Friday, August 8, 2008

exercise in disguise

My girls are by no means couch potatoes. They're book worms, serious artists, and possessors of vivid imaginations! They enjoy going outside to play but when it's hot they aren't too keen on the idea. Gnats and mosquitoes feast upon them if they stand still for even a moment. So how do I get them outside to get fresh air, to catch some rays, and get a little exercise? I disguise it all by having a wonderfully fun scavenger hunt! Who doesn't love a scavenger hunt, right? It takes a very small amount of planning on my part, but it is well worth every whine-free, wide-eyed moment. Instead of just having a scavenger hunt in our yard, I like to go for a nice long walk in our neighborhood...this is where the scavenger hunt eliminates the whining about walking so far. They get so busy looking for and finding the things on the list they forget how far we've walked or hot it is. I do try to go in the morning or later in the afternoon when it's cooler but during the summer sometimes there is no cool time of day!

First: I make a scavenger hunt list. I pick things that I know they can find on our walk, but things that they have to really look for...I don't want it to be too easy. When I write the list for Miss O to read I also add check boxes so the girls can check things off as we find them. I always draw a little picture for each item as well so that Miss E can "read" the list too.
Second: With scavenger hunt list in hand, we grab our cameras and we're off on the hunt. Every time the girls find something from the scavenger hunt list they get to check it off then take a picture of it.Third: Get some exercise! Hehe! All that walking (exercise) usually takes us about a half mile from home to a really big hill that is fun to run down (exercise) over and over. On the way home we usually find the remaining items from the list that were missed at the beginning of our walk.
Fourth: Make a journal entry that includes the scavenger hunt list and some of the pictures of the items found. Here's an example using Picasa, but I'd like to have tangible photos in a journal or scrapbook so we could add a new page after each adventure.*

Even if the the girls are reluctant at the beginning of our walk because it's hot or because they don't want to walk, they end up having lots of fun hunting, checking things off, and taking pictures. And usually along the way we find some unexpected things. One day we saw a cute baby bunny hiding under a while out on our scavenger hunt we spotted a cloud that kind of looked like a butterfly.
*All of this fun could be done on a nature walk through the woods, at a community market full of people & produce, on a road trip, at a zoo or aquarium, or even on a rainy day...right in your own home. Try's fun!


Adrienne said...

What a great idea. I'll have to file that one away in my cluttered brain!

Adrienne said...

I've left you a little something on my blog ~ hope it makes you smile!

Kristin said...

Awesome idea - I will definitely be doing this with my girls!