The Summer of Independence Begins!

'Tis the season for kids to spread their wings. Encourage, enjoy -- and document this!

Fun! Sun! Freeeeeeeeeedom!

We all want kids to enjoy the Norman Rockwell stuff they might not get much chance to do the rest of the year: making forts, shooting hoops, selling some ice cold (or formerly ice cold) lemonade, learning card tricks, turning cartwheels, climbing something high, digging something deep, playing in some water source, and — perhaps above all else — finding someone to play with. All of which involves us adults stepping back so the kids can feel the thrill of doing something without us right there.

The weekly Let Grow challenge:

Each summer week, Let Grow is going to present a little challenge, should you — or, really, your kids — choose to accept. So to kick things off: Time for your kids to run an errand!

Make your life a little easier and theirs a little more adventurous: Channel those Japanese parents in Old Enough and send your kids out to get some soba noodles, sushi rice, or fresh sea urchins from the fish market.

Or at least some Fritos from the 7-Eleven.

If your kids already run errands to the store, see if they might go a little further this time, or use some new form of transit.

Document, baby!

And take pictures! And videos! (Without making the kids so self-conscious that the whole thing starts to smack of bad reality TV.) Share your successes over on our Raising Independent Kids Facebook page. But save a few pix, too. Because soon we’ll be launching our Third Annual Let Grow Independence Challenge, asking to see kids up to something new, on their own. So gather your material as ye may.

And to start — just open that door!