“52 weeks of Childhood Unplugged”, an experience scavenger hunt!

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I would like to propose something!

If you have a toddler or a pre-schooler, read till the end.

The other day I was on the playground with Lexi when some of the older kids started climbing a tree. Obviously, Lexi instantly said “Lexi, too! Lexi, too!
So we walked over the the leaning tree and watched the kids take their turns climbing it while she bounced up and down, chanting “Lexi too climb tree!!!”

When the kids were done, I helped her get started and she happily and proudly attempted to repeat what she saw the other kids doing. As I stood there helping her get higher and higher on the tree, it made me think of two things:

1.We should take her to the Robinson’s Tree House at Disney (lol)


2. What an AMAZING moment! This is her FIRST time climbing a tree! Such a true childhood experience. So fun and free.

Do you remember being kids? Scaling the impossible heights, sitting on branches, basking in warm sunlight and just enjoying being independent and free? Those are some of the happiest simplest times.

Experience Scavenger Hunt

I continued thinking about how she is yet to have so many experiences that are all kinds of wonderful, especially for the first time, and how lucky I am that I get to participate in them and re-live them through her eyes all over again. The next train of thought happened to be that with our busy lives we often do not even THINK of these experiences until our kids bring them to our attention (like Lexi asking to go jump in puddles after watching Daniel Tiger, a thought that hadn’t occurred to me at the time because we get rain so rarely). I have been on the look-out for such experiences, especially if they somehow connect with her books, like her Curious George books.

The other day, we had a strong thunderstorm, so we sat near a window and watched the lightning, waited for the thunder and then finally heard the rain. This was a total play on a Daniel Tiger episode with our own twist, where we would make sounds every time the lightning hit (Blast!) or we heard thunder (Rrrrrrooooooaaaar!)  or the rain (Dibble dibble dop dop!). This was a lot of fun for her and us and we need MORE experiences like this.

It helps spice up some of those boring days that we all have occasionally. It helps get to know your child better. It helps discover their talents and interests. And it makes for WICKEDLY GOOD MEMORIES!

I think that we could all help each other create these experiences and enjoy them if we put together an experience scavenger hunt.

A list of toddler and preschooler experiences that can be done once a week.

A toddler bucket list, a scavenger hunt of sorts, must do’s for young children!

Snow angels (or sand angels), tree climbing, shell gathering, movie and snack night, puddle jumping, model boat shows, orchestra concert, picnics, etc etc. These are just the examples of things I want to do with Lexi.

So I’d like all of your help. If we can all work together to create an extensive and DOABLE list of experiences. Any ideas are welcome! Those that don’t make it into the top 52 can be put onto the next year’s list.


What are the things you are dying to do with your child? What experiences did you create for them that you’re so proud of? What did they love doing?

Once the list is done, we  can get started creating these memories. Taking one day a week to MAKE an experience for our children. Take 1 (or more) photo capturing the experience and sharing it with everyone. I will make it a weekly blog meme, so if you have a blog, you could post it on your blog as a once a week thing. If you don’t have a blog, I still want to find a way for you to share this with others, so I will write more about details on that once I figure it out. Each week, I would love to display 6 best photos (not by skill, but by the capture) of each week’s experience from other people (if they would like it).

I want this to be a community thing. Rather than women constantly judging or attacking each other on  the internet, I want to create an experience for us women to share our children’s life moments with each other.

So are you up for it?

Again here are the steps:

1. Have a child between 1-4 years of age

2. Go over the list of experiences and compile your own, use ours and combine several entries.

3. Do one experience a week and capture the moment on your camera/iPhone

4. Share (or not) the experience and the photo

5. Share this idea with as other women who have children of the same age.


CU 2



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  • Reply
    February 20, 2014 at 9:37 AM

    I love this idea. I need to be intentional and thoughtful about these things, a list would prompt that. I also love what you said about tying the experiences to books. Suggested books that go with the items would be extra awesome!

