We have another idea of Matt Brown’s today, taken from his fabulous book Trapped Indoors with Kids: 100 Ways to Play, Have Fun and Stay Sane (99p from Amazon). We love this book, and its a bargain – we hope you like it too.
Children love to be set a challenge, and if you declare that there is treasure to be found, they will jump into action and channel their inner pirate. Turn your house into a desert island, inspire your children to embark on a session of independent imaginary play and buy yourself a little window of time to crack on with tasks.
You will need:
- Small items of treasure—e.g. marbles or polished stones
- Paper and pencil (optional)
- Tape measure and compass (optional)
How to play:
- Select a dozen or so small objects—treasure-like in nature if you have them—and keep a note of how many there are.
- Without your child’s knowledge (easier said than done!), hide the objects around the house. Concentrate really hard on where you’ve hidden them. You will no doubt be required to remember later on if your child can’t find them all.
- Set your child off on their hunt, and be prepared to chip in with hints now and again.
“I can’t find the jade coloured stone.”
“Have you thought of looking somewhere…televisual?”
“You look at this for about an hour each day.”
“When do you stare at your knees?”
“When I’m pooing.”
“Firstly, you don’t poo for an hour a day, and secondly, how can I hide a stone on your knees?”
“Give me another clue.”
“You sit and stare at it and laugh at it.”
“Hey! No, not my face. It’s a big rectangle with sound and light coming out of it.”
“An open window.”
“No. It has the initials T and V.”
“No you plug it in.”
“No! It’s the TV. The TV! It’s right here, on the TV!”
“Dad. You didn’t have to give it away.”
An alternative to this game is to hide clues that lead from one to another, leading to a piece of treasure (or a mid-afternoon snack!) at the end. The clues need not be too complicated. I often draw the object (e.g. child’s wellie) of where the next clue is to be found.
This activity can keep your children occupied for an afternoon if the theme of the game grabs your child’s imagination. When it comes their turn to hide clues, my girls like to spend an hour or more concocting a series of elaborate piratey scrolls, that are invariably still popping up in strange places a week down the line!
“I did the laundry this morning.”
“That’s nice, Dad.”
“Guess what I found stuffed inside my jeans pockets?”
“Um…loose change that I can have?”
“Scrolls. I found scrolls–after I’d put them in the laundry basket.”
“Oh yes! Can I see?”
“You can see bits of them. Stuck to my jeans.”
“Never mind, Dad. I’ll make some more for you.”
“And guess what else I found–in every one of my socks?”
This is a fun idea, isn’t it? If you think your kids will enjoy it why not try out other ideas from the book?
If you’re looking for more ideas then these are also sure to spark your imagination.
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