Summer break is just a few weeks away for us and I’m busy planning! Even though we don’t do regular school things over the summer, I try to sneak some educational things in here and there. One way I do this is with Adventure Boxes.
What is an Adventure Box? To start with, it doesn’t actually have to be a box. It’s just a collection of books, toys, games, and other resources all on the same topic. We’ve done dinosaurs, birds, Egypt, and mysteries in the past. Through out the summer we learn about the topic, though it’s often disguised as having fun.
How do you choose a topic? If your child is young, you may want to choose a topic for them. Think about events that may be taking place over the summer. The first adventure box we did was on dinosaurs and my son, who was four at the time, was going to be going to dinosaur camp at the Sam Noble Museum that summer. We had a box on ancient Egypt a couple of years later when Philbrook had a huge Egyptian exhibit. A special event or field trip is so much fun!
This year my daughter, who will be turning three, is going to have an ABC box to help her learn her letters. If your child is older, ask them what they would like to learn about. My son came up with last year’s idea of a mystery box. The possibilities are endless! I’ve started a Pinterest board of different boxes I’ve seen and I’m always looking for more ideas.
Does everyone get their own box, or do you have one for the whole family? You may get tired of me saying this, but that’s completely up to you! In the past we have just had one because my daughter was so small. Now that she’s getting older, though, I know she would like one, so this summer each child will have a separate box.
In the future, I am thinking that there are several summers we might have a shared box. I think my daughter is too young to really enjoy it this summer, but when the next Summer Olympics roll around, I am planning on an Olympics box with activities for both kids. Cooking, Medieval times, nature, and art would all be great ideas for multiple ages. A group box would cut down on the time and money spent on the box, so that is something to consider as well.
What kinds of containers can you use? A container can be absolutely anything. I like to keep the items in one place because it makes it easy for the kids to clean up and easy to store. As I said before, I’ve usually used boxes, though when we studied birds, I used a nesty-looking basket. You could use a backpack, a drawstring bag, a tackle box, or anything else that you like. Just make sure it will hold the supplies you want and be easily transportable if necessary. If you want to make it fancy, that’s great, but it’s not necessary!
What do you put in the box? Anything you’d like! I always include books—fiction and nonfiction if I can find them. Craft books or kits are fun, and I usually try to find at least one game or toy. Stickers, puppets, felt board sets, and costumes are just a few other items I’ve gotten before. Keep an eye out on Pinterest and blogs and you will find more wonderful ideas than you’ll be able to use!
How often do you put things in the box? I usually try to put in one item each week or do one activity each week. I’ve found that it’s helpful to designate a certain day of the week so it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle. Really, though, there’s no right or wrong answer. If you have lots of things or events, it’s fine to do something every day if that works for you. My kids do have access to the box all the time, though, even if there isn’t anything new in it.
Are these just for the summer? That’s when we use them, but they could be used at any point in the year. An Adventure Box is just a way of bringing some novelty to a subject, and I’ve found that setting a topic apart in a special way can make me more likely to make sure it gets done. We added artist studies this year, for instance, and we learn about the artist each week when we have a special tea time. Because it’s special, my son looks forward to it and I work to fit it in. This is something that could easily be done as an Art Adventure Box, though. You kids know that when the box comes out, they’re going to have a good time.
I hope you’ve got some ideas now about how to combat summer boredom and keep your kids learning. Now it’s time to start making your plans!
Find more from Jennifer at Jen’s Little Things.