It is Saturday, City Boy is home, and we are feeling very lazy. The skies are gray again and it looks really cold out there. So the day unfolds slowly . . . inside. Thank goodness for my promise (15 minutes outside every day). Instead of starting another art or baking project, or just putting on a movie I start to think. And her is where I have to sing the praises again of the book that got me started on this plan: Fifteen Minutes Outside: 365 Ways to Get Out of the House and Connect with Your Kids by Rebecca Cohen. She talks about setting up an outside treasure hunt and letting children follow clues to find treasure. Perfect!!! So I enlist my little one to help set up the hunt for her big sister. We get paper and pens and I draw a very simple map of our back yard. Then we talk about where we should hide the treasure. Being three she has the marvelous idea to have lots of treasure so we come up with five different treasure locations and mark each spot with a number on the map. Next we make a list with the names of each hiding place: 1. Deck, 2. Tree 3. Bush . . . and so on. I am trying to make this EASY for our first try. My hope is that my first grader will use both the map and the list to make her way around the yard finding our hidden treasures.
Then we head to the pantry and get five plastic baggies. We fill each with a different treat, whatever is on hand. We find a left over candy cane, banana chips, some fruit leather, a little chocolate bar and some popcorn. Little one and I head out to hide the booty. She tiptoes and reminds me to be "very quiet!" When we come back inside we announce that we have been told that there is TREASURE in the back yard. My older daughter is very happy snuggled in her room playing and she looks at me with suspicion when we make our announcement. "Look, we even have a treasure map," I add. She takes the map and the list and reads it. "I don't know . . " she trails off. "But there's a CANDY CANE!!!" bursts out my little one. She cannot hold in the surprise for one more second. That's all it takes and we are outside searching in seconds. We rush around the yard going from one clue to the next. The bags are "hidden" but not really and we soon have our bounty in hand.
We munch for a bit and then, since we are standing right next to the swings, it just seems natural that we would play for a while. Yes, I have a swing set in my back yard. And how often do we use it? I feel so guilty. The answer, not nearly enough. But here we are swinging, and laughing and breathing the frosty air.