I'm a big fan of scavenger hunts because they can easily be adapted for all ages and played at home or on the go. You can gather the items, shout out when you see them (similar to I Spy), or snap pics to turn it into a photo scavenger hunt. Set a time limit to make it a contest or keep it running as an on-going game. Play it like Bingo by making a game piece and giving the first person to find the items and cross them off a prize.
The possibilities are endless and you can use scavenger hunts to teach or entertain. You can tell the kids what to look for, write them down, or use pictures to create a list for young children.
As a teaching tool
Use this fun game to teach children about colors, shapes, and numbers. Let them look around the house for blue objects, like a pen or piece of candy. Ask them to find things with a certain shape, like a circle coaster or ball. Have them look for three things that have a number on them.
Out and About
Read a story about local birds in your area. Take a walk in your neighborhood and try to scout some of the feathered friends you read about. Don't forget your camera! Back at home, you can reinforce your learning with a craft and make a simple bird feeder with materials you have on hand.
Just for Fun
Kids enjoy the annual Easter egg hunt so why not give them another day to enjoy the fun? Instead of eggs, you can hide any group of objects like blocks or toy trucks. Or, just let them look for common items like a glue stick or string. For some evening entertainment, pick up some glow sticks at your local dollar store, scatter them around, and have a glow in the dark scavenger hunt!
Out and About
Most kids I know don't like to shop. Turn a mundane afternoon at the mall or grocery store into a game. Look for a person wearing a cowboy hat or green shoes. Find a man with a mustache or a woman pushing a stroller. Search for a perfume sample, sales flyers, or an ATM machine. Or, take the game outdoors and find things in nature like a smooth rock and something plastic, twisted, or sticky.
However you choose to play, make sure it's age appropriate and safe. Most importantly, have fun!
Our guest blogger:
Melissa Choate is a native Phoenician and stay at home mom to a teenage girl and one year old son. Her blog, Nouns and Violets, is about family life and fun stuff in Phoenix. Her pink laptop is like an extra appendage - she is rarely seen without it! When she's not spending time with her family or blogging she's working on a novel that she hopes to finish sometime this century.