Kids should be kids. That’s what I think.
But while I’m neither an advocate for structured play nor flash card learning, I do think there is value in everyone and anyone setting specific life goals. And just like I think every adult should have a list of things to do before they die — a bucket list, some might call it — so too every child should have a parental-supported list of things to do before they leave the age of innocence and become a teenager.
I have a few suggestions. I used to host this list on another blog, but while it’s a blog I don’t really maintain anymore I wanted to put the list back up here, somewhere. So… here it is.
Some items are more time consuming and resource-intensive than others. Some might take years and form the basis for habits and hobbies well into the future, while others might be afternoon activities or brief experiences — just to say you did them kind-of-things. Pick, choose, and sort on your own interest or ability. Not everybody can or will want to do everything here… but if you do accomplish them all and keep track of it (see item number 21), let me know.
I’ve grouped items loosely on themes, but there is no real order. Enjoy!
10 Fundamental Things to Learn
1. Learn how to check your pulse.
2. Learn to cook your favorite meal.
3. Learn how to find at least ten constellations.
4. Learn to tie at least three strong knots.
5. Learn the basics of a second language.
6. Learn the names and locations of at least twenty countries.
7. Learn to play a musical instrument.
8. Learn to start a (controlled) fire.
9. Learn to knit, sew, or crochet.
10. Learn one really good card or magic trick.
10 Tools to Figure Out to How to Use Correctly
11. Use a knife to (safely) carve a point on a stick.
12. Utensils, chopsticks, and other eating implements.
13. Find a planet using a telescope.
14. Find a cell using a microscope.
15. Use hand tools to build something.
16. Ask a stranger a question on the telephone.
17. Use a search engine to find exactly what you are looking for.
18. Code a web page using a text editor.
19. Write a computer program to play a game.
20. Electricity and the basics of circuits.
10 Things to Write Down and Record
21. A journal describing all the things you’ve done on this list.
22. Record an audio or video interview of your parent(s).
23. A travel guide for others about where you live.
24. A story to record like an old time radio show.
25. A budget.
26. A letter to yourself twenty years in the future.
27. Three questions you’d ask someone famous when you meet them.
28. A letter to a politician or public figure.
29. Ten more items for this list.
30. A list of things to accomplish before you turn 25.
10 Amazing Things to See Close to Home
31. Somewhere tourists visit when they come to where you live.
32. Somewhere food is grown.
33. Your local museum with the history about where you live.
34. A construction site.
35. Your city or town hall.
36. A local sporting event.
37. A university or college close to your home.
38. A rally, protest, or other political event.
39. Somewhere nature has been preserved near your home.
40. A business that represents your local industry.
10 Amazing Things to See From (Possibly) Far Away
41. A supermarket in another country.
42. Real dinosaur bones.
43. The view from a very tall building.
44. A glacier or iceberg.
45. At least three different oceans.
46. Ancient ruins.
47. Your nation’s capital city.
48. A mine or other underground cavern.
49. A rocket, or something that has been or will go into space.
50. A crater or volcano.
10 Exciting (or Scary) Things to Try
51. A winter sport.
52. A summer sport.
53. Enter a race.
54. Walk across a suspended foot-bridge.
55. Rock climb.
56. Set a mega-goal for a physical activity.
57. At least one kind of food from every continent.
58. Give a speech to an audience.
59. A high dive.
10 Things to Ride On, In, or With
61. Take public transit
62. Drive a tractor
63. Paddle a canoe
64. Take an airplane
65. Ride a roller coaster
66. Ride a horse
67. Take an underground subway system
68. Ride in a parade
69. Ride a unicycle
70. Ride a vehicle older than your grandparents
10 Things to Create and Invent
71. A sandwich recipe named after your hero.
72. Design a logo for yourself.
73. A book exchange for you and your friends.
74. Invent a board game for you and your friends.
75. Draw a picture from on top of a mountain.
76. Invent a new kind of alarm clock.
77. An alternate world that could exist where you live.
78. An automatic way to water a houseplant.
79. Invent a made-up language.
80. Draw a picture of a piece of art in a museum.
10 Things to Find Out
81. Your blood type.
82. Why you live where you live.
83. Where your name came from.
84. Your parent(s)’ favourite author or book
85. What the land you live on was used for before your house was there.
86. How the place you live got its name.
87. How your grandparents met.
88. How much your parent(s)’ time is worth per hour.
89. How your local politicians or leaders came to power.
90. One thing your parent(s) would like to accomplish.
10 Things to Keep, Collect, or Remember
91. Something from nature that can be organized and sorted.
92. Something human-built that can be organized and sorted.
93. Copies of recipes for your ten favorite dishes.
94. Good ideas.
95. A photo album of just your feet standing at or on interesting places.
96. A photo collection of something normal you might find everywhere.
97. Copies of comic strip panels that really made you laugh.
98. Copies of articles from magazines or blogs that really made you think.
99. A list of every book you’ve read.
100. Write down the answer to one good question from everyone you meet.