  • Reply
    Rosie Perez
    February 20, 2014 at 10:50 AM

    While this idea is cute for building community, I’d like to think the best ideas come organically. Like, your out for a walk, which leads to seeing a bird in a tree and talking about nests, which leads to climbing the tree (just an example, of course).
    These ‘bucket lists’ have become such a fad, as of late. Like I said, cute ideas, but it almost seems like scheduling your child to have fun.

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      February 20, 2014 at 11:22 AM

      No, you’re scheduling yourself to give your child an opportunity to experience something they might have not otherwise 🙂
      The organic experiences will always be there. This is more about taking the time to take them somewhere and show them something new, you know?

  • Reply
    February 20, 2014 at 11:01 AM

    This is a brilliant idea!!!

  • Reply
    February 20, 2014 at 12:24 PM

    So many of these my two year old has already done. He went to his first story time at the library at 4 weeks old! He’s been to the zoo umpteen times – we have a family pass. He bakes with me all the time. He’s jumped in puddles and sprinklers…
    Y’all need to get more creative with your suggestions, or start doing more normal toddler stuff!

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      February 20, 2014 at 12:39 PM

      LN, you just names four. There are a lot more suggestions there than the typical zoo/baking/puddle jumping. Of course, you don’t have to do this, but surely you can find new experiences to do with your toddler that you haven’t done.

      These are just suggestions from other people who might have done other things but not these. You gotta respect everyone’s unique situation and interests.

      How about you make some suggestions? Add them in and I’m sure they will end up in the final unique 52. 🙂

  • Reply
    February 20, 2014 at 12:54 PM

    Good idea! Even though we may have done some of these things before, it’s a good “slow down” tool for us moms who are getting burned out. It’s sometimes an inconvenience for me to let my 2 toddlers do these kinds of things and I often forget the wonder of these simple activities so thanks for this!

  • Reply
    February 20, 2014 at 2:06 PM

    I love your idea! I patricipated in one 52 project and recently deleted all posts ’cause it seemed like there’s no point in writing more. But this idea I love, because it’s so creative and reminds you on stuff you totaly forgot. And can we participate with pictures from flickr accounts?

  • Reply
    February 20, 2014 at 3:52 PM

    I love this idea. I try to do regular activities, such as the library, or the zoo or the aquarium, but sometimes the weeks fly by and I realize we haven’t done anything new or interesting. My toddler turned 2 last month and I have 6 month old twins. We had house guests for a week and I had so much to do yesterday and 3 grumpy babies. I stopped everything and packed a blanket and a bag lunch and walked to the park for a picnic. The twins were full of smiles and completely calm and my 2 year old was so excited she couldn’t stop talking. She kept telling me about Peppa Pig and a picnic. It must have been an episode I didn’t pay attention to. She was so excited to eat her lunch and then throw and catch a ball we brought. It felt amazing to take an hour out of our day and enjoy something so much. And it was free! I posted photos on my IG account yesterday (jenduran3).
    My toddler has also done the indoor beach like Daniel Tiger, all on her own. She thinks the rays of sun from our patio are the beach and she tells our dog not to go in the water:)

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      February 20, 2014 at 4:16 PM

      Just added you on IG- the picnic looked amazing! That’s one of the things on my list as well!

      • Reply
        February 20, 2014 at 4:27 PM

        Thank you! I would love to add you too:) I also added a fun activity above that we did Tuesday. After dropping off friends at the airport we drove to the viewing area for the landing strip so she could watch the planes land. She only recently started paying attention to airplanes, so I thought it would be cool to see them a little closer. Next time I am going to grab lunch, sit in the back of our SUV and stay longer!

  • Reply
    February 20, 2014 at 11:24 PM

    I think this is a nice idea. Since I have a 3 year old I have done the majority of what is on your list, but it is reminding me that I get to experience these again with my 1.5 year old. I just recently made a point to, once a week, do one thing that I pinned from pinterest. It is also amazing how the simple things hold the attention of the kids the best.

