By Jan Pease
A parent at the ECFE (Early Childhood Family Education) advisory council meeting December 1 made a statement about giving your children the gift of experience. Her words stuck with me. I admire the intentionality of this family as they teach their children lessons about what really matters.
Of course, the first experience that came to my mind was our wonderful library. A library card is one of the most empowering gifts our children can receive. I love to watch parents show their children how to use books. Imagine the delight of a very young child opening and closing a book for the first time. It’s incredible.
Last summer some of the Pioneerland Library System libraries had a small folder they called a library passport. As patrons visited various libraries in PLS, the librarian would stamp or sign the passport. I think visiting libraries in the many towns served by PLS would be a family road trip worth doing. The member libraries addresses, phone numbers and hours can be found on the Pioneerland website, http://www.pioneerland.lib.mn.us/members.htm
The Meeker County Historical Society and GAR Hall in the block next to the library is a small gem of a museum. They are open Tuesday-Sunday noon to 4 p.m. Many towns, both large and small have unique little museums.
People drive here from places near and far to come to Lake Ripley, which I take completely for granted. You can bike or walk or run around the lake or shoot arrows in the archery park. There is a gorgeous playground there, and lovely Anderson Gardens.
Lake Ripley Cemetery is a beautiful place for a respectful visit. We taught our daughter respect for property, how to read numbers and how to subtract to find age at death. Yes, it’s kind of a quirky place to visit with a child, but the cemetery is full of history and not a scary place at all.
Turck’s Trees out by Forest City has become a winter experience complete with reindeer and hot chocolate. Fun! There are other memorable things to do – keep in mind the Forest City Stockade which celebrated their Pioneer Christmas event December 3rd.
The Litchfield Community Education Brochure is full of interesting things to do as a family with the emphasis on do. People seldom say that they regret spending so much time together. Most of the time I hear something like, “I was so busy when the kids were young; I wish I could ______________. “ Give the gift of time together this winter.