Barneblad: Summer’s secret play

Photo: Heidi Håvan Grosch A new candidate for hemmelig hytte?

Photo: Heidi Håvan Grosch
A new candidate for hemmelig hytte?

Heidi Håvan Grosch
Sparbu, Norway

My niece and goddaughter come to our farm every year for “Art Camp.” Besides eating ice cream, being silly, and staying up late, they like to play outside in secret or hidden places. It is amazing what something can become with a little imagination and a friend.

A few years ago, we found the perfect spot under some trees. The leaves made a roof and we added a floor out of an old pallet and some waterproof wallboard we found in the basement. I was only a shout away when they needed water, treats, or more chairs. Last summer they spent hours playing, washing the floor, and sitting at their table (found in the dumpster and painted by them), chatting and telling secrets. This summer we took the fence down that created the wall that helped “hide” their secret place. Suddenly, their secret cabin (hemmelig hytte) wasn’t so secret anymore!

Photo: Heidi Håvan Grosch  The old hemmelig hytte, now a stage, has already seen one concert this summer.

Photo: Heidi Håvan Grosch
The old hemmelig hytte, now a stage, has already seen one concert this summer.

So this summer, we have been on a mission to find a new secret place to play. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you where it is or it won’t be a secret any longer! Are you wondering what happened to the old hemmelig hytte? It has now become a stage, with the audience sitting out in the Christmas tree field, and this summer we have already had one concert.

Perhaps you can find or make your own hemmelig hytte this summer? Outside is best, but inside works too. There are other secret things to do this summer. How about a good game of hide-and-seek? In Norway, hide-and-seek is called gjemsel.

secret garden

Maybe you would like to read a book about a girl with a secret garden? Den hemmelige hagen (The Secret Garden) by Frances Hodgson Burnett was written in 1911, but the story is still good to read today. It is about Mary Lennox who goes to live with her uncle out in the country. She is lonely until she finds a friend in Dickon, Martha, and later Colin. She discovers a secret garden and the wonderment that comes in watching something grow. The Secret Garden was first translated into Norwegian in 1918.

Secret notes are also fun, and it isn’t hard to make your own invisible ink. You can write with milk or lemon juice, and then heat the paper to read it. You can write with a white crayon, and then paint over the writing with a watercolor paint to read the message. There are more ideas on this website, Elementary Science Program (www.espsciencetime.org/student_life.cfm?subpage=295235) or google “invisible ink.”

Photo: Jimmie / Flickr  You can spell out your secret plan in white crayon, then go over it with watercolor paint to reveal what you’ve written.

Photo: Jimmie / Flickr
You can spell out your secret plan in white crayon, then go over it with watercolor paint to reveal what you’ve written.


This article is a part of Barneblad, a monthly feature by Heidi Håvan Grosch to share with kids and grandkids.

This article originally appeared in the July 15, 2016, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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