Using the Physical World as a Game Board.
This is not Kinky Day Care! SMS stands for Short Message Service.
If your children carry cell phones, or if you have an extra family phone you can let them borrow for the day. This is a good way to get a break and run the kids all over the neighborhood.
The Treasure Hunt. Come up with a few locations around the house or the yard and create hints to explain each location. It's better to have three or four hints for each location. I usually put a card with a number on it at each location. This will help you know if they actually made it to the location. You don't have to use the cards or “PostIt Note” if you don't want to. Once you're setup, get the kids ready.
Page them with the first hint. It's always nice to have your hints as short as possible. You should have at least three hints, from hard to easy. This would also depend on the age groups your working with. Now you get to sit back in the hammock in the backyard while you keep the children busy! It's a great way to take a break.
You can make up as many location as you want, but sometimes they get a little frustrated after about five or so locations.
Always have a prize of some kind at the end. Maybe a candy bar or a trip to the ice cream store.
When they find the first location. They are to page you and give the number you wrote on the card or Post It Note. (The numbers shouldn't be in order, i.e. 1,2,3 etc. You can use anything you want. If your child is OK with text paging, you can have them explain the location in the text page, i.e. “Tree in backyard”). At that time, you page them back with a Congratulations and the next hint. If you have more than one cell phone in the group, you will be able to setup teams. You have to be fair as far as which message you send to each group, (hard, medium, or easy hints). If I have more than one group, I'll send them in different directions so they can't cheat off one another. If group number 2 is ahead of group 1, and I give group 2 an easy hint. Be fair, when group 1 gets to that hint; give them the easy hint first. If they still need help, I'll shoot the others to them also.
I like the easy way to keep kids busy. And it's even fun for you too. If the children are older, you can have them running all over the neighborhood and you can use up to ten or more locations if you like. If they begin to get tired, you can always skip to the last location where the prize might be. So you might be ready with as many locations as you can think of. You can always use them on the next hunt.
It all depends on who you're doing this with. Some kids get bored after 5 locations; others are still ready to go after 10 locations. The age groups don't matter in this situation. Have fun.
Email me with any new or better ideas on “Creating your own breaks”. Thank you.
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