Are your kids bored with Mother May I? Is hopscotch less exciting than it used to be? This hunting game is just as fun outdoors as it is inside. And while they’ll never suspect they’re learning, it helps kids develop listening skills, too!
What You Need:
- An assortment of familiar objects. Some suggestions:
- beach ball
- potato masher
- plastic bowl
What You Do:
- Before you start the game, talk to your child about the basic commands you’ll be using. Ask what the terms near/far, left/right, and behind/in front of mean to him. Have him demonstrate by using a chair.
- Ask your child to close her eyes while you go around the house and hide some familiar objects. You can use the list above, or come up with your own ideas.
- Once the objects are scattered around the backyard (or the house, if the weather refuses to cooperate) ask your child to open her eyes. Explain the rules: when you say “Go!” she’ll set off to find the first object. And once she’s located it, she should freeze in place. No touching!
- The next part of the game is somewhat like Simon Says. Your child is not allowed to touch the object. Instead, he must follow your directions as rapidly as you fire them at him. Use commands like: “near”, “far”, “left”, “right”, “inside”, “outside”, “under”, “over”, “behind”, “beside”, “in front of”, and other similar words that indicate position. These are all terms that your child will work with as part of kindergarten math.
- Use your creativity, and what’s around you! For example, a backyard swing set is a great prop if you’ve got one. Porch steps are the perfect excuse to use “above” or “below”. And trees work perfectly for words like “beneath” or “around”. So take play outside, and take your child’s listening skills to the next level!
Alicia Danyali, BS Elementary Education, taught primary-level students for four years at the International School of Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The last four years of her teaching career, she taught at the Washington International School in Washington, D.C. She recently completed writing a series of children's picture books and is a mother of one young son.