Things to Read & Do - How to Be an Explorer of the World


We only live a few blocks from the girls' preschool so in fall and summer we often walk to school. The kids and I used to look forward to checking out the gargoyle statues along the way, hiding in bushes, and/ or finding new flowers. But this year we've all lost some of our enthusiasm, as summarized by F, "it's just SO BORING. I've seen everything about a hundred times, wait, what's more than a hundred? Is a billion more? Then I've seen everything a billion times." And I have to agree, after three years, the walk bores all of us. Luckily, a few weeks ago, I bought Keri Smith's book:

How to Be an Explorer of the World: Portable Life Museum

I originally purchased it for myself to help with creativity and inspire new ways of thinking and I've enjoyed using it for these purposes. But it also has become a GREAT book for activities to do with children. The book contains 59 numbered explorations most of which are incredibly simple and all of which inspire you to look at the world through a slightly new perspective. For example, "study and document shapes made by water" (exploration #25) or "write down (or document) fifty things about . . . a trip to the grocery store" (exploration #12). If some of these activities seem silly, well, that's the point.

So back to our walk to school, I figured I'd start simple with exploration #8, "map out pavement cracks in your neighborhood." As we walked to school, we tried to "discover" all the cracks and P had a great time - she found cracks in brick walls, in the road (there are LOTS of cracks in our road), throughout the sidewalk, in corners of driveways. I know it sounds bizarre, but P LOVED this experiment. And it really is quite amazing how many cracks there are if you just take the time to notice them. We found one with a pink paperclip stuck in it and the girls were ecstatic. And a crack in the wall had a "gemstone" in it (pictured above) - how fun is that?

Based on the success of exploration #8, I tried a new "exploration" with the girls, this time we "collect[ed] multiples of one thing [in our case leaves]." (Exploration #11), we then laid them out on white paper and observed the differences and details. As an adult, I felt a little silly looking at 12 leaves and trying to talk about them, but the kids really enjoyed it. F focused on which leaves looked like doll canoes and which looked like lilly pads. T liked just feeling them and throwing them around. P noticed small things - like "wow, that one is sort of pointy."

So, in summary, I'm seriously loving this book lately. I highly recommend checking it out.


1 comment:

  1. This sounds like a great book. I am also always trying to find new ways to discover and talk about with my girls.
    Love your blog and will for sure come back!



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