the lawn of my parent’s back yard, with the birds flying overhead, and my dog bouncing across me wanting to play.

 

Encourage your kids to spend time watching ants in their stately march, and be sure to tell them the story of the ant and the grasshopper!

 

Let them learn – on their own, please – how to climb a tree; how to skim stones across a pond; how to make a bow and arrow from tree branches; how to grow food in a garden; how to make compost; how to roll down a sloping hill sideways and laugh as you once did with the dizziness of it.

 

Have you Super Moms ever played in the rain? Let your kids run and dance in the rain, and do it with them because the delight of your own childhood experiences will come right back to you and the bonding is eternal and joyful.  Learn how to make a kite from newspaper and sticks and string and rags for the bows on the tail.  And then, learn how to make it fly! If you kids haven’t done these simple activities, you’ve got a bucket list of things to do every weekend for the next year!

 

Take one day to find a you-pick-it fruit orchard and let your kids experience the joy of eating fruit right off the tree.  And then, go home with the fruit you picked and bake something together, TV off while you work together.  There is nothing quite as exhilarating for a child as dedicated time with his Super Mom when he is her only focus.

 

How about fishing? Have you taken your child fishing? I know a woman who’s dad used to drive off into the mountains, find a stream where he could wash his car while she fished along side him. Joyous events build joyous memories.  She talks about the sunlight dappling through the trees on those days as if it was a divine visitation. Perhaps it was.

 

Giving a Bit of Credit

 

The list of 50 Things to basically get your child off the couch came from the National Trust in the UK and we salute them. These are fabulous suggestions!

 

Here are some more things on their list, and I hope you become inspired to do every one of them.  By the time your child is eleven, you Super Moms surely realize you don’t have much of his childhood left.  He’ll be moving into young adulthood very soon, and will prefer to spend more time away from you, so why not decide to fill up what does remain with the juiciest memories you can?

 

  • Hunt for treasure at the beach
  • Build a fort
  • Make mud pies from a stream you’ve dammed up
  • Bury someone in the sand – or better yet, get buried
  • Balance on a fallen log
  • Hike along nature trails
  • Swing on a rope swing out over a stream or pond
  • Go berry picking in the wild
  • Explore an island
  • Look inside a tree
  • Watch the sun come up and set on the same day
  • Hunt for fossils or bones
  • Plant a garden
  • Feed a bird from your hand
  • Stand in the wind at the edge of a hill
  • Make a grass trumpet
  • Make a crown or bracelet from clover
  • Catch a butterfly in a net
  • Look at tadpoles in a creek
  • Imitate bird whistles
  • Light a fire without matches
  • Go rafting down a creek
  • Try rock climbing
  • Navigate your way out of the woods with a compass
  • Try rope climbing
  • Cook over a campfire
  • Howl with the coyotes

 

Encouraging activity in children while they are still young is so beneficial, Super Moms, and it’s wonderful for you to do these activities along with your children.  It’s a time of fun, of love, of bonding, and of happy memories.  You might let them choose which activity they’d like to do next as a reward for a week well lived. I just know you’ll love these ideas and will get out there and have some fun with your kids.

 

"See the world. It's more fantastic that any dream paid for or made in factories." - Ray Bradbury, American novelist

 

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