These April showers that bring May flowers, also bring many more days indoors. Instead of going stir crazy inside after a long winter, try out some new activities with your kids. Many kids are gearing up with excitement for Easter egg hunts this month, and at our house we keep that excitement going by embracing the “hunt” concept all year long!
We started very simply when my daughters hunted for the first letters of their names by going on a “letter hunt.” I wrote the letter N on five star shaped post-it notes and the letter A on five more. I asked my girls to sit in a special spot out of view from the area I planned to hide the post-its. I hyped it up and told them they would be “going on a letter hunt” (similar to the story “Going on a Bear Hunt”) and hunting for their letters.
Ready, set, go! They were very excited to race around the living room looking for the hidden post-its! Once they found one, I asked them to tell me the letter on it and then add it to the chart I had made. The chart was simply a piece of paper divided in half with N on one side and A on the other so they could “sort” the letters after finding them. I can’t tell you how many times that same day and the days to come my daughters asked to go on a letter hunt!
So, we continued with many other concepts. Most recently, on St. Patrick’s Day, I cut out some paper shamrocks and put the numbers 1-10 on them. I hid them around our living room on green objects for my kids to find. Even my one year old enjoyed looking for the shamrocks! As my children found them, I asked what number they found, and we put them in numerical order to practice numbers.
The possibilities with this concept are endless and can go from basic all the way to extravagant (although who has time for extravagant these days?!?). You can go as simple as a few pieces of scrap paper with something handwritten on them or using sticky notes to cutting out specific shapes, printing ideas on the computer, or even putting the paper into objects similar to the Easter egg idea. You can customize ideas to work for your children.
Some educational ideas of things to “hunt” for:
-sight words/spelling words
-pictures of people (presidents, inventors, etc) or places (countries, landmarks, capitals) to identify
-vocabulary words (think science concepts, for example)
You can use pre-made cards you already have too such as word cards or math fact flash cards. Getting in reading minutes and math facts practice just got a little more fun.
Some other ideas to try:
-For older kids, they could help make the items being hunted – write the letters/words/concepts, cut out the shapes, stuff the eggs/containers, etc.
-Hide puzzle pieces and have your children work to complete a puzzle as they find the pieces.
-Hide “Boggle” or “Scrabble” letters and have kids make words.
-As a teacher, I used to have my students look for the individual letters to unscramble and create phrases (ex: Happy Holidays).
-Put coins (or pictures of coins) in the eggs/objects, and have your child count the money (in each egg and total) to practice counting money.
-Hide some playing cards and see who ends up with the best hand at the end (or most matches or most black or red for younger kids).
-Using eggs, hide each half of the eggs separately and have kids match them. They could just be matching color, or you could write on the outer portion of the egg (for example: digital time on one half, analog on the other or uppercase letter on one half, lowercase on the other, etc.)
-Another idea for after completing a “hunt,” one of your children could hide the “items” again for your other child(ren). This will add some ownership to it as well. Like I said, there are SO many options!
I found a unique twist on an Easter egg hunt that I plan to try with my children (3 & under) this year. Leading up to their “official” Easter egg hunt, they’ll have a mini egg hunt to burn off some extra energy. I plan to use the concept I found on Eats Amazing and modify it a bit for my children. She suggests putting paper inside of the eggs listing exercises – “walk like a crab, stand on one leg, balance a ball on your head, dance like a chicken, spin around until you’re dizzy,” etc. I like the idea of hunting for the eggs, and then doing some form of movement too. Plus I know my kids will have fun being silly on this hunt!
Any other suggestions?? Happy “hunting!” May the excitement of the season continue all year in your home too!