The Power of the Mini Adventure

by ChristinaPilkington on April 25, 2011 · 0 comments

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Many people live a standard, routine life. They pretty much know when they’ll get up, what they’ll be doing every day, and about what time they’ll go to sleep each night. Once in a while they’ll celebrate a holiday or birthday, or plan for a week trip, but otherwise their lives are familiar, predictable, and safe.

Now, if that lifestyle sounds like a dream to you, that’s great. But the rest of this article is for those of you who want to delve deeper and reach further into their world. You want some things to be familiar, but you want most of your time filled with exploration, wonder and adventure.  But with all your daily responsibilities, it can get easy to fall back into the same old, same old and put your dreams of more on hold just one more day.

That’s why I plan my week around a mini adventure.  Our mini adventure is the focal point of the week, a high priority, and rarely missed.

We always have our “daily dose of adventure” which I’ll write about in an upcoming post, but the weekly mini adventure is more involved. It almost always takes place away from home and is something we’ve never done before. It awakens our sense of adventure and lets us explore our world in new and different ways.

I can imagine someone reading this thinking, “She just wrote about having this spontaneous, unpredictable life and then she turns around and describes how she PLANS an adventure. Isn’t that contradictory?”

How many times have you said, “That would be so much fun to do,” or “I wish I could do that someday.” Did you write that thought down? Did you do anything about it at some point in the future?  In our society with the dozens of responsibilities we all have, most of the dreams and ideas that capture our attention get lost in the daily maintenance of life.

That’s why I capture any mini-adventure ideas I have, or anyone in the family has, into a notebook and look at them on a regular basis. Then I scan the next week and look at the notebook to see what might work best for that week. This doesn’t mean that we can’t switch to something else mid week that sounds better; it just guarantees, barring some emergency, that we’ll have some type of mini-adventure.

Our mini-adventures are always varied and unique. My children are young, so depending on the ages of your children, my list below might include things your family would be interested in, too.

1. A day out at a new library and lunch at a train restaurant, followed by building stuffed animals and visiting a pottery shop.

2. Spending an afternoon in Millennium Park watching a Chinese opera.

3. Riding paddleboats across the pond followed by a picnic lunch.

4. Learning a Hawaiian dance at a library program.

5. Eating dinner at a jazz restaurant.

6. Climbing over fallen trees in woods we’d never been to before.

7. Dressing up as astronauts at the planetarium.

8. Watching the sailboats on Lake Michigan.

9. Going to a chiropractor for the first time.

10. Visiting a new amusement park.

Travel is a huge priority for our family. By the age of five, my children had already been to twelve states, one U.S. territory, and one British territory. But even if longer travel isn’t your thing, incorporating a mini adventure into your week is very doable. It simply involves opening yourself up to what you’re curious about in the world outside your home.

In families where the children do not go to school, and especially where the children have freedom to explore their interests instead of following a daily “school” schedule, having weekly mini adventures should seem natural. It’s the crux of what we believe about learning: that life is exciting and interesting and the world is begging for us to get out into it and figure out what it’s all about.

Weekly mini-adventures are the heart of interest-led learning. They build strong family bonds, help enlarge our world and give us new things to think and wonder about.

Take advantage of all your community has to offer. There are so many free and exciting things you can do within thirty minutes of your home no matter where you live. Each neighborhood, region of the country, or corner of the world has its own unique things to amaze and inspire.  

What are some adventures you’ve been thinking about lately? Any that can take place close to home? How long has it been since you’ve written down your dreams and ideas?


Photo credit: Nicholas_T

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