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10 Simple Things Every Kid Should Experience Before 10

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10 things every kid should do before age 10

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how different Harry’s childhood is from my own.  He’s growing up in an era with a vastly different set of opportunities, push-button options and searchable terms.  Most of this is mostly good, but I’m always looking for “analog-age” ways to keep his imagination expanding offline like ours so easily did back in the day.

Because back in the day, I grew up relatively unfettered … especially compared to the super-monitored world our kids live in today. My parents were strong believers in the Nurturant Parent Model - a belief that children inherently know what they need and should be allowed to explore. Of course, this was way easier to facilitate in the 70s and 80s than it is now. When we were growing up, all kids and dogs were expected to be out, about, and not underfoot from sunrise to sunset. Now, if I’m honest, I feel a little off if my son is our own backyard for over five minutes by himself. Oh my has the pendulum swung, and I think a lot has been lost in the swing of things.

So I’d like to move a bit more to the middle this year. We’re set to do more exploring, more experiencing, and we’ve already started to check some off the list.

For starters, here are a few experiences that I think every kid should enjoy in their first decade.

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  • 1. Balance Something On Your Nose 1 of 11
    1. Balance Something On Your Nose
    Or if you can't do that (and I can't) balance something on your head. Or stand on your hands. Or do some kind of cool trick. Every kid should have a cool trick.
  • 2. Cut Open a Tube of Aquafresh 2 of 11
    2. Cut Open a Tube of Aquafresh
    In the early 80's, I remember being fascinated by the miracle of "triple-protection" colors coming out of the toothpaste tube. I also remember having the urge to pull all the dental floss out of the dispenser and every Kleenex out of the box just to see how many they had fit inside. Curiosity atrophies if it isn't stretched, so if a kid is curious about simple things, let him make a little mess. Image source.
  • 3. Wear a Costume Around Town for No Reason 3 of 11
    3. Wear a Costume Around Town for No Reason
    This creative act of non-conformity is essentially self-explanatory. I think this practice should also be carried on into adulthood. I really do.
  • 4. Ride a Horse 4 of 11
    4. Ride a Horse
    Even if you can't have a horse in your back yard, a kid should know what it's like to work together with a big, smart animal … even if it's just to mosey down the trail. You tug the reigns left, AND HE UNDERSTANDS! Amazing and wonderful, and I would like Harry to daydream about that kind of experience in between adventures with the Mario Bros. Image source.
  • 5. Swim in the Ocean 5 of 11
    5. Swim in the Ocean
    Those of us who have been to the beach many times can forget the magic of seeing the ocean for the first time the majesty of the big blue horizon or the surprise of waves splashing on our feet in the sand. So much of poetry and literature refers to the sea kids should be able to close their eyes and smell the salty air and hear the rolling waves when they read about it.
  • 6. Make a Family Tree 6 of 11
    6. Make a Family Tree
    We should know where we come from and how we're connected to the world. It's good to feel like you have people.
  • 7. Write a Poem 7 of 11
    7. Write a Poem
    It's cool to see where a brain will go. And every child should feel the power of creativity.
  • 8. Try a Sport 8 of 11
    8. Try a Sport
    Team sport. Individual sport. Tetherball. Pogo sticking. Whatever. It's nice to know what you're capable of doing.
  • 9. Build a Hay Fort 9 of 11
    9. Build a Hay Fort
    Building a fort can be deeply fulfilling constructing something big where you can play and let your imagination run wild. Hay bales are a great format because you can build something substantial without power tools or nails. Gloves and a friend to help lift heavy bales are essential for a younger-than-ten-year-old. If you don't have any hay handy, don't worry, try this next item ... Image source.
  • 9b. Or…Build a Living Room Fort 10 of 11
    9b. Or...Build a Living Room Fort
    Can't find any hay? No worries. Boxes are great. Giant pillows in the living room. Random yard items in the park. Whatever. Just build a fort.
  • 10. Grow Something 11 of 11
    10. Grow Something
    It's good to see something grow from a small seed. And it's good to know you can keep something alive and maybe even nurture. That's powerful stuff.
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