Explore Tree Climbing

Do you have a child that loves the outdoors? If so, encourage them to explore tree climbing in their free afternoon activities.

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Explore Tree Climbing

I chuckle when I think of the scene in the Sound of Music, when the father was driving home and saw children hanging from the trees, not realizing these were his own children, because of how they were dressed.

Many parents today, seem to shun the idea of tree climbing, even though they probably did it themselves as a child, because of the fear of their child getting hurt.

I was that parent for a few years, but thankfully, God gave me children who loved to explore tree climbing and many other things that pushed me out of my comfort zone and allowed them to have an adventurous childhood, like I did.

I learned a few things in the years of my children learning to explore tree climbing and I would to share them with you.

  1. Children have a need to climb
  2. Even children who are afraid of heights will still climb
  3. Climbing is fun and worth doing

It amazed me that all of our children, and any children that I have observed have this strong need to climb things, not just trees. This need is never quenched, but only increases. Why do we try to remove it and keep it from happening, when we could easily embrace this natural drive to conquer an obstacle in front of them, and teach them how to do it safely?

Even children who are afraid of heights will climb, despite their fear. It is true! My oldest son climbed and climbed a tree in our front yard that my husband had put a ladder on it because once you get past the trunk was a perfect tree to climb, and he wanted our children to enjoy the only tree on our property that would be good for this desire.

Well, my son knew how to climb it and was great at climbing it to really high, but his fear of heights would keep him from being able to come down. Most parents would say, you can't climb the tree, but we wanted our son to learn to face his fear of heights and enjoy exploring tree climbing if he desired to do so.

My husband, myself, my daughter, my brother all took turns climbing the tree to help him find his courage to climb down safely.  He even would climb this fallen tree in a park that we took our nature walks in and would need help finding the courage to scoot back down the trunk.

It took us just a few weeks to get him to feel confident about the skills needed to come down safely and has loved climbing trees, and going on crazy roller coasters since getting over his fear. He realized the fun element of it, overcoming his fear and has loved it ever sense.


Don't forget to enjoy the other free afternoon activities ideas in this 31 day series

31 Days of Exploring Free Afternoon Activities Series - Includes 30 Hands-on Activities Perfect for Handicrafts or Hobbies. | www.joyinthehome.com

 

 

Explore Roller Blading

Having active children is so important to their health. One of our favorite ways to do this for our younger children, and as they grow is to explore roller blading for free afternoon activities.

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Explore Roller Blading

Roller blading is a great exercise, but it is also fun for children. When we first explore roller blading, I start with a training inline skates, as well as the safety gear and a helmet to protect bones when failing, which is part of learning.

We literally start in the house, on the carpet and then on the hard wood, to allow the confidence to grow, as well as the technique.

Once I see that they are able to maneuver through the house without falling, I will try roller blades in the house or just see how they do with the training ones outside in our long driveway or at parks trails. (most parks do not like bikes, roller blades or skate board on painted surfaces, so be respective of these things)

Over the years, our children went through a lot of roller blades, but we saved a whole lot of money by purchasing most of them at yard sales and storing them in a large bin for the next child to use, as they grew. It was only a few sizes that we purchased new because they loved to use their free afternoon activity time in roller blading.

One thing to also know, assuming you may want to go to a roller skating rink is that they do not allow skates that have been used outside on their rink.

We have used ours more at our home or outdoor places than indoor rinks, so for us it was worth using them the way that fit our needs.


Don't forget to enjoy the other free afternoon activities ideas in this 31 day series

31 Days of Exploring Free Afternoon Activities Series - Includes 30 Hands-on Activities Perfect for Handicrafts or Hobbies. | www.joyinthehome.com

 

 

Explore Fishing

Although I am not a lover of fishing, my boys are fond to explore fishing, thanks to our bi-annual family reunion to a remote cabin in the woods that also has a pond, perfect for building fishing skills.

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Explore Fishing

We have always had some sort of water on our property, so with our love of exploring nature, it was natural for our children to want to explore fishing.

Although a child could make a fishing pole out of a branch, fishing line and a hook, we have purchased fishing pools for our boys who fell in love with fishing from the beginning.

I love that there is a training pole for little ones, and different types of poles based on the kinds of fishing you plan on doing, and what kind of fish you are trying to attract.

One summer, our oldest son learned all he could about fishing, what lures to use and what types of poles were needed for a successful fishing experience. With this knowledge, that was gained during his free afternoon activities, they went to the store with their own money to purchase the things they needed for an upcoming family reunion.

Now, as an adult, he goes fishing on his own at nearby rivers and keeps increasing the tools that he uses to get the catch he wants.

