Brain Chase Helps Kids Find Adventures Offline

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Maybe it is just me, but it seems like childhood norms are shifting. When I was as young as six, I spent most of my free time with other neighborhood kids entertaining ourselves. We might have organized a soccer game on somebody’s lawn, or jumped the fence to play kickball at the nearby elementary school. But with my own children, it seems like I spend most of my time finding ways to entertain them, whether through play-dates or other organized activities.

It wasn’t always like this. In the past, parents were so busy making ends met that children were usually left to their own devices. This would result in kids discovering unexpected adventures on their own, not unlike the stories found in Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

As the economic conditions of the country improved, most people left the rural farm and its many adventures and moved into the city.  Kids still found activities in urban centers, but they tended to be in city parks and school playgrounds.

Not everyone felt that city parks were optimized for childhood adventures. In the late 1940s, a British landscape architect by the name of Lady Marjory Allen of Hurtwood was frustrated by playgrounds full of asphalt squares. She wanted a playground with interchanging parts that kids could move around and modify according to their play. The results was a set of playgrounds known as “adventure lands” which included no swings or slides but did have tires, tools, and ropes so that kids could essentially design their own adventures.

At least fifty years have passed since Allen’s parks were torn down, and parenting norms have changed again. Today, parents ensure that there children are always involved in organized or structured play. We sign them up for classes, camps, and sporting programs, but never really let them explore on their own.

Although times have changed, there is still value in the ideas behind “adventure lands.” There is still value in allowing children to design their own adventures.

In the spirit of “adventure land,” the Brain Chase Summer Learning Challenge has incorporated several activities that help kids step away from the computer and create their own adventures. For one of the weekly bonus challenges, Brain Chase will send all participants their very own compass as well as instructions on how to complete a basic orienteering exercise. They’ll learn how to read a map and use a compass to triangulate a location – skills that will not only prove useful in advancing the animated story and locating the $10,000 buried treasure, but will also facilitate many open-ended backyard adventures in the years to come.

As parents, we want our children to be actively engaged in enriching activities. We want them to grow and learn. Brain Chase boosts their development by serving up adventures online and by facilitating their own open-ended adventures offline. To learn more about Brain Chase and the orienteering activity, please visit our website today.