This scavenger hunt is like a revamped version of a game you probably remember from childhood: Hot and Cold. Instead of telling the seeker if he's getting “warmer” or “colder” as he narrows in on a hidden object, you’ll use words like up, down, over, and under. Sure it's simple, but it's fun, and it will arm your child with some directional vocabulary he should master in time for kindergarten.
Get ready for directional fun! Without your child seeing, hide several objects around the house (or yard) for him to find. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Individual pieces to a new puzzle
Small trinkets from the dollar store
Fresh set of library books to read together
Other small treats such as shells, candy, marbles (if your child is over 3 and you monitor him with them), matchbox cars, beads for making a necklace, stickers, or whatever else you dream up
For each hidden object, write a clue that leads to the next object. It should use multi-step directions and at least one of the following words: up, down, over, under, top, bottom, inside, or outside.
Not sure what to write? Here are some ideas to get you started:
Take 3 steps forward. Then look under the couch.
Look inside the box that is under the desk. Take four jumps forward.
Climb up 4 stairs, then down 1, and look over the banister.
Go outside this room and inside the next room down the hall.
Climb over the couch and look behind the table.
Once you've got all the items hidden and all the clues written, it's time to play! Give your child a small bag to collect his surprises. Then read the first clue and let him follow the directions, without help, if he can. You can repeat the clue if necessary. Keep going from clue to clue, and object to object ,until everything has been found.
If your child wants to do more, turn the tables! Let her hide one item at a time for you, and give oral directions as to where the item can be found. This will reinforce what she's learned and give her practice with the vocabulary words.
Andie McConnell has taught a wide variety of grades at charter, private and public schools. She holds a Master's in Curriculum and Instruction. And she's the proud mom of a preschooler.