Sharing family fun games and activities with children is an important part of establishing happy family relationships and building children s confidence. Good times do not have to be expensive; in fact some of the most successful activities are completely free in money terms. However children do need their parents, grandparents and carers to invest time, energy and enjoyment into the activities.
If you and the kids have been indoors all week then do try to get outdoors when you have chance. You need protection from the weather sun, rain, wind but unless conditions are actually dangerous don t be put off.
Studies worldwide have shown that outdoor family fun games and activities promote confidence, happiness, health, independence and educational performance. Bear in mind too that if children or people of any age share an enjoyable time together they are more likely to feel warm and friendly towards the people with whom they shared the good experience. Family fun games outside are therefore valuable in two ways they help create loving bonds within the family and have the added benefit of being part of a healthy, confident lifestyle. Children do not forget fun times and they will associate those times with the people who provided them. When children become parents themselves they will recreate the good times with their own children.
Here are some tried and tested family fun ideas which work well with children of all ages:
A treasure hunt does not need a great deal of preparation unless you want to in which case it can be as elaborate as you make it! Treasure hunts are best done in pairs or small teams unless you are lucky enough to have a garden big enough for children to wander freely.
Have an adult or responsible older child in each team to prevent anything dangerous or anti social happening. Make clear boundaries so no one wanders off.
Four kinds of Treasure Hunt are described here:
1. Find These Treasures
The simplest version is to make a suitable list of Treasures to Find , give each team a carrier bag and ask the teams to collect the items and bring them back to the finishing post.
The treasures on the list will vary from place to place in a garden, wood or park you could include an oak leaf, a black stone, a piece of moss, bird sightings, a buttercup, a red leaf, a twisted stick. On the beach or river bank you could include shells and pebbles or driftwood so you may have on the list 5 different kinds of shells, 5 different colour pebbles and so on.
2. Find the Answers
Find the Answers Treasure Hunts are good in villages, small towns, on holiday or if it is too cold or wet to just sit in the sunshine. These hunts need a preliminary visit or investigation by the organiser who will then make a list of questions to fit prominent landmarks in the chosen location.
Questions on the list may be something like:
What is the price of a cup of tea in the Cosy Cafe?
What is the date on the Manor House?
Name three kinds of tree growing behind the library
Name three families named on gravestones beside the Parish Church .
Write up the questions and print off enough copies for everyone. Set a time limit.
Make the prizes simple or give everyone a treat for taking part; make it fun and not too competitive!
3. Photo Treasure Hunt
In these days of digital cameras and mobile phones taking a photo is easy and accessible to many people. If each team has some means of photographing then this is an easy way of recording who has been where and found the answers on the list. So make a list of objects to be photographed, duplicate the list, distribute it to the teams and the first team back with all the items on the list photographed correctly wins the prize!
4. Follow the Clues and Find the Treasure
This is a more elaborate and traditional treasure hunt it does take some imagination and preparation plus access to a large garden or familiar nearby park or friend s garden. Each clue leads to the next one and they can be as cryptic, obscure and mysterious as you like. Participants follow a trail of clues which eventually lead to a treasure which can be real but is probably better to be the answer to a riddle or puzzle so all the players have a chance of solving it rather than those who rush round and miss half of the clues out!