Mall Scavenger Hunt
The mall is a wonderful convenience. At a well stocked mall with a good variety of stores, everyone in your family will be able to find something that they like. If you are a bookworm then you are likely to find a bookstore within the walls of a mall, if you are a movie buff then you will certainly be able to dig out a piece of buried treasure in the form of an obscure DVD, and if you're a fan of mixing and matching varying foods – such as having a pizza with a side of egg rolls – then the food court will bring your favorites to you under one roof.
Malls are great for all of that, but next time you make a trip to the mall you may consider adding another level of benefit to the visit: scavenger hunts The variety present within most malls makes creating scavenger hunt riddles easy, and scavenger hunts in the mall can help turn a common afternoon into a long lasting memory.
One of the best parts about the mall is the aforementioned variety that allows everyone to find something they like. If you shop as a family unit and go from store to store together, then everyone probably has a good idea of where each one of you likes to stop. So use that when making the clues for a scavenger hunt.
For instance, assume that one of your children is a fan of a book store. Instead of making a clue that talks about books, make a clue that talks about the child that likes books. And then give that clue to their sibling. This will held your children to mentally acknowledge and remember the likes and dislikes of their siblings, which will come in handy years down the line when they're old enough to purchase each other gifts for holidays. This will help them to bond.
You could even throw in a hint or two about yourself, if you feel so inclined. Something simple, like “Mom's favorite smoothie,” would do just fine. It works on the same principal as the sibling bonding does and it brings out things they already knew in the back of their heads to the forefront of their minds.
Turn Your Shopping List Into A Scavenger Hunt
Don't just walk into the mall with a shopping list. That is bland, boring, and mundane. Instead, get your children interested in the shopping trip by challenging them to decode a list of clues to lead them to items that you intend to purchase.
So instead of writing “A New Watch” you could write something more cryptic. Try for a riddle, perhaps one along the lines of “What tells you something all day long without saying a single word? What ticks you off without making you angry?” Try to adjust the difficulty of these clues to the age of your children. Younger children will need simpler clues, but older children will need more of an intellectual challenge. Plan for this accordingly.
The best part about this is the way that it takes the effort out of hiding things as you would generally be expected to do for a regular scavenger hunt. If you're worried that certain items won't be in stock for some reason, consider calling ahead in the morning. You can make adjustments to your list based on what they tell you during this phone call and your kids will be none the wiser.
A Convenient Workout
Malls are already a good place to get a workout. People will sometimes come to bigger malls just to walk around them instead of jogging down the street. And when you are on a regular trip to the mall you may end up inadvertently joining them. As you dart from store to store you might just tip the scales in preparation for any stop later made at the food court.
So why not make your scavenger hunt out to be this way purposely? You can weave the clues and riddles so that your kids are forced to double back to stores that they have previously visited for new purchases off of your list. Depending on the age of your child, consider some simple red hearings to mix things up. Clues that could have double meanings and lead them in the wrong direction will certainly extend their walking time. Don't rely too heavily on these, as they can be discouraging, but they're a nice twist to the general scavenger hunt riddle formula.
And if you're attempting to make your kids eat healthier you could even make one of the better-for-them foods part of the list, working their lunch into things so that they are effectively tricked into eating a more balanced meal.
Or, alternatively, you could use this as an opportunity to test their knowledge of each others' favorite foods. It would probably be the less healthy option, as kids generally don't favor the most nutritious of things, but it could fit well with the previous bonding suggestion.
All in all, if your kids are reluctant to leave the house and get some fresh air, this might be a great way to make shopping more fun for them. Kids and teens already tend to love the mall, so why not sweeten the deal? They won't object to the idea of shopping in their favorite stores, and you can even plan things so that you get to make a stop in yours.
If done right, a mall scavenger hunt will craft fond memories for all involved. Think of the bond you will create between your children and the bond they will feel towards you. This is a low effort activity that can yield a high reward. You just need to plan everything out properly and sell it to your kids from the “you'll each get something neat” angle. Just be careful not to spoil them too badly, or they may come to expect it as a regular event. Balance is key here.