  • Reply
    February 21, 2014 at 7:49 PM

    I like this! It is a positive thing. Frankly, it is not in my nature to schedule fun, but this serves as a good reminder to do some more fun things! I do find some of the things on the list a little naive… BUT this is NOT MY list, and I do not have to check off ALL the boxes :)… this is a good idea, so do not take any nastiness personally.

  • Reply
    February 21, 2014 at 10:45 PM

    I don’t look at it as scheduling fun. More like as a reminder to slow down and help your child(ren) experience these childhood “rights of passage” so to speak. I don’t see anything wrong with this! I love this idea.

  • Reply
    February 22, 2014 at 1:01 PM

    I don’t have kids yet, but I think this is a great idea. It can be so easy to get into a rut (for anybody!), and a list of activities would be so helpful, especially when there are probably plenty of fun activities right in your own home or just around the corner that you’ve never thought about before.

    Also, I added a couple of new ideas to your list based on things my friends enjoy doing with their little ones. I hope that’s ok, since I don’t fit into the “Mom of a 1-4 y/o” category yet!

    P.S. The dress Lexi wore for Valentines day was so stinking cute. I cannot get over it. 🙂

  • Reply
    February 22, 2014 at 8:58 PM

    This is a great idea- I really believe in letting kids be kids. We spend a lot of time playing in the dirt and fingerprinting, stuff like that. My dad used to take us out in the middle of the night to see astronomical events like comets and so forth. Lexi might enjoy that.

    Totally off topic, but I am surprised that you rarely get rain! I grew up just a few hours from Naples and it rained every day, all summer long. We were in Sarasota for two weeks this summer and it rained every afternoon. When I think of FL, I think of rain! And lightning.

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      February 23, 2014 at 12:59 AM

      I mean in the winter time. And this summer was dryish. The type of rain that summer brings lasts 10-30 mins and dries up before you can even put your boots on. We have been able to go puddle jumping like 2-3 times in the whole year. And then Lexi got a ear of the outside drive away and that stopped. Lol
      Hoping to do more on that this summer if it has good day long rains.

  • Reply
    February 23, 2014 at 8:40 PM

    If you search childhood unplugged on IG, there’s already an established account that posts daily photos of the same type of thing (I follow the account) and it’s great. But I’d switch the name of your project if I were you just so you don’t butt heads with anyone.

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      February 24, 2014 at 1:50 PM

      Oh I’m not looking to making it an IG meme. If we decide to se a hashtag it can be pretty much anything else.

    • Reply
      February 24, 2014 at 2:26 PM

      There is also a whole blog that features photos of kids unplugged. It’s such an inspiring website. childhoodunplugged.com
      I agree she should switch the name and stop deleting my comments about it.

      • Reply
        Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
        February 24, 2014 at 3:20 PM

        First of all, if you’re going to be commenting on my blog, at least give the courtesy of not speaking of me in the third person.
        Secondly, I have not deleted your comments about it. Not sure what you’re referring to.

        And thirdly, I am not looking to go huge on this or make it a photographer’s challenge like childhoodunplugged.com is. This is for mothers for want to do fun things with their kids and want to be inspired regardless of what kind of camera they have. Photos don’t really matter here. Going out there and doing things is the goal and if you happen to capture a great shot, then it’s even better.

  • Reply
    February 28, 2014 at 5:47 PM

    Nice idea, and nice to see so many suggestions.

    But – how in heck did “first McDonalds” get to the top of the list?!? Yikes. That’s kind of sad. (Though the fact that they have managed to market themselves to the point of becoming a “must-do” toddler experience is quite incredible – not good, just…notable.)

    It’s definitely NOT something I will be seeking or celebrating with my toddler! But I am going to enjoy a lot of these other ones!

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      February 28, 2014 at 8:38 PM

      It has to be a joke, honestly.

      • Reply
        March 1, 2014 at 11:56 AM

        Yeah, I guess it must be. I’m going to choose to believe that, anyway!

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