Games on the Go
July 22, 2012

Games on the Go

An exerpt from Outdoors with Kids Boston

There’s a reason Easter egg hunts are so popular: Kids love to search for things! Clue and search games are great ways to get kids to engage with their environment. With a little work on your part, you can create games in advance of your outing—or even create one ad hoc. While kids, especially younger ones, might not always reach the answers on their own, that’s OK. You’re there to guide them; you can incorporate helpful tips, like “You’re getting hotter or colder,” another way to keep them engaged.

Scavenger Hunts

Kids of all ages enjoy cracking clues to discover the world around them. To plan a hunt, visit the destination ahead of time and plot out a reasonable geographic zone—a corner of the Boston Common (Trip 3) for younger children, the whole of Mount Auburn Cemetery (Trip 19) or a stretch of the Cliff Walk (Trip 91) for older kids—and select a dozen or more things they can identify: varieties of trees, certain shapes or types of rocks, acorns, historical markers, statues—the possibilities are endless.

Once you’ve chosen the answers, write your clues. For example, “Mrs. Mallard leads this pack.” (Answer: the Make Way for Ducklings statue in the Public Garden.) On-the-fly hunts—spot an object and design a leading question—are a good way to recharge and redirect kids when patience wanes; they also allow you to set kids in search of living creatures, which you can’t count on being present during a planned hunt.

I Spy

This classic can be played anywhere. From the trail, “I spy with my eye something that is white.” First clue not enough? “Something that is rounded on top.” Still need more? “Something that is also food for animals.” (Answer: a mushroom.)

Camera Seek-and-Find

Technology can sometimes enhance an outing, as is often the case with digital cameras. Hand the camera over to your child and make a list of “picture goals.” Can she find a leaf that’s been chewed? Can he spot a tree with pinecones? Can she shoot an image of a bird in flight? This activity will vary greatly by your child’s age and interests. Give a couple of tips and suggestions, and then let him or her lead the way!


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Tip of the Day

Help a neighbor: Whether it’s the season for shoveling snow, raking leaves, or weeding their garden, your kids will get double benefits from being outdoors and building community.

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