As I was connecting with a friend who recently moved out of state, we talked about helping our kids master those hurdles that involve stepping out of familiar comfort zones. She’s the mom to two shy kiddos, ages 3 and 6, and she and her husband were rightfully nervous about the impact of a move to a new area.
In helping the girls make a positive transition, she tweaked an adventure point idea shared by a friend. Instead of having new experiences feel scary or foreboding, their family turned it into a game. What kids (of any age) aren’t excited by games???
By stepping out and trying something new, going somewhere new, making a concerted effort to bravely venture into uncharted territory, adventure points can be earned. It’s all about shifting the perspective on how these comfort zone breakers are viewed. Is it with nervous apprehension or with adventurous excitement?
Helping kids choose the adventurous excitement really pays off when it comes to broadening all kinds of horizons.
Adventure points can be recorded in a variety of ways. There are always homemade sticker charts, grids to color in, a running written record of adventures undertaken, or even tally marks on a post-it. It doesn’t matter how it’s recorded because the big takeaway is the growth experienced by earning the points. There can be incremental rewards or even leveled badges to be earned. There truly is no limit to how big or small this idea can go.
We all get set in our ways. Same routines, same menu choices, same go-to activities. There is positivity to consistency, but there’s also the necessity for a willingness to go with the flow and take change in stride. How do we find that balance? Adding some opportunity for adventure is a perfect solution!
On our recent family vacation to South Carolina, I decided to add some adventure to the mix. In conferring with my sister-in-law, we put together the Aquino Family Adventure Game. This was something everyone on the trip could play, and we were ranging in ages from 18 months to 71 years – no easy feat!
A quick visit on Amazon got us the chart for recording points, and then it was time to hash out the rules of the game.
We deemed that vacationers could earn points for trying new foods, participating in a first-time activity, creating something, reading a book, showing an act of above and beyond kindness, or any other act the executive committee (i.e., the moms) deemed worthy. Everyone’s name was placed on the chart, and our vacation adventures began upon arrival!
A few of our standout adventure point earnings:
- A beach path was cleared. This was huge; we actually gave it 5 points! After about an hour of everyone “ouch, ouching” across the strip of broken shells that had to be navigated between beach base and ocean, the 17-year-old took the sand toy shovel and dug us a path… Genius!
- Teenagers, 6-year-old, and toddler ate grits y’all!
- Dirty diapers were carried to the garbage by smiling children.
- A new seafood soup was created.
- Boogie boarding was mastered.
- Sharks were caught on a fishing trip…. BIG ones!
We had so much fun with this! It really was an engaging way to get everyone in on an extra layer of vacation excitement. Adventure points will definitely be a continued tradition for our family vacation repertoire. It was horizon-broadening and free! Win-win!
Stepping out of comfort zones can be intimidating at any age. When some practice at mastering the skill has been regularly instituted, it becomes a much easier path to take. How can your family add some adventure?