Think about your parents for a minute. Are there some phrases or things they said to you or your siblings repeatedly? When I think about my mom and dad, here are a few of the things that stand out to me:
“Dang, Tina!” – A cross between “Dang, Gina” from the sitcom Martin and Tina the llama from Napoleon Dynamite.
“You’re killing me, James” – my mom mistakenly quoting Sandlot
“I love a challenge” – my mom anytime my siblings or I said we weren’t doing something she told us to do.
Well, now thanks to my mom, Kora loves a challenge too. It all started a couple of weeks ago when we went to visit the grandparents. Kora and two of her cousins were playing in the yard with my mom. She started giving them challenges that they needed to complete:
- Run and touch three trees and come back
- Run and touch something red and come back
- Sit in two different chairs and come back
I was completely surprised by how much the kids enjoyed these challenges – they were begging for more. It’s always the simplest things that the kids seem to love most. (My mom always joked that as kids we would always compliment her more on her dinners of macaroni and cheese with BBQ hot dogs than on meals where she would slave away in the kitchen.)
The next day, while playing inside, Kora and her cousins asked for some more challenges. I will admit that some of the challenges were legitimate and some of the challenges were used to help clean up the toy area a little – ‘I challenge you to find three blue toys and put them on the shelf’. I did challenge the five year old to find a toy shaped like a triangle. He searched for a little while and then he found a toy fence that he shaped into a triangle – clever little guy!
Since our visit, Kora has continued to ask me for challenges. Anywhere we go, she wants a challenge. We went to a splash pad with some friends one day, and I think she got one of her friends hooked on challenges. They had so much fun filling a bucket and dumping it on their heads and getting splashed by three different sprayers.
We’ve done challenges at the park and challenges at the mall. Here’s Kora trying to make a tower of checkers:
Completing challenges is one of those activities that I absolutely love. It can be done anywhere, you just adapt the challenge to your environment. It can also be played with any number of people and any age range can be challenged. The challenges can also be used as a learning tool. The challenges can ask kids to find a certain number of items (counting) or to find certain shapes, colors, letters, etc. Outdoor challenges are a great way for kids to get exercise as well as improve coordination and balance.
I challenge you to use Challenges with your kid this week. But fair warning: they might get addicted! I’d love to hear how you used challenges with your family.
So the most ridiculous thing happened yesterday. I put Lila down to sleep, and then I went outside for a little walk (I had to make sure I got my steps in for the day!), leaving my husband inside with Kora. They both enjoy their father daughter time in the evenings.
Fast forward to later in the evening when Kora is sleeping soundly in her bed. Thomas informs me that Kora and gotten her hands on my phone and she had gone around the house taking pictures. This is not the first time she’s done this. She likes to take pictures of anything and everything she sees. It’s actually quite funny to watch her as she’s snapping away – she has to get very close to the object she’s shooting and she’s talking the whole time as if she’s coaching the subject in order to get the best shot.
I grab my phone so I can look through the pictures she took. I wanted to see our house through her eyes. To my amazement, she only took about 150 pictures – I was expecting more. There were pictures of her toys and pictures of shoes – outsides of shoes and insides of shoes. She took pictures of cabinets and got a good shot of our laundry hamper. She even got a picture of the inside of the toilet bowl! I’m just glad she didn’t drop my phone as she was getting that shot! Many pictures were a little blurry and some of the pictures were just a total blur. Kora did manage to get a smiling picture of her dad – “Say cheese!”
There were a series of pictures that made me giggle. My husband explained that Kora got a little frustrated that she couldn’t take a picture of the mirror. Because she takes close-ups, all she was capturing was herself holding the phone! I guess you can call that a selfie!
Then there was one picture that stumped us. We could tell that it said ‘DEXTER’, but we could not tell what it was. My curiosity was piqued, so I started searching for the mysterious object. After several minutes of searching, my husband joined in on the effort.
We searched everywhere, but we couldn’t find Dexter. We were baffled, yet determined to find it. We were laughing so hard because Kora had stumped us. We even joked that we were going to wake her up to help us solve the mystery! It was completely bizarre. We searched for half an hour before we finally found Dexter. She had taken a closeup of the embossed logo on the front door. It sounds a little silly, but I felt a strange sense of accomplishment once we solved the mystery of Dexter.
It was the most ridiculous scavenger hunt unknowingly created by a three year old. I’m thinking that I’ll start using this as a new activity for us to play. Kora can take pictures of things and then I have to go find what she photographed. I know she would enjoy it, and I hope she can continue to challenge me like she did with Dexter.
Have your kids ever unknowingly challenged you?
Since the beginning of the year, I have been doing monthly exercise challenges. Over the years I have found that wanting to exercise or start working out again wasn’t enough to actually follow through on any long term exercising. When I say to myself, ‘I’m going to get shape,’ running is usually my exercise of choice. I run for a couple of days, maybe a couple of weeks, and then I get burned out. And then the cycle continues.
This year I decided that I was going to choose a different 30 day exercise challenge each month to help keep me motivated. The challenges usually start out pretty easy at the beginning and then gradually get harder and harder. It’s not the most intense workout or anything, but it’s better than no exercise at all.
I think the simply fact that it’s called a ‘challenge’ is motivating for me. As a kid, my mother was always telling me and my brothers that she loved a challenge. I am the same way! It’s a challenge, and I will be successful. It also helps knowing that it is only for 30 days. There is a concrete end to the challenge and I can count down the days. I actually use a notebook to document the days I complete the challenge. Having a visual aid is very motivating for me to keep working hard. I don’t like having a missing day on my page, so it pushes me to get my workout done.
A couple of weeks ago, my sister-is-law happened to send me a How to Get into the Splits in 30 Day Challenge, and I’ve decided I’m going to try it! I have always wanted to do the splits, but I’m not very flexible (as you can clearly see below). In fact, I’ve never been very flexible. This is going to be super hard! But I’m going to try it.
If I manage to master the splits in 30 days, you better believe I will be posting proof. I will be posting proof all over the place! If I’m not successful in 30 days, I will probably repeat the challenge until I’m successful. And then I’ll post proof! Wish me luck!