November 03, 2012

Everyone's a Winner

What's more fun than playing a game? Winning a prize! And where kids are concerned, every effort counts, and everyone's always a winner.

This scavenger hunt game is great for kids because it:
1) gives them a chance to run around and het their ya-yas out,
2) teaches them how a checklist works,
3) gives a sense of self-confidence when an item is found,
4) for kids learning to read, it's a fun way to learn new words,
and most importantly,
5) everyone wins!

We played this scavenger hunt game at Mia's 6th birthday last summer, but it's a game that can be done any time of year. With Autumn here, there's even more reason to get outside and hunt for nature's treasures in your yard, at the park, or in a nearby forest. And if the weather won't cooperate, you can play this game right in your own living room!

The Scavenger Hunt Game

1) You'll need a page of stuff for each kid to find. In the picture here, I drew pictures of stuff in our yard - a stick, a leaf, a pinecone, a feather... The items you choose will depend on where your scavenger hunt is (outdoors or indoors), the age group of your hunters, and the time of year.

You can draw pictograms of the items, or take pictures, print them out and stick them on a piece of paper. If the kids are learning to read, write the name of each item next to the picture or drawing!

Be sure to make room for kids to write their names at the top, and include a check box after each item!

Tip: Keep it simple, and choose items that are in plain sight!

2) Each kid will need something to gather their items in.

We used those little plastic buckets that yoghurt comes in, covered with aluminum foil. A basket, or a bag works too!

Tip: Be sure to write each kid's name on the bag/bucket/basket to avoid confusion later!

3) Each kid will need something to check off each item on their list, like a pencil or a crayon.

Tip: I recommend not using a marker, because kids tend to make boo-boos, and might want to correct a mistake (like checking the wrong box by accident). Also, markers can stain and the temptation to color the side of your house might be too great to resist...

Tip: Encourage kids to "think outside the box"! Here's Senna, who found an egg shell in the woods that wasn't on the list! As you can see, he was pretty excited about it!

4) You'll need a medal for each kid participating in the game, regardless of whether or not he/she finds everything on the list.

Sure, you can buy those plastic ready-made medals at the store. Or, you can make your own! It's so easy!

I cut circles out of cardboard (cereal boxes), and covered each one in aluminum foil.
Tip: Use a glass or a bowl to trace around for the perfect circle.

Then, I cut out a big red "#1" and pasted it on the front.

I cut a 2 foot/70cm length of big fat shiny ribbon and attached it to the back.

It was so great because every kid won on so many levels! 
They gained a new experience, got to take their items home with them, and most likely learned something! Although a scavenger hunt is a 'solo game', each kid will probably help each other out, which is so good to see happen. Super fun for a party, or a dull Sunday afternoon!

July 30, 2012

Crafty Crafts

I know, I know... it's been ages since I last posted, and my only excuses are motherhood, music and my daughter's incredibly busy social life. But I have been busy inventing awesome new ways to spend rainy days, holidays, weekends any other time you're at a loss of what on earth to do to keep your kiddos occupied. Here is a fun and simple project to keep busy the everyday diva way!

Welcome Banner
We made this for a friend who came to stay with us last week. Her name is Isabelle, but we call her Isa for short. It was Mia's idea to decorate the guestroom and make her feel at home with this funky and easy-to-make welcome banner!

You can make a banner for just about any ocassion - a birthday, an anniversary, a sunny day... use your imagination! This is also a great exercise for kids learning to write letters.

What you'll need:
- colored paper
- markers, paint, crayons, colored pencils, etc.
- stuff to glue on like bits of ribbon, tissue paper, beads, sequins, etc.
- glue stick
- scissors
- long bit of string/ribbon

Step 1: Decide what you want your banner to say. It could say Welcome, but could also say Happy Birthday, or just someone's name. Once you decide, count how many letters are in the words. That's how many pieces of paper you'll need. Fold the top edge of each piece of paper about 2 inches from the top and write each letter of the words on a separate piece of paper.

Step 2: Now, the fun part! Spread out all the materials on a table and get decorating! If the letters get hard to read, just have the kids trace over them again to make them legible again.

*Tip: capital letters are generally easier to read

Step 3: Once all the letters are decorated, lay them out next to each other on the table or floor. 

* Make sure you leave a space if your banner consists of more than one word!

Measure out a piece of ribbon or string as long as the letters, leaving at least 12 inches over on either end so you have enough space to tie the banner up.

Step 4: Turn each letter upside-down as shown, and put a generous amount of glue on the folded edge.

Fold each letter back right-ways up with the ribbon or string sanwiched inbetween, and press down firmly.

Hang your banner up and enjoy!