The Unusual Pursuit of Squirrel Trapping

We have an abundance of squirrels in our yard. My six-year-old son really wants to catch one. He says because he wants to provide food and leather for our family. We have never used squirrels for these purposes before, but this is my son’s pursuit regardless. I think fun is the more likely reason for this pursuit, but the reason is not the point.

The point is that even though this is not a typical pursuit for a six-year-old (or maybe it is, I have no comparison since he is my oldest), I am not only allowing it, but encouraging it because he has exemplified several good qualities through this pursuit.

  • Planning - He drew up a plan on paper of how to trap the squirrel. He has made revisions to his plan as he feels necessary along the way.
  • Resourcefulness - We didn’t have all of the items that he wanted in his original plan, so he had to adapt his plan until he made a version that we had all the items for.
  • Problem solving - I encouraged him to trap the squirrel on his own without my help. Multiple times, he hypothesized solutions to his problems and carried them out. He figured out how to tie knots in string and that he needed squirrel bait to attract the squirrels and how to safely get the squirrel bait (bird food) from a bird feeder that he couldn’t reach.
  • Patience - Since his trap involves him physically pulling a string to close it, he has learned to stand very still and quiet for extended periods of time. What mother wouldn’t enjoy their son learning more patience?
  • Scientific experimentation - He has done experiments to determine which type of food the squirrels like best so he knows which type to use for his trap. For the record, the squirrels in our yard do not seem to like radishes (and neither do my children).

As of this writing, my son has not yet caught any squirrels. I am thankful because I’m not excited about cooking or eating squirrel or figuring out how to tan squirrel hide (My son really wants me to do these things). However, dissecting the squirrel with my children is something I think I can do and I feel will be beneficial to my children (I was a country girl who went pre-med). By any account, if my son catches a squirrel, it will be a very educational day for all of us!

I just never know what unusual pursuit of my children will lead to good educational opportunities like this one did.

What unusual pursuits have your children followed that turned out to be educational?


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