>Fun in the park with kids

>Toward the end of the school year, students want nothing to do with book learning. ‘Don’t know much’ seems to be their trademark phrase. ‘Do I have to?’ is the second. If it involves getting up and out and moving, though, no one is short volunteers! With the craziness in mind, we planned a simple end-of-year outing in a neighboring park.

First: the Dinosaur Egg Hunt. Enter Mr. Fifth Grade Teacher.
“Did you hear the news? Our park is all over the newspapers and television reports! Did you hear why? Dinosaur eggs have been found here! We divided you into groups to help search for them. Each egg has a group number on it. Your group must find the one with your number on it. Oh, and by the way – they look a lot like watermelon.”

When the “eggs” were found and kids had eaten all the watermelon they wanted, we let them play freely. Bocci, ladderball, lawn golf (croquet), football, basketball, or the playground provided plenty of choices. If the dinosaur eggs were not enough, my partner-in-crime, er, teaching had brought a cereal mix that we served in ice cream cones to minimize garbage. No one went hungry, there was a bathroom nearby, plenty of shade trees and sun to satisfy any taste in weather or in games.

Of course, one of the Gifted and Talented students provided his own entertainment.

Me: “Jorge, what are you doing?” He was squatted on the ground, looking into the bottom of a hollow pole that held up a stage railing in the park pavilion.
Jorge: “I just found (pulls out tiny item) a geocache!”
Classmates: “What’s a geocache?”
Jorge explained it and they were hooked. I predict a few kids will beg their parents to buy a GPS and link to local geocaching web sites this summer.
Me: “If I had a pen, you could sign in!”
Jorge: “That’s okay, Mrs. Teacher. I’ve already found this one. See, my name is right there.”
He pointed out his signature, which was followed by several others who had found the geocache after he did.

Jorge put the tiny cylinder back together, hung it inside the iron post again (it was magnetic), and walked with me and the others to get lined up to walk back to school.

Dinosaur eggs, cones of trail mix, games and a surprise geocaching. I think I can call it a successful day. Successful year? I’ll reserve judgment. Today, I’ll settle for a fun day at the park.

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