I have a great memory on the first day of  our son's last year in homeschooling, I woke up my family and told them that we were going FISHING for our first day. They all thought I was joking, but I wasn't.

We packed up the truck and headed to a near by river, where we talked about being called to be fisher of men in the world. I don't think my children will ever forget that day or that lesson, when mom took school to the river.

We have taught our children that unless you are going to eat an animal, including fish, you shouldn't kill them. On a few occasions, a fish would die before they could get it off the hook and back into the water. At that point, we would make it a science project and dissect it to see what the inside looks like, providing an amazing opportunity for growing our knowledge outside of books.

Other summers, when we aren't heading to the cabin, we try to rent a pontoon for a day and go a few hours a way to a lake we love. I love being on the water and find it the best way to just stop the busyness of life, get my family together and just be. I love being there watching them fish, testing their knowledge and being rewarded, but this mama loves when my youngest curls up on my lap and falls asleep with a smile.


Don't forget to enjoy the other free afternoon activities ideas in this 31 day series

31 Days of Exploring Free Afternoon Activities Series - Includes 30 Hands-on Activities Perfect for Handicrafts or Hobbies. | www.joyinthehome.com

 

 

 

Explore Pyrography

You may have thought that this was called ‘wood burning', as I have been calling it for years. This is a great hobby for older children to explore pyrography, which is a burning into wood or leather using a metallic tip.

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Explore Pyrography

My sister-in-law taught our family how to explore pyrography several years ago and we all loved it.

We each choose our own design that we wanted to put on our first projects, using the pyrography kit that we purchased for this new afternoon activity. We also needed wood transfer paper, a pencil and of course a piece of basswood for each of us. (you could use supply store coupons to save money on these)

If you child really wants to explore pyrography, I would recommend this book: Art & Craft of Pyrography, The: Drawing with Fire on Leather, Gourds, Cloth, Paper, and Wood.

It is important that you have something to place the extremely hot pyrography tool on when you aren't using it. Of course, keeping it away from younger children or children who do not follow instructions well, as there could be the chance of getting burned with this activity. Until a child knows how to use this responsibility, I would highly recommend you supervise to ensure proper use and guidelines.

Many people who enjoy pyrography would also enjoy whittling and carving or even wood working crafts.

Once the art of exploring pyrography is learned, this can easily become a skill that could be used to make family gifts or even a way to earn money through craft shows.


Don't forget to enjoy the other free afternoon activities ideas in this 31 day series

31 Days of Exploring Free Afternoon Activities Series - Includes 30 Hands-on Activities Perfect for Handicrafts or Hobbies. | www.joyinthehome.com

 

 

Explore Painting

All children love to paint! I have some ways to make it easy for your children to explore painting in their free afternoon activities that will help them get creating more.

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Explore Painting

Children love colorful things, and they love to use their hands, so painting is a great activity to explore. Many parents shy away from it because of the mess of painting, but I have a few tips that will help you manage it and teach proper care for painting with your kids.

I have a plastic table cloth just for crafts like painting that will protect our table. Our children know that they must first get that out and cover our table before getting paint out. They also have paint shirts, old button shirts of my husband's, is stored next to the plastic table cloth and must be put on before paint.

I like to have all my supplies in one place for easy free afternoon activities and clean up.

I start introducing my children to explore painting with washable tempera paint, and only get primary colors to teach color mixing for other color possibilities. I like to use a palette with room for mixing or even paint cups, to keep the paint from spilling all over, with foam plates.

Another paint that younger children love is washable water colors, but you will want to be sure they only have a small amount of water and paper towels to keep from making a bigger mess.

For clean up, I love to have a place just for their paint work to dry. You could use twine and large thumb tacks to display them on a wall (assuming they do not have so much paint that it will drip off) while they dry or just lay them on a flat surface.

I also like to have a garbage bag, paper towels and wipes available for quick clean up.


Don't forget to enjoy the other free afternoon activities ideas in this 31 day series

31 Days of Exploring Free Afternoon Activities Series - Includes 30 Hands-on Activities Perfect for Handicrafts or Hobbies. | www.joyinthehome.com

 

 

Explore Calligraphy

Do you have a child that loves to write letters? If so, you should have them explore calligraphy!

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Explore Calligraphy

Our daughter seemed to always have a pen in her hand, even in her free afternoons or on summer breaks. She loved to write. One year, I thought about seeing how she would enjoy to explore calligraphy after she seemed intrigued by a visit to Colonial Williamsburg, where this was being demonstrated.

The next opportunity to purchase something special for her, we purchased a calligraphy kit for her and she loved to practice this new skill.

For a while, I allowed this to take place of her copy work for a while because she was really taking a lot of time trying to learn this skill.

