Fun things kids do without us

Found charcoal then made themselves into Hermione, a warrior and the easter bunny. Ah!

This blog post is by Nicola Baird sharing ideas about thrifty, creative and eco-friendly ways to raise children. Here are some ideas to make contact with the outside a little more fun – via a treasure hunt. For more info about parenting see my book Homemade Kids, or for my website click here 

My daughters are at the age when they are fun to be around, but I know that I should really be letting them do ever more stuff on their own. It’s so tempting to interfere (you’ll recognise this feeling if you are either competitive or just a tiny bit clingy – otherwise you will think this idea is a little mad).

Bring the phone
A treasure hunt can be fun for kids, but it also makes use of phones, videos and any other new technology they (sometimes?) find hard to put down.

Or just do it the old way with clues to find and a reward at the end.

For a modern treasure hunt twist think of a list of tasks, read it out  (have a discussion about any rules of where to go or what’s out of bounds if you like, and maybe also agree the time to be back). We tried this approach with a 15 year old, 13 year old and 11 year old. They took half an hour. And the moment they’d finished they set two dads and me their own set of challenges. It was such a nice way to spend time outside! Some of the ideas below were borrowed from those nice people at the Geography Collective, (which publishes the brilliant Mission Explore books). You’ll soon see why this kind of treasure hunt works just as well for the grown ups.

  • Find (collect, draw or photograph) : a bird feather, flowers starting with A, B, C and D.
  • Make up then video your own African dance (featuring a lion, oryx,crocodile and President Mugabe)
  • Convince a dog walker to change their dog’s name (capture on video)
  • Photo or video a person down a rabbit hole
  • Make a 3-d model of a fish and an arrow of sticks
  • Decorate yourself as Hermione, a warrior and the Easter Bunny (see pic above)

Over to you
What do you do to avoid taking over your children’s games?

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