Fostering a spirit of adventure and discovery can lead kids out the front door and into the world around them. For some, the natural world is a foreign land, an unknown and intimidating place. This week a friend of mine stumbled upon a nest of snapping turtles emerging from their underground nest for the first time.
Out of the dark and into the tall grass and bright sun. A place where everybody should spend more time. So, we nurture curiosity and encourage discovery, and for many, we begin at the beginning. We try new things, we shake things up, and we start to develop that spirit of adventure.
For some kids, an adventure is trying a new food. This week’s mystery vegetable was described as “smelling like dirt” and “weird.”
Guesses included turnips and radishes, and indeed they were a type of radish: watermelon radishes.
These little slices looked sweet but they were hot stuff. About half the class was brave enough to try them. The races for water bottles and exaggerated cries of spicy discomfort were a fun diversion for a Friday afternoon, and in fact encouraged a few more classmates to take the risk and see what the fuss was all about.
September 19th was International Talk Like a Pirate Day, and while pirates may have been opportunistic scoundrels, there’s no denying that for them every day at sea was an adventure. Our new principal was excited to celebrate this day, so our school was festooned with Jolly Rogers and filled with teachers and students dressed in pirate garb and telling pirate jokes (What did the pirate pay for his peg leg and shiny hook? An arm and a leg.). My team decided to make the most of the day. We planned and set up a Treasure Hunt around our school and school grounds.
Our kids learned interesting facts about pirates, solved riddles that led students into parts of our building they had not ventured to (or paid attention to!) before, and ended up in our outdoor learning space eating popsicles and reading How I Became a Pirate, by Melinda Long and illustrated by David Shannon.
We ended the day designing pirate ships out of aluminum foil, with the goal of finding how much treasure our ships could hold. In the spirit of scientific discovery we learned from our mistakes and our successes by creating and testing multiple designs!
An adventure doesn’t have to be an extreme journey or activity. It can be as simple as trying a new food, going on a treasure hunt, or emerging into the tall grass and bright sun for the first time. Discovery happens and curiosity is born when we are presented with new ideas and experiences. Let’s get out and explore!