This is a very unique skill that some people are willing to pay for today, like writing names on diplomas for local graduations or wedding invitations. If a child really developed this skill well, they could easily make some money on the side.

We never invested in calligraphy paper, but I have heard that it can make a big difference in mastering the skill.

During this time, my daughter started exploring different ways of writing that would look unique and add to her card making or journaling. This book could help foster the love of exploring handwriting, Creative Lettering and Beyond.


Don't forget to enjoy the other free afternoon activities ideas in this 31 day series

31 Days of Exploring Free Afternoon Activities Series - Includes 30 Hands-on Activities Perfect for Handicrafts or Hobbies. | www.joyinthehome.com

 

Explore Beads

My daughter has spent hours while she explored beads, with jewelry making and other ways to create these colorful crafts. She loved it and we loved seeing what she was going to make next during her free afternoon activities.

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Explore Beads

Our daughter was really young when we bought her a bunch of beads to explore. She loved them and it became obvious that she wanted to learn how to make more types of jewelry as she dove into learning when she explored beads.

Once we saw her interest was there, we decided that her next birthday would be all about helping her explore beads and learn to make jewelry. We purchased her organizing binds and carrying case, which she would take on trips! In addition to this, we bought her tools to make jewelry, and some amazing beads, clasp and threads to make jewelry that she sold for a while.

She would check books out of the library to get ideas, or would look through book stores to just see how things were done and then went home to try her own hand at it.

She would even invest in beads that were natural tones to appeal to her brothers, so they could enjoy some of her afternoon activities with her.

America Girl Crafts bracelet kit would be a great gift idea to get them started to explore beads and getting them creating jewelry they would love to wear of gift to friends.

There are so many new crafting ideas since she was little, and she insists to try them out because of her love of making jewelry that all started with beads.


Don't forget to enjoy the other free afternoon activities ideas in this 31 day series

31 Days of Exploring Free Afternoon Activities Series - Includes 30 Hands-on Activities Perfect for Handicrafts or Hobbies. | www.joyinthehome.com

 

 

Explore Card Making

With the increasing world of social media and emails, I would really encourage you to have your children explore card making, as it is really a great craft that will keep alive a worth while gesture we all appreciate.

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Explore Card Making

I remember the sweet afternoons that my children and I would gather around the table with all of our edger scissors, a stack of pretty paper, cards and envelopesrubber stamps with ink, and paper cutters, and sit for hours making our stash of cards larger for up coming birthdays, encouraging cards, get well or other types of cards. Often times, my children would just get the things out on their own free afternoon activities and create a special card for a friend or family member.

We love purchasing gifts for birthdays and special days that will help our children explore hobbies to fill their free afternoon activities. This kit to making your own cards is one that I would recommend for any child just starting out.

You can easily add many of these supplies and skills to homeschooling if you added copy work selections to the inside of the cards, like poems, verses, or even quotes.

We have used so many of these supplies in our Binder Books and Journaling, plus scrapbooking. I loved using coupons from craft stores to help purchase things at a lower price and often added to our supplies a little at a time when preparing for our new school year, or even for birthdays.


Don't forget to enjoy the other free afternoon activities ideas in this 31 day series

31 Days of Exploring Free Afternoon Activities Series - Includes 30 Hands-on Activities Perfect for Handicrafts or Hobbies. | www.joyinthehome.com

 

 

Explore Baking

One thing that I feel every homeschooling mama needs is to have her children in the kitchen ready to explore baking with her. There is nothing more rewarding than working along side your family, as you prepare food for your family. The younger you get them in the kitchen, the more they will love it!

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Explore Baking

Our kitchen can be busy at times, and it can become overwhelming making every meal for our family, so I welcome all the help that I can get for as many meals as possible.

You can bring school into the kitchen but teaching measurements with measuring cups and spoons, work on fractions and my favorite, following directions from a recipe, once a child is able to read well.

My children love to explore baking from an early age, as they learn how to cut soft butter, spread peanut butter, crack an egg, pour liquids, stir things together, measure out the ingredients, butter pans, cut up vegetables and fruits, shred cheese and much more.

Once they have learned these important skills necessary for making a recipe on their own, I will let them work on a recipe to see if they are able to do it, with me observing. They love the independence this offers, and I love training additional help in the kitchen. In fact, all four of our children can help in our kitchen for any meal and do great. Our 5 year old hasn't learned how to do a recipe himself, but is capable of doing his own breakfast and lunches and loves to help in the dinner prep whenever I will allow.

Baking is an art, and can be just as exciting as painting or wood working, because they are creating something from work and will have a finished result.

If you are looking for some inspiration, this book may be just want you need to help get your toddlers through nine years old helping in the kitchen, and teaching them the skills necessary for independence in the kitchen: Kids in the Kitchen: Simple Recipes That Build Independence and Confidence the Montessori Way.


