Five ways to have an adventure

Hello again. Any violin players out there? A little piece of sad music if you please, because May is almost over so this is my final blog post. Okay, one, two, three and off you go … oh this is too much, pass the tissues.

For my final post I’d like to ask you a question: have you ever had an adventure? What do I mean by “adventure”? My dictionary says: “an usual or exciting, typically hazardous, experience or activity.” Well let’s just skip past the “typically hazardous” part, shall we? It is perfectly possible to have an adventure without falling off something or getting lost. (I quite appreciate that you Christchurch children might be thinking, “Actually, Sue, we’ve had enough of adventures thank you very much!” Point taken. We can all do without shaky-rumbly adventures. But please do read on – my suggestions are hazard-free!) (Okay, you can stop playing the violin now. Very nice thank you.)

When I was your age I read a lot of adventure stories and could never understand why the houses I stayed in on holidays didn’t have secret passages; why, when we went for walks on moors, we didn’t see mysterious lights; why, when I dug a hole in the sand, my spade didn’t chink against something that turned out to be a box with, at the very least, a message to be decoded inside. Do you sometimes feel that way?

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Well it is possible to make your own adventures, if you use a bit of imagination. My basic adventure recipe is:

1 x activity, preferably outside

1 x active imagination

A friend or two

And here are five ways to use your adventure mix:

1.  Build a den. In a forest is best, but in a garden will do (or even under the table if it’s pouring with rain). When it’s finished, decide where you would like it to be, e.g. on a desert island (do you need rescuing? are there poisonous fruit? do you need to catch fish to survive?), or halfway up a Himalayan peak (is there a yeti? are you lost?), or in the jungle (poisonous snakes? a rampaging rogue elephant?). Now have an imaginary adventure.

2.  Go for a bike ride (for older children only – and ask your parents first!). Get a map of your area and identify something that looks interesting, then work out a route. Check it out with your parents first. When I was a child in England, my friends and I spent many days searching for what was marked as ‘Old mill’ on a map. We never found it, but we had some great adventures searching.

3.  Go for a bush walk – this one you should do with your parents or a caregiver, but that doesn’t have to spoil your fun. Ask them to let you navigate – if you really want to impress them and every single person you meet coming the other way, then learn how to tell which direction you’re going in using a watch. It’s quite simple (click here for a simple guide) – this will dazzle the socks off everyone.

4.  Turn unusual situations into adventures – be on the lookout for adventure opportunities. A power cut? Don’t moan that you can’t use your computer or watch the TV. Instead, gather everyone round and have a ghost story telling session by candlelight. I guarantee that after an hour of that, going to the loo by yourself by candlelight will be a proper adventure!

5.  Get to know nature. No, I’m not trying to turn you into a tree-hugger – think about this, though. If you were out in the bush and you saw a bird that was really rare, as in maybe only 100 left in the world, would you know? Or would you think, ‘Oh look, a bird’. Being outdoors is much more of an adventure if you know what you’re looking at, and New Zealand’s natural world is awesome. Learn the difference between a town pigeon, which does nothing much other than poop all over nice buildings, and the beautiful kereru, New Zealand’s native wood pigeon. Is that really a stick, or could it be a stick insect? Have you ever seen a lizard in the wild? An adventure playground doesn’t have to be a jumble of steel at your local park, it can be your local forest reserve.

Well guys, my time is up, but if just one of you goes out and learns their NZ birds and how to tell where north is just by looking at your watch, then I am a happy bunny. The children in my stories have adventures, and I’d love you to get to know them sometime. And I’d absolutely love to hear from any of you – tell me about your pets, your favourite books, your latest adventures. Click here to visit me! It’s been a blogging blast, Christchurch kids – thanks for having me!

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