As working parents, we all lead busy lives, this often means we are looking to planned activities and technology to constantly entertain our children. Most parents I know are trying to balance the length of time their children spend with technology with the demands of social lives and extra-curricular activities, not to mention sports, school, play dates, appointments etc!
"We have such a brief opportunity to pass on to our children
our love for this earth, and to tell our stories."
Richard Louv, Author of Last Child in the Woods
I often think life was simpler when I was growing up; we played outside all day, there were no iPads or smartphones or constant technological distractions.
Whilst iPads sometimes appear to be an extension of my children’s bodies, my children do love to be outdoors. As they grow older I want to ensure they continue to develop their love of nature and their environment, along with the preservation and appreciation of our planet.
Having recently bought a block of land in the Adelaide Hills I thought to myself, how can I get my children back to nature? How can I engage them with this wonderful space they are going to grow up in? Step 1, extract the iPad from one six-year-old...
To brainstorm the sorts of things I wanted the children to appreciate, I took a stroll around the new block. An old house was removed from the site and what remains on over an acre of the north facing land is an abundance of natural beauty. Beauty that engages all the senses.
Those senses gave me a great idea for the scavenger hunt. I started to compile a list of items I thought the children could collect and sorted it into the senses of touch, see, smell and even taste!
So, the children are given notice, today is the day! It is a beautiful bright and sunny day, and we are all set for some exploring. We have brought in friends who also are keen to scavenge! My youngest wants to wear his cowboy outfit (random), and the dog wants to tag along…
The kids believe everything is a competition! The moment I begin to explain the concept of a scavenger hunt and issue them with a sheet of things to find, they do not wait for instruction. They’re off... each child runs in a different direction. They circle back almost immediately throwing sticks and leaves at me, dry dirt and pointing to trees and birds. Brilliant.
I ask that they slow down, breathe and enjoy the experience, this is not a competition, this is an activity for which there is no prize at the end. ‘No prize?’ they quiver…I explain; ‘The prize is in the exploration and the findings’. Smirk. Blank stares.
The children loved it. Whilst they appeared initially shocked that there was no prize at the end, they did experience some healthy competition to find things first, find the biggest leaves, the tallest tree, the tastiest blackberry. I believe they were all amazed at what they were able to find.
Embracing the environment and taking the time to realise that, really, this is what life is all about: spending time with family and friends, finding joy in nature and realising the wonders that are all around us every day, even in a vacant block of land.
Download our property scavenger hunt checklist to join in on the fun.