Don't forget to enjoy the other free afternoon activities ideas in this 31 day series

31 Days of Exploring Free Afternoon Activities Series - Includes 30 Hands-on Activities Perfect for Handicrafts or Hobbies. | www.joyinthehome.com

 

 

Explore Videography

Do you have a child that tends to enjoy electronics? You should encourage them to explore videography in their free afternoon activity time and foster their love, while building skills for a lifetime.

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Explore Videography

The technology of today is amazing, from digital photography and even stop motion animation, children can really learn at an early age how to do things that we, as their parents didn't have the opportunity to really explore.

I would encourage you to invest in a used videocamera, and allow your children to record anything of interest for themselves. From family gatherings, to play time or even try their hand at being a director of their own movie.

When our children were younger, our children worked with the children of a friend, and in an afternoon, they created a story, assigned parts and recorded their work. A week or so later, their oldest child gave us a DVD of their work and it is a keepsake for us. He went on to making several movies, learning how to do direct, edit and add sound effects as he grew in this skill.

Our oldest son has used videography to improve his golf game, so he can see how he is swinging his clubs and make adjustments to improve his skills.

Our younger boys have used my cell phone to make videos of things that are important to them, while our daughter has taken her love of technology to play around with several things with videos to also learn many aspects of videography as well.

As with any of these free afternoon activities, the key is to provide tools and time for your children to explore and become creative to spark interest that could become part of what they do in the future. So worth introducing your children to many hands-on activities for their afternoon time.


Don't forget to enjoy the other free afternoon activities ideas in this 31 day series

31 Days of Exploring Free Afternoon Activities Series - Includes 30 Hands-on Activities Perfect for Handicrafts or Hobbies. | www.joyinthehome.com

 

 

Explore Stop Motion Animation

What happens when your child seems to be outgrowing their favorite toys or pastime? I would highly recommend that they explore stop motion animation. You will be amazed at how much they will enjoy this addition to what they already love and enjoy.

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Explore Stop Motion Animation

When our oldest son hit his teen years and started to not play with LEGOS as much, a friend of his introduced him to stop motion animation. This was such a great way to bring what he loved to do in his free afternoon activities into another level of fun for him.

When our son got started he used a webcam but now you could use a Kindle or iPad with a rear facing camera, and a app or software. It is nice to see that they have created complete kits to help children of all ages to get started in exploring stop motion animation.

What I really have enjoyed seeing as this free afternoon activity becomes part of our child's exploration is that it can easily be done with things they already have around the home and toys that they have played with for hours already.

With the way that technology has come along, it amazes me to see children as young as 3 or 4 learning how to create their own stop motion animation through play, growing their imagination and their creativity to new levels.

If you would desire to get some books to help your child learn how to explore slow motion animation more, you can start with The Klutz Book of Animation: Make Your Own Stop Motion Animation or a little more advanced book is Stop Motion Animation: How to Make & Share Your Videos.


Don't forget to enjoy the other free afternoon activities ideas in this 31 day series

31 Days of Exploring Free Afternoon Activities Series - Includes 30 Hands-on Activities Perfect for Handicrafts or Hobbies. | www.joyinthehome.com

 

 

Explore Legos

What kid doesn't love Legos? You may be wondering why this even made it to this series of free afternoon activities, when it is such a no brainer, but it is one of those activities that I wanted to be sure to mention because it has been well loved in our home.

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Explore Legos

With the growing attention of how to use Legos in your homeschooling, ideas of building popular characters from movies or complete sets with instructions for scenes out of these movies, children are often ‘told' how to play with Legos.

There are so many benefits to a child to be given toys, like Legos, that can provide them with creativity during their play. No instructions, just them and the Legos to see what may come out of their imagination, with the bricks that they have at their resources.

I love how my boys have built, and still build, all kinds of things that come to their mind.

I do feel that there are times when we can provide ideas for them, but to allow them to explore during free afternoon activity time. One our my children's favorite resource for ideas, when they aren't inspired on their own is this book, The LEGO Idea Book.

It amazes me how popular the ‘sets' are becoming, because we love just to purchase sets of mini-figures and some of their most popular bricks, and give them time to create on their own.

We have tried to have them keep their pieces and figures organized, but they way they play, it is not worth the effort to put into keeping them organized. As long as we don't step on them, I'm happy with the time they spend playing with these treasured toys.


Don't forget to enjoy the other free afternoon activities ideas in this 31 day series

31 Days of Exploring Free Afternoon Activities Series - Includes 30 Hands-on Activities Perfect for Handicrafts or Hobbies. | www.joyinthehome.com