Children are often innately fascinated with history – and they love the concept of a place being discovered for the ‘first time’; not something that happens much now.
The theme work provided in our current Brilliant Boxes (Level 3-Level 6) is all about Australian history, so we thought it might be fun to provide a few extra activities to inspire the explorer inside our little ones.
Most $2 shops sell blank jigsaw templates; purchase one and write a message across all the pieces. Then cut them out and hide them around your house/yard. As you hide them, make a note for yourself as to their positions – you don’t want to forget where they are! When they have all been hidden, draw a map of the house/yard for your children to follow, with numbered markers written on the map in the places where they jigsaw pieces are hidden. They must then follow the map and recover all the pieces. When they have them all, they can build the jigsaw and read the message. Some fun message ideas might be:
“Exploring is thirsty work; there’s chocolate milk in the fridge!”
“Time to get changed, we’re off to the movies!”
“What do you feel like for dinner tonight? The choice is yours!”
“Family Game Night tonight! What should we play?”
It’s All in the Detail
With this activity, again your children will be searching the house/yard, but this time they must use photo clues. First, take some very close-up photos of places in your house/yard. You might photograph the leg of the armchair, the edge of the television or the handle of the kettle. Next, print off the photos and write numbers on the back of each. Give the photos and a recording sheet to your children. The recording sheet needs to have the numbers fn the photos next to a blank line for them to write the location of each. Your children need to take the photos with them as they explore the house/yard and try to match the photo to its object. When they think they have found a match, they write it on the recording sheet. When their recording sheet is all filled in, they bring it to you for correction. You might want to have a score range system for rewards, something like:
Score 0-5: The kids have to tidy their room.
Score 6-10: The kids help cook dinner.
Score 11-15: You go out for ice-cream.
Score 16-20: Sunday Funday – the children plan an activity for the family.
Back Seat Driver
Give your children a go at ‘being in the driver’s seat’ – figuratively speaking, of course! Plan a trip to a local destination: a park, a shopping centre, Grandma’s house etc. and print off a map showing both your house and the destination. Have your children study the map before you leave and give them a highlighter to trace the path they wish you to take. Then, when you get in the car, it’s their job to tell you which roads to go on and which turns to take. Make sure you leave with plenty of time up your sleeve, so you don’t get stressed about wrong turns!!
If your children are anything like mine, they love preparing treats for their parents. The ‘treats’ are not always exactly what we’re after (think chocolate syrup in a glass of water or plain, dry toast) but the thought is what counts, right?? Anyway, similar to the Puzzle Map in Activity 1, have the children prepare a treasure map for you. They need to draw a map of the house/yard and hide clues or items along the way. Have them mark the places where they’ve hidden things, on the map and then give it to you. When you find all the clues/items, you then get the treat they’ve planned – don’t forget to paste on your biggest smile!
A Whole New World
Have your children imagine they have just discovered a whole new world, or country. Amazingly, no one ever knew this place existed until your children went exploring and stumbled across it. Now, give them an empty box and ask them to create a diorama of the new world. What sort of terrain does it have? Is there life in this world? What is it? They can be as creative and imaginative as they like. They might even like to make notes about the history of the inhabitants (if there are any), the language spoken, the developments in buildings, currency etc. You could give them some direction, in the form of questions they need to answer, or you could leave it entirely up to them. When they are finished, have them present their whole new world to you, reminding them, they have naming rights!
We would love to hear how your children go with their Little Explorer activities, so please share their fun and successes with us: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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