Hide and Seek
There is just something that kids love about seeking things – Easter eggs, Halloween candy, Waldo from the Where’s Waldo series, or people in the classic game of “hide and seek.” Pursuing something requires that they use their wits and resources and can be thrilling for them; then they are rewarded with the satisfaction of finding it. The simple exercise of searching can be extremely educational at all ages. For the very young, children learn concepts like object recognition and how to follow a simple set of instructions. For older grandchildren, you can incorporate clues and riddles into searches that require thought and patience. These activities also encourage focus, persistence, and are an inexpensive and creative way to fill a morning or afternoon. Here are a few ideas that can be adapted to fit your grandchild’s age group.
- Backyard Safari. Most wee ones have a natural curiosity and excitement when it comes to animals. For a few bucks, you can pick up a set of plastic exotic animals at a local toy shop or bargain store. Start by hiding the animals in fairly obvious places and walking around with your young grandchild on the first search mission so he or she will get the concept. The next time, hide them a little more deliberately. You can get as creative and educational as you like with this activity by dressing up in safari gear, teaching lessons about animals and geography, or making up wild stories about your adventures. For older kids, use clues that require them to find particular animals or to find them in a certain order. If the weather is not cooperating, have an indoor safari!
- Search and Find Books. These books, such as Where’s Waldo, I Spy, and Elmo: Look and Find (geared towards the smallest of searchers), are a wonderful investment because they can be used at many different levels. A great search and find book can be used for years and can provide hours of educational learning time for you and your grandchild. For a small child, you can have them search for items according to color, shape, or use. For older children, you can see how quickly they can find certain things or ask them to make up a story that corresponds with three or four seemingly disparate items. Try throwing a search and find book into your bag the next time you are taking your grandchild somewhere that you might have to wait, like the doctor’s office or to get an oil change. It can provide an activity and a lesson on the go.
- Scavenger Hunts. There is so much you can do with scavenger hunts, from your living room to the great outdoors, around town or on a road trip. Kids never get tired of these because they can be different every time, especially on a long trip when your surroundings are changing by the mile. Some scavenger hunts you will need to do with your grandchildren, and for others you can sit back and relax while they run around searching excitedly. We have provided some simple lists to get your searchers started. Just click on the PDF files to view, and then print them off to take with you.
With all of the options out there for books, movies, and TV shows to share with your grandkids, you really have to do your research to make sure that the content is both entertaining and appropriate.
In the past, you could just ask a salesclerk at a children’s bookstore for suggestions. Now, salesclerks are rarely familiar with their products, and when’s the last time you saw a children’s bookstore?
The best resources for this kind of searching are reliable websites, (like yours truly), educational stores, and advice from other grandparents. While you are searching for new material for your grandkids, continue exposing them to classic movies, games and books. And, remember that nothing can beat activities that you do together. So, find some time and get searching!
We love to hear your thoughts and comments! What are the games that you play with your grandchildren? Anything they especially love to seek?