By Bruce Van Patter

What every child should experience

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A Childhood Checklist

In our country, childhood is changing. For many, many kids, the days of roaming and exploring and of inventing fun are as foreign to them as coonskin caps and LPs. As television screens and computer monitors have grabbed the attention of young minds, we seem to be losing the simple joys of childhood.

I'm compiling a list of the essential experiences of childhood. Maybe it's like creating a virtual time-capsule for generations to come. These things are passing out of our collective experiences.

Please feel free to email me at the link above and add to the list.

Things every child should do:

climb a tree
play with a doll or action figure
make up a story
sleep in a tent
read by flashlight
make an indoor fort
build with blocks
invent a sandwich
go sledding
fly a kite
make a sand castle
jump in a pile of leaves
collaborate on an idea with a friend
feed an animal
be read to
explore a new place
have a secret hide-out
paint something
look at great art
listen to great music
play dress up
look at cloud shapes
roll in the grass
run for the joy of it
learn the great Bible stories

additional ideas from Diane:
catch snowflakes on your tongue
run through a sprinkler
have a lemonade stand
play in the puddles during a warm summer rain
go on a bug hunt or just catch a butterfly
play marbles
go for a flashlight walk at night
roast marshmallows at a campfire
start your own collection of something that costs nothing (rocks, leaves, shells etc.)

From Celia, a Southern friend:
• catch lightnin' bugs (or as you Yankees might call them, "fireflies"!)
• go fishin'!
• go on a kind of scary adventure with his/her daddy!
• swim in the ocean!
• sail on a boat!
• make mudpies!
• bake cookies with a grownup who loves them!
• make up a story that a grownup will write down for them!
• write a letter to Santa Claus!
• decorate Easter eggs!
• build a snowman!
• play hide-n-seek in the neighborhood on a summer night when it's almost dark!

From Heather:
Snuggle in the safety of parent's arms.
• Be able to make as much noise and mess at times.
• Be able to eat pancakes for dinner, ice cream for breakfast.
• Be able to have an imaginary friend.
• To have time to daydream.

From Buzz in MS
• Score a point in a sporting event
• Ride a horse
• Watch the sun rise
• Watch a meteor shower
• Look through a telescope
• Swim in a creek or pond
• Catch tadpoles

From Shannon in AZ:
• go berry picking (and eating!)
• watch movies at a drive-in
• participate in a neighborhood 4th of July parade
• play in a treehouse
• dance at a wedding

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