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Fun With Kids in Nature | A Scavenger Hunt in the Woods
What We Found on Our Scavenger Hunt in the Woods
Active Kids are Healthier Kids
When you have a lot of kids, or even one, it can be hard to keep them active and entertained. Sure there are video games,movies, and other things to deaden the senses, but what can you do together that doesn't involve a T.V. or computer?
Maybe you can go on a walk outside, do a scavenger hunt, or take a drive to a random destination to explore. What is described below is a fun filled day of adventure that involves all three.
We have found that we can entice our kids and build anticipation with vague titles. This particular adventure was hyped as: Fun with Kids in Nature. Sometimes we use this to help our kids make suggestions based on what they think it means. Sometimes we just like to make them wonder what we could possibly be planning. Once we have figured out the basic details of the adventure we give it an extended name, in this case: A Scavenger Hunt in the Woods on a Path to No Place in Particular.
Fall in Love With the Journey!
Creating a Plan to Find Fun for Kids in Nature
The Goals for our Adventure in Nature:
- Get Outside and Away Form Pollution- Sounds like nature is calling.
- See Something New- We get tired of the same old thing day in and day out.
- Make a Memory- The time we have with our kids is precious; we like to make it memorable too.
The Challenge of Finding Fun in Nature:
- Where do we go that will be adventurous and safe?
- How do we find something new?
- How do we make it fun for a mixed family of 8 people.
What We Have to Make it Happen:
- Time to play for an entire day.
- A Vehicle that fits the whole family.
- Enough gas to drive approximately one hour each way.
- Adventure Spirits and Able Bodies.
The Rules for the Day:
- No Whining
- No Fighting
- No Crying
- No Asking "Are we there yet?"
- If we are eating food... No Choking.
The Participants for Our Outdoor Adventure:
- 1 Mom
- 3 Girls; Ages: 8, 10, & 12
- 1 Dad;
- 3 Boys; Ages: 8, 10, & 14
A Question: What would the Brady Bunch do?
The Answer: We are not The Brady's, though sometimes with 6 kids it would be nice to have an Alice.
Some Things on Our List
A Scanevger Hunt on A Path To No Place in Particular
The Supply List for A Scavenger Hunt in The Woods:
- A Camera - Take Only Pictures; Leave Only Footprints
- A Coin To Flip
- A Pad of Paper and a Pen for Writing
- A List of Things to Find (See Below For More Detail)
HOW TO PLAY
A Road Trip With No Destination - One way to find something new.
Pick a Direction and Drive for 30 Minutes. After 30 minutes let the kids decide the direction to travel. At each intersection let one child say heads or tails and a direction left or right. If they are correct guessing heads or tails they get to choose straight or the direction they chose. If they guess wrong we head in the opposite direction.
Example: Heads - Right. If the coin is heads the child gets to choose straight or right. If the coin comes up tails then head left.
Each child gets one direction override per trip. Meaning if they lose the coin toss, but going in another direction looks so much more enticing, they get one chance to veto the direction of the coin.
Example: Heads - Right comes up tails; child has one chance to override the left turn and go straight or right.
Allow yourself 10 - 15 minutes to find a suitable place to park and start your scavenger hunt. You can always start you scavenger hunt in the car by making a list of things you are likely to see on the road.
The Walk of Infinite Possibility:
Once you have a suitable place to park, the real adventure begins. If there are multiple directions or paths you can take, use a majority vote to decide which way to go. While walking, at each intersection use the same coin flipping technique to decide your destination. Use the pad of paper to write down a landmark and direction you turned for each coin flip. This will make sure you don't get lost on your way back. In addition, if you really like the area you can come back another time and go the opposite ways for a whole new adventure.
As you walk around, look for the items on your scavenger hunt list. This will keep everyone paying attention to all the things around them, and will allow them to really appreciate their surroundings. Take a minute to appreciate things that weren't on the list as well. You can let each kid pick 1 - 3 favorite sightings that weren't included on the scavenger hunt list. Keep your eyes open you will notice all kinds of things, and are bound to see something you have never seen before.
Making a Scavenger Hunt List:
Making the list of things to find can be a fun activity in and of itself. If you know the landscape of your final destination you can create a list in advance. You will probably be looking for different things in the city than you would in the woods, and the time of year can impact the list as well. You can assign points for items found and see how many points you can get as a family or individuals. You can assign extra points for things that might be out of place.
Example: In the winter you can look for the coolest Christmas lights. In the summer you may have a hard time finding Christmas lights, but you can add finding a house with Christmas lights as a bonus item, you never know what you will find when you are looking. We found an outhouse in the middle of nowhere.
Coin Flipping Scavenger Hunt
This is a great game to play if you live in the woods, the city, or somewhere in between. If you live in a city flip a coin at each intersection and make a list of things you might find in an urban environment. Just get out and have some active fun with your kids. We almost always find all kinds of stuff we have never seen before. I hope the next time you are looking for an adventurous day with the kids you will give this a try. The options are limitless if you follow your sense of adventure.
Remember to take care of Mother Nature: "Take Nothing but Pictures; Leave Nothing but Footprints."
Tell Me About Active Games You Play With Your Kids
We have three girls full time and add three boys part time, we are always looking for fun and active things to do. I would love it if you commented and told me some of your activities that keep your kids entertained and healthy.