Whenever I find myself in this kind of rut, I try to remember back to the games that made me happy as a child. One fun memory I have is making up treasure hunts for my Granny. I would write out little poem clues that led her all around the house, ending in a "grand prize" that usually consisted of a drawing or clay sculpture of some kind.
What kid doesn't like a treasure hunt? So I got out the eight Disney princess figurines Dani received in her stocking one year, and let the rhyming begin.
The hunt started with instructions, a basket for her loot, and her first clue.
The first part of the clue would tell which princess she was looking for and the second part of the clue led her to the hiding spot. The rule was, she had to correctly identify the princess before finding her.
I tried to identify positive, gender unbiased characteristics of all eight princesses. The only one I had quite a bit of trouble with was Sleeping Beauty; that chick really doesn't do a whole lot other than cry, sleep, and look pretty.
Hiding places included the freezer, the dryer, and the tea kettle.
This activity took us about an hour to play and it didn't cost me a cent. That's a total kid's activity win in my book. More importantly, she had a blast, as evidenced by the plethora of smiles.
The clues were folded and taped to the bottom of each princess.
Jasmine survived the dryer.
Laughing at Cinderella in the freezer.
Are you enjoying your reading lesson, Dani?
What? Reading? Huh? Quiet, Mom, I have to find this princess!
I was a tad worried she would be upset with no big prize at the end, but I really wanted the prize of this game to be the fun and the good feelings at finding each princess. It turns out, she was more than pleased with her prize.
She enjoyed this game so much, the very next day, she made a treasure hunt for me! I wasn't quite sure what it would entail; sometimes her imagination runs wild and she can get frustrated when real life doesn't work out the way it does in her head. But I was pleasantly astounded at what she came up with for my hunt. She hid all four of our Twilight movies (yes, we own all four Twilight movies, shaddup!). Then she drew and cut out arrows and used those, with the help of some princesses, to lead me to each movie.
For the last clue, instead of writing out a poem like I did, she proudly recited one for me and led me to my "grand prize."
Simple, yet brilliant. I have a huge proud right now.
We all enjoyed our treasure hunts so much, we are eagerly planning our next big ideas. Dani has a Chicago Bears hunt prepared for Daddy and a Grey's Anatomy hunt planned for me. I think I will use these great shape blocks we have for her next hunt.
It may not be quite as flashy as princesses, but it will make a great geometry lesson.