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Discussion: Toddler orienteering

in: Orienteering; General

Mar 4, 2017 7:58 PM # 
One of the joys of my spring/summer is bumping around to the many city parks/splash pads/play areas in Toronto with my (now 3 year old) daughter Anabel. I cherish the times I can load her up in the chariot, go for a run, then cool off in a splash pad, hang around a park and enjoy the sun.

I'm especially looking forward to this spring/summer...(I now have a 6 month old named Hank to load up too!!)

With that said, i'm planning on putting on informal 'pop up' toddler/youth orienteering 'events' throughout the spring/summer. It'll be nothing more than setting out some controls and having maps available for parents and their children to give it a try. Anabel's already excited to make maps and put out flags!

A string course will without a doubt be a staple.

I'm wondering what others have done for similar events? Cool string course ideas?

What works? What to watch out for?

Looking forward to some feedback.

Note: It's looking like an extension of this idea will culminate at quite a high profile event in Toronto in June. It's not set in stone yet, but very likely. I'll provide details as things progress. And I must say, any ideas from this thread will surely aid in making it happen.

(I really shouldn't jinx it, but it's quite exciting!)
Mar 4, 2017 8:48 PM # 
Check out what SOGO Adventure Running has done with their Squirts (ages 2-5) program.

Time for ARK to debut in T.O.?
Mar 4, 2017 11:48 PM # 
String course with epunch is always a hit, if you have sufficient equipment. :-)
Mar 5, 2017 2:53 AM # 
Pop-up "events" are an idea I'd like to pursue. I'm always envious whenever I see people kicking a ball around. We need to make orienteering this do-able. Good luck and pse report progress here...
Mar 6, 2017 7:26 AM # 
That's the idea gruver. It's a non-event.

Instead of Anabel sharing a ball or her shovels to play in the sand, she'll be sharing a map and some flags.

...just another thing to do at the park.
Mar 6, 2017 8:29 PM # 
We did streamer O on the some regular meets for little kids when our daughter was little too. We did not have epunches at that time, so I used stickers, they had to put on their punch card. And also got those Little Troll patches that were available from OUSA at that time, not sure if it still exists. And for example on Easter put easter eggs on controls.
Mar 6, 2017 8:42 PM # 
Little Troll patches are still available.
Mar 7, 2017 7:09 PM # 
Klepperton, count me/us in for sure! My two (5 and 3) have been constantly inquiring when we'll "go on our next adventure" (how they refer to finding flags in the woods). If it comes down to just us, we can alternate responsibility and meet up in parks around the city.

...Hammer - seed planting for ARK Toronto.
Mar 8, 2017 9:50 AM # 
Orienteering NSW did some amazing work running a Halloween themed orienteering day involving orienteering for kids and Halloween games. They called it Spooks in the Park and it was a roaring success! Soo many kids and parents and they saw a good return of kids into their junior program. They do this kind of thing regularly with fantastic results! Always looks like soo much fun!!

So with ONSW's permission we (Orienteering WA, Australia) did our own smaller version in 2015 under their trademark Spooks in the Park. It involved a small little park, lots of games and interactive activities, a map telling you to follow the pumpkins. It was just like a string course for the kids but with activities, once the children completed the activity they would receive a hole punch on their map. At the end of the course they got a small prize (bubble wand or a small toy rat). It was a surprise to get over 600 kids and parents attending! First time running it and the local newspaper featured our event as the top event of the week for Halloween. Just to make it clear - Halloweeen isn't big in popularity in Australia (but it is catching on). Our sporting regualtors (DSR) wanted to nominate us for best state community event because it was so good! We did get soo many kids with their families that had never orienteered before but we weren't very organised in the follow through to get them coming back.

Check out our photos from spooks:

The year after we had a clashing MTBO Nationals in October, so we ran a small string course for the kids at a local urban event. It was a last minute thing with no advertising but was very well received. See photos here:

Maybe given how popular Halloween is in the US and Canada you guys could consider doing something similar?
Mar 8, 2017 3:22 PM # 
Mar 8, 2017 4:07 PM # 
We've been talking a lot about this, both organizationally as Rootstock Racing and in wanting to teach our toddler basic navigation. Eager to see how your efforts develop!
Mar 9, 2017 10:25 AM # 
I ran a birthday orienteering event at my sons (4 years old)birthday, it was like finding the treasure event.. with a real treasure box full with treats at the last CP, I will share with you the map soon.
Mar 9, 2017 1:31 PM # 
Here is the map used..for the bday party

Mar 9, 2017 1:57 PM # 
Where was my invite?

Is it bad that I know that aerial is from Bayswater Riverside Gardens?
Mar 9, 2017 2:02 PM # 
You were invited! but i think you couldn't come on the day as well as to our farewell party from Perth

Yep, Bayswater back yard
Mar 9, 2017 11:14 PM # 
I do not recall either of these invites at all and it's not like I've had a lot on lately. Did they come via Facebook?
Mar 10, 2017 12:32 AM # 
Mia Culpa!
Mar 10, 2017 5:22 AM # 
You mean that film star was to blame?
Mar 10, 2017 5:58 AM # 
Whoops mea culpa.

I can't even blame querty as those letters are no-where near eachother!!!
Mar 10, 2017 8:14 AM # 
Querty? Really? :)
Mar 10, 2017 8:20 AM # 
Kill me now.
Mar 10, 2017 11:32 AM # 
You get that with Qashqai owners.
Mar 10, 2017 3:19 PM # 
Qwit while you're not too far behind.
Mar 10, 2017 7:43 PM # 
facebook for the last one
Mar 11, 2017 12:15 AM # 
Well there's your problem right there. You didn't invite me - you invited Tash and she decides what info to pass on.
Mar 11, 2017 1:31 AM # 
Lol :)

This discussion thread is closed.