Scavenger Hunts

A scavenger hunt is a fun way to keep little hands busy. It can be pre-planned or spur of the moment, either way it will still be great fun. This is a great activity for children of all ages, for younger children make it simple and tell them exactly what they are looking for. If you are playing with older children, give them hints and see if they can guess and find what they are supposed to be looking for.

The best type of scavenger hunt is a nature one that can be played in your backyard or in the park. This will lessen the chances of children picking up garbage and having to leave your supervision to do their hunting. A good rule of thumb for nature scavenger hunts is to incorporate a lesson for the kids and have them find items already on the ground so they can be gentle to nature.

Some examples of nature scavenger hunt items are:

* A special color or shaped leaf
* A flower – specify color or type
* Rocks – size, shape, or color
* Ladybug, ant, or a worm
* Moss
* Pinecone
* Anything of a certain color

With some pre-planning and a trip to the dollar store you can have a scavenger hunt with any theme you can think of. Turn it into a secret agent mission and hide clues that they have to find or make it a treasure hunt and hide chocolate gold coins that they have to hunt for. This is an activity that can take at least an hour or more. If you have older children and know your neighbors quite well, you can include items that they can knock on doors to find – a penny from a certain year, a cinnamon stick, an unmatched sock –
have fun with it.

Put on a Play

Kids love to dress-up in costumes or other articles of clothing that aren’t their own. Instead of putting away the Halloween costumes each year, leave them out in a play chest to be used year-round.

Whether you have lots of Halloween costumes or old clothes that you don’t wear anymore instead of getting rid of them let your kids have them. You will be amazed and pleasantly surprised at the imaginative play that will result from playing dress-up. Encourage them to get dressed-up and to put on a play in their costumes. Invite the neighborhood kids over to participate or just watch the show.

Props are great too, let the kids go around the house (with the rule that it will all be put away) to collect things they need for a play. A curtain and stage aren’t necessary, but if you can find a way to improvise for either it will add to the excitement and sense of pride the children will have for their production.

You can get involved too. Let your children direct you on what you need to say or do during the play. Get into the role and have fun, don’t worry who is watching or that you can’t act your kids will be thrilled that you are joining in the fun.

The play may change each time, or the same play may be acted out again and again. Consider videoing the efforts for future enjoyment or add the video to a time capsule to be opened in 5-10 years from now. Just keep in mind that the type of tape or disc you are using may be obsolete by the time you open the time capsule. Or transcribe the play and write out the script to add to the time capsule, maybe your grandchildren will use it in the future.

Library Events

The library is a magical place to children, full of so many books, magazines, and movies that they can take home to use and then bring back. But most libraries offer more to children than just being able to take home books. A library is a community place with many free events to participate in.

Check with your local library branch to find out when they have story time for children. In some libraries there will be multiple times in a week some will specify that they are for children of certain ages only. These are usually interactive story times with the children participating or a puppet show might be put on to tell the story. If the time you want to go is for younger children, have the older ones find a book of their own to read in a quiet corner while their younger siblings enjoy the show.

Craft days or magic shows are both events that a library will host for children. These are mostly done during spring and summer breaks. Some libraries require a pre-registration to ensure they aren’t overbooked, or the library doesn’t become too crowded. Try and get a calendar of events from the librarian so you can be aware of what is coming up and don’t miss out.

Reading clubs are available at the library for all ages including moms and dads. Set an example and join one for the summer and let your children join one or start one of their own. By seeing a parent read it can encourage children to pick up a book too.

Chess clubs or other organizations can be found at the library too. The library is utilized by many different clubs as a meeting place. Find out what groups meet at your local library and see if your children are interested in joining one for the summer.