This winter season we have been cooped up inside for long stretches, and we often play scavenger hunts to occupy our time and busy our imaginations. Children love to hunt for things; Especially hunts that involve treasure. Sometimes we create maps of the rooms in our house and I hide a beanbag or wooden coin in the “X marks the spot”. They have to read the map in order to find the treasure. This game lends itself to lessons in perspective-taking, juxtaposition, movement and problem-solving. I love how enthusiastically they are on the prowl, dressed like pirates with toilet-paper-tube looking glasses in search of their bounty. But when the weather warms and we begin to bring our adventures outside, magic happens….
Spring is near. I can feel it. The birds are singing, the bees are buzzing, and the smell of rain and earth fills the air. I am just as antsy to head outdoors as my little explorers. I love investigating nature’s perfect little details in a whimsical game of find and seek. My children are drawn to nature. They are curious about their surroundings and soothed by the breeze all at the same time. They are filled with energy and yet a sense of peace and stillness simultaneously. My children were the inventor’s of this game. “Mama May I Explore?” They would ask – in search of treasure on our outings, walks, rides, scoots, and strolls. Their eyes open wide, they were enthusiastic to find bits of nature to magnify, investigate, collect, touch, and draw. I wanted to nurture their innate curiosity while fueling their inquisitive nature with numbers, sights, and vocabulary they were at first unfamiliar with.
Can you find 6 smooth stones?
Can you find a tree branch in the shape of a Y?
Can you find a cozy place an animal might call home?
Mama May I Explore was born in these playful conversations. I drew little pictographs for my pre-reader and added words for my emerging-reader and we would gather our thoughts and treasures on our leisure strolls. Their discoveries never cease to amaze and inspire me. Little learners, completely immersed in their exploration, they become little teachers, reminding me to slow down and breathe and open my eyes a little wider. I am pulled into the innocence of discovery, of seeing the world anew with each and every adventure.
Teaching and learning, side by side are some of the fondest memories I have of my childhood and I hope my children will look back on our excursions together with the same gratitude.
Grab a sketchbook, a pen, and bring your imagination for a walk. See what can be seen. Smell what can be smelled. Observe our natural world through the eyes of your budding scientist. Enjoy the company… and the memories childhood are made of.
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Mama May I Explore? Why, yes… Most definitely!
Eye-Spy with My Little Eye… is a game I often go to when we are out and about and I need some cooperation. There is something magical about surprises…about finding things you weren’t expecting… about seeing the world, actually seeing the world, when you look out upon it. There is something enchanting about taking notice of things – the big and the small – life’s little details. Boring be the walk without conversation, investigation, or play. My little explorer loves findings things. She loves to discover new sights, sounds… and to collect little treasures from our journeys.
Give your little adventurer the satisfaction of play with purpose in this magical exploration – a traditional game – a scavenger hunt – with some hidden learning built in. Enjoy the journey as a single, a duo, or group – taking in sights and sounds and searching for the magic of everyday things – “hidden” in plain sight.
The Set You Get:
13 Wooden Scavenger hunt cards (for a total of 25 “Things to Find”) created by me
Moleskine journal to jot down your adventures / draw the things you can’t collect
Mini pen for such doodles
Muslin pouch for easy toting and treasure collecting
Though anyone is welcome to participate in this magical find-me game, I have found 4 to be the perfect age for actually getting excited to play the “game” – trying to find the things on the cards; collecting treasures; drawing findings; and investigating our surroundings. Played as a group, however, this makes the perfect something for family fun night – walks… talks… and exploration, because you can play at any age or skill level.
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