Spring is here, and I am so ready to be out of the house, and having some adventures with my family! And by “adventure”, I don’t mean an expensive get-away that calls for shelling out lots of money that can’t buy those special moments, anyway. I mean creative, fun, family (and wallet) friendly ideas.
My name is April Starr, and I decided to challenge myself to think of a new adventure to do with my family every week, and share the ideas I came up with online!
But what would an “adventure” actually be? Here are the rules I gave myself for the challenge. An “adventure” must:
- be a non-typical activity (in other words, not something we would regularly do, like going to the park or library)
- be OUT of the house (but doesn’t necessarily have to be outdoors)
- be an enjoyable activity (but doesn’t have to be entertainment driven)
- not cost more than $15 (including gas to get there)
- teach something valuable (even if it’s as simple as the joy of family time)
And so now that you know the basis for my Adventure-a-Week Challenge, here is the adventure for week 1:
A Pirated Themed Nature Scavenger Hunt!
When I first mentioned to my four year old daughter that we were going to have an adventure a week, she was thrilled. I told her we might do a nature scavenger hunt, and she said, “Ooooh, how about a pirate nature hunt?” A pirate hunt? I wasn’t sure how we could do that, so I told her that it would probably wouldn’t be about pirates, and that was fine with her.
But the idea of a nature scavenger hunt with a pirate theme stuck with me. So I put my pen to work and illustrated this “treasure map” with various items we could find in the woods that look like (and we could pretend are) pirate gear or pirate treasure. She was so excited! The whole time we were getting ready to go, she kept saying “Arrrrrgh!” to everything.
The “pirate gear” items to find are:
- a sword (a stick with a “handle”)
- an eye patch (a round leaf which you attach to ribbon – just make sure its not poison ivy!)
-a pirate’s hook (a curved stick)
And the “pirate treasure” items are:
-jewels (rocks and pebbles)
-gold doubloons (acorn caps)
-pearls (berries – make sure they don’t eat them!)
And then, at the end you keep the pirate gear, but find a good place to “bury” the treasures – in a log, a hollow tree stump, etc. Of course, X marks the spot, so you use two sticks to make an X over the place they are buried.
For the adventure, I recommend taking the following items, including my printable
(I’ll include a link at the end of the post on where you can get it)…
- A basket or something to carry the things your kids find on the scavenger hunt
- A camera to catch their expressions when they find their treasures
-The treasure map printed out
-A pen or marker so they can check off the “Aye!” boxes next to each item they find – and I would recommend something to write down funny things the kids say. I wish I had done this – I ended up scribbling down some precious quotes afterwards on a napkin, but I know there are some that I missed.
-Pieces of ribbons to tie onto the leaf and make an eye patch
One other option in getting ready to go is a costume. My little one want to be dressed as a pirate to go find her pirate treasures, naturally. Simple pirate costume: adult white button up shirt, a scarf around the waist, and a scarf around the head. It was a gorgeous day, and there were quite a few people out and about at the state park we went to, and she definitely got lots of smiles as she went traipsing through the forest paths in her pirate get up.
This activity can be a great way to encourage kids in imaginative play. One of my favorite quotes of the day was when my 4 year old looked down at the gravel and said, “Oh no! I think I stepped on some jewels!”
All in all, we had a great time, and I thought this might be a fun activity for other families of small kids, so I wanted to make the printable map available for anyone to print and go on a swashbuckling nature adventure of their own. You can get this download link here on my blog.
Arrgh, have fun, ye landlubbers!
You can visit my blog, TheFlourishingAbode for more fun ideas!