My Boys love to collect things when we are are home, camping, in the park, at the beach – basically anywhere! They will collect anything that will fit into their pockets or pawn off to me to put in my bag or backpack. They have collected glass, bottle caps, nails, wire, rope, rocks, shells, drift wood, found toys buried in dirt, leaves, branches. They are basically little recycling machines that will scope out the ground for an hour picking out all the “good stuff” and gush over how they will love this piece of plastic bread bag clasp “forever and couldn’t live without it” especially when I say that I will put their find in recycling.
When we would get back to the RV the boys would empty their pockets and there is an explosion of “beloved found treasures” everywhere. So to try to minimize the mess and fights of “who found what and who treasures are whose” I asked on Facebook if anyone had spare shoeboxes that I could take.
A friend gave me two boxes. My boys love doing crafts, painting and drawing but they will only spend at the most 30 minutes at one time working on something. I set up the painting sheet outside and brought out the paints, brushes, paint cups and set up everything before I had them paint. If I had them sit there before getting everything ready, I would miss their moment of wanting to paint by the time I get everything ready to go and they would be off the table collecting leaves of bike riding around the campground. It is hard for two boys to keep still at home let alone when camping and there is just so many fun things to do. The boys spent a whopping ten minutes painting up a storm and making their boxes very earthy. We didn’t even do a second coat. After the paint was dry and before bed that night I brought out the stickers and the boys got to decorate and fill their new treasure boxes. These boxes are a life saver for camping and now have been moved back into the house when we unloaded the rig for the season and are great for all wonder fall finds.
Some finds I take out of their boxes with the boys permission to save for future crafts this winter. There is plenty to be made with sea shells and drift wood. I have some great plastic craft ideas as well.
If your kids love collecting “treasures” as well, make sure that you know the park rules for taking things. In Dinosaur Provincial Park you not take any fossil finds, but once found put them back so other’s can find and enjoy. Any live sea creatures should be looked at and not touched as you could hurt them.
I may be old school in thinking that taking one or two items that are not living and to collect is okay. I feel my two boys learn about our world, local ecosystems and the world around us by this. They love going back into their treasure boxes and talking about their “treasures”. They love telling stories about how they found the items. They love talking about what the items are. They ask about what type of leaf, shell. The tactile/hands-on learning can not be compared to reading only.
I am sure we will be building new shoe boxes for 2013 and keep the old ones as a mini time capsule for 2012.