With Oona soon to start school and only one summer left before she begins I've been thinking about the rites of passage a child goes through in their early years. I've put together a list of things I'd still like to do while she's still (very) young and things we've enjoyed doing or rather things I've encouraged her to do as part of growing up.
There are lots of things a child does that seem to be experienced at particular ages, some things that they do for the first time are acknowledgements of their growing up, or mark a particular curiosity at that age, though some things are very small they often mark a huge milestone in their lives as they make the transition to being very much a child making their own choices, and stepping towards a little more independence.
Milestones in a child's life often conjure up the transition into adult hood: learning to drive a car, beginning university, but I believe that its the fibs and mud pies, the den building and belief in fairies that begin our journey. It's these things that should be celebrated, and encouraged as a child grows up, its their rite of passage, and rituals of growing up. We only do it once, let's make sure we do it properly.
Here's our list of what we believe are the true milestones, the measure of the first 5 years of childhood:
1. Believe in something that can't be seen. I believe in fairies!
2. blow bubbles
3. have a treasure box
4. have a hero
5. put on a puppet show
6. roll down a grassy hill
7. finger paint
8. build a den
9. make a mud pie
10. have a teddy bears picnic
11. feed an animal
12. ride on daddy's shoulders
13. answer the phone
14. own one piece of fabulous fun clothing
15. choose a favourite story (you know the one thats read several times every night!)
16. have a secret place
17. play with play dough
18. grow a vegetable
19. go to a museum
20. build a sand castle
21. make a master piece and have it framed
22. tell a lie
23. eat homemade ice-cream on a hot summers day
24. go to a fair
25. plant a seed
26. catch snowflakes with your tongue
27. play dress up
28. write a thank you letter to family member , a teacher or a friend
29. bake a cake
30. go to a farm
31. have a hobby
32. learn a joke
33. fly a kite
34. watch a magic trick
35. scribble somewhere they shouldn't
36. laugh so hard milk comes out their nose
37. enjoy a bonfire
38. jump in a puddle so hard the water goes into mummy's shoes!
39. go to the theatre
40. go on a moonlit walk
41. visit where mum and dad and grew up
42. run a lemonade stand / book shop
43. make a homemade gift
44. go on a scavenger hunt
45. play in the rain
46. build gingerbread house and eat it
47. camp in the garden or at least camp in the sitting room
48. play in the mud
49. climb a tree
50. hunt for bugs
51. create a self portrait
52. receive an award
53. own a library card
54. sing loudly in public
55. ride the top deck on a double decker bus
56. clean their own teeth
57. buy something in a shop
58. discover their shadow
59. play in the bath til their skin wrinkles
60. have a collection
61. make their own pizza
62. go crab hunting
63. race sticks in a stream.
64. break something valuable
65. eat wild fruit picked by hand
66. feed the ducks
67. let a bug crawl up their arm
68. play with food
69. own a cuddly toy that they never want to part with
70. eat out
71. see a classic on a big screen
72. grow cress in the shape of their name
73. go out at dusk, watch the sunset and see the stars come out
74. take interest in an instrument and play a tune (of sorts)
75. make and fly a paper aeroplane
76. set up a snail race
77. make a scrapbook of memories ; a holiday book is a great first
78. see a parade
79. be given freedom to make choices, decisions and mistakes
80. have some quality alone time with a parent
81. have one really big special birthday party
82. go to the beach
83. lick the whisk / lick the bowl
84. cut their own hair
85. have a special first love
86. learnt to live without tv
87. feel like you're flying in the wind
88. have a really really good friend
89. wear pants on their head - pirates in pants is a favourite game!
90. begin to learn how to swim
91. spend lots of time naked
92. receive praise for who he / she is; perhaps a 'just because' note
93. make up a silly nickname for someone or themselves
94. ride the tea cups at the fair
95. do something to make a mark on the world, plant a tree
96. take a trip; a train ride, car trip, plane journey or a boat trip
97. receive a letter; perhaps a note of love or appreciation, thanks or well done
98. express creativity without boundaries
99. dance until you're exhausted.
100. ride on a carousel
101. swing on a rope swing
102. go on a hike or follow a long trail
103. climb a steep hill
104. do a belly flop
105. see the ocean
106. pretend. as much as they can.
107. lay the table
108. learn to say sorry.
109. plant it. grow it. eat it.
110. plan a day of fun
111. be told 'i love you' and make sure they feel it every day.
112. lose something.
113. learn to say 'please' and 'thank you'
114. have a favourite special place.
115. pick wild flowers and press them
116. choose their own clothes
117. make up a story
118. dare to fail
119. get covered in paint
120. run in the sprinklers
121. experience disappointment and learn that it's ok.
122. have a dream and have an adult believe in it
What would you add to the list?