Scavenger Hunt! Outside Now!
It's pouring with rain and the skies are darker than a Cormack McCarthy novel. It can only mean one thing... British summer time is here!
Traditionally this is the time of the iPad. Let's face it, the kids have been badgering you to get on Minecraft for the last 18 hours and there's only so many times we can say no. Unfortunately, we know what follows. Ten minutes of peace and quiet... then the bickering starts.
“Jim won't let me play.... Susie lost all the coins... Adam's been on for an hour...” and so on and so on... by which point you're probably wondering if this is, what hell is like... except there's probably more fire.
Well, fret not because we at RiiRoo are with you and we're going to share some ideas to get the little blighters outside and in the fresh air where they belong.
Here's our first one... A Scavenger Hunt!
A treasure hunt or scavenger hunt if you prefer is a great secret weapon against boredom. They can be fine tuned to last ten minutes or two hours and not even the moodiest teenager can resist the urge to find stuff before their peers. They do require a little preparation, but the peace and quiet they will afford you are worth the effort.
What you'll need:
The key to a successful hunt is a strong list. You don't want the kids back in 5 minutes because you've asked them to find some rocks and twigs, but at the same time, you don't want them breaking their necks trying to climb telegraph poles or arrested for stealing garden gnomes. Sure, you'll need the easy to get stuff to get them moving, but you'll also need to include some harder challenges too. No one likes a game that's too easy.
Kids love to be part of the action and they want to get involved, besides if it's been left to you to organise, you may as well get your own back by involving as many other grown ups as possible. A good way to do this is to have your kids discover or recover something which only someone else has. Maybe the date of Granddad’s birthday or one of Nana’s special sweets.
Riddles and Codes
Kids are almost always smarter than we give them credit for. Use this to your advantage by adding some codes or riddles to your list. You can vary the codes to suit different ages too. For real youngsters try writing the names of things you want them to find like 'otatop' or 'skcos'. For older children, you can try shifting the letters one along so that apple becomes bqqmd and book becomes cppl.
Q: What starts with E and ends with E and has a single letter in it?
There's loads more to be found here: http://riddlesandanswers.treasurehuntriddles.org/
Getting kids thinking is half the challenge, but you don't want to make it too difficult. There's no peace and quiet when you have to spend hours helping your kids solve the riddles you've set them.
If you know the area well you can really spice the game up by getting the kids to actually use their feet. Is there a beach nearby where they can find shells? Or a woods where they'll find berries?
I know this kind of goes against the grain, but no matter how much we rib tablets and phones, we can't deny how useful they can be.
For tablets, there are a number of GPS treasure hunts apps out there. They’ll likely cost you a few quid, but they can achieve some impressive results. You'll need to scout out the locations and physically hide some things yourself (great for Easter egg hunts) but this does mean extra work on your behalf. Better yet look out your old mobiles, the ones you never use any more. We've all got one somewhere. Now you can really spice up the game. Wipe the phones and give your kids one each. Now you can add photos of local landmarks to the list. Like 'take a picture of the house the crooked chimney up on Manor Hill or get a photo of your school. This way you can make sure they are really getting out and about.
Have your kids got bikes, electric scooters, ride-on cars? Hover-boards? If so great not only can your adventure take them a little further afield you can also assign time limits. If you haven’t got anything like that then take a look at our website because we've got a great range!