- So, this post isn’t so much about the garden, but about kids.
Regular readers know that I have four kids and that I homeschooled all four. The two oldest two are 20 and 21 the younger are 14 and 8. Having things for kids to “do” has been part of my life for twenty years. Today, I want to tell you about a fun game we would play that I’ve modified a bit to be more garden friendly.
Have a Nature Scavenger Hunt! Give your kids a list of things to “scavenge” or find around your yard or neighborhood. This is really fun to play when your kids have friends over as well, split them into a couple or more teams and let them go.
Make sure they have a watch and tell them what the time limit is, an hour is usually good. Older kids usually want a little more time, two or three hours, if the list is particularly challenging or long. Speaking of the list, I’m giving you one that we have used, but you should make or modify the list to suit your neighborhood. Before we get started, think about this…
I’m just going to assume that you would send kids that are on the younger side along with an older responsible person. Remember to tell all the kids to stay within the boundaries you’ve set, watch out for each other, and never go into another house or yard without your permission. You want them to have fun, but they must always be safe.
Make sure they understand that they must be respectful of other peoples property and yards. If kids traipse through your neighbors prize begonias, looking for a beetle or a mushroom, your neighbor isn’t going to care one way or another that they ‘found” it! She’s going to be livid that her babies have been trampled, and with good cause. Make sure they understand that they are to respect the yards and property everywhere they look.
Finally, Be Imaginative!
(Notice, I used Barney color for the imagination part?) Tell them to use their imaginations for some of the things. Once, my daughter couldn’t find a spider (I’m not convinced she looked very hard, as she doesn’t care for them) so, she made a “spider” from rocks and pipe cleaners. There was protest from her competitive brother, to no avail, it had a thorax, eight legs and she had even drawn little eyes. It passed. (“And if you don’t stop your bellyaching about it, I’m going to give her extra points for using her imagination!”…crickets)
So here’s a list to get you started…
- Four different kinds of flowers.
- Two different dogs (tell them to not approach any dogs they don’t know)
- A snail
- A caterpillar (very hungry, or not)
- Any rodent
- A spider
- A mushroom
- An orange cat
- Four different birds
- A pine cone, acorn or seed
- Dandelion flower
- Dandelion Seed head (now you can tell them the difference)
- Four different kinds of rocks (again, you can talk about the differences)
Many kids now have phones that have a camera. Have a picture hunt. Have them take a picture of things, this is a fun thing to do at a sleep over, after the hunt they can gather around a screen and see the pictures the other teams took. You can also do video if you want.
Sound Scavenger Hunt, again, either provide recording devices for a couple of teams or have them use their phones. You would have a list of sounds to collect: running water, a balloon popping, a bell, a sneeze, a marching band, oldies music, a baby crying (make sure they know that can’t make the baby cry), someone singing all four parts of a song (soprano, alto, bass, and tenor) you can think of your own.
Bigger or Better
For older kids, this is a fun one. This is the kind where they will go door to door in a neighborhood. Two or three teams (each with an adult with them, never send kids to knock on doors without an adult present) are given something very small and insignificant to start with, a paperclip, a penny or a matchstick are all good. They go to the neighbors house and say, “Hello, we’re on a bigger or better scavenger hunt, we were wondering if you could possibly help us by trading this (paperclip) for something bigger or better than this (paperclip). At the end of the night you will have two (or three depending on how many teams you had) big items, then a vote is done on which of the items is the winner, either the biggest or the best. Winners of this annual event at the church we did this with included a recliner chair and a six foot purple stuffed monkey. Those kids are now grown and have kids of their own and they still talk about, “remember that time we carried that recliner three blocks…”
What are some great scavenger hunts you’ve done? I’d love to hear about them. I still have two kids at home that are prime candidates for scavenger hunts. Staving off boredom is always something parents and grandparents need to know how to do during those sultry summer months with kids and grandkids.
I know it hasn’t been very “gardeny” today, but I do think it has been plenty paisley.
Have a great Tuesday!~KeriAnne