The holidays are such a fun time to decorate the house with reminders of the season. I had so much fun this year with the girls, telling them the story of Jesus as we put out the decorations. We talked about all sorts of things to keep them focused on the true reason for the season. And the season came and went so quickly this year! Today, I was pretty ready to have the house cleared up as we get ready to get back to our routines in the new year. So, it was time to do another of my favorite traditions with the girls: a scavenger hunt!
My girls LOVE a scavenger hunt! And I love a clean house. So I combined both of our loves and turned a chore into a fun activity for the girls. The excitement my girls exhibit when searching high and low for the items on a list is contagious. And I love the skills that a scavenger hunt reinforce.
Here’s how we turn a chore into fun:
Create a simple list of items you need the kids to find
A lot of our Christmas tree decorations come in multiples, so it is easy to create a simple list that is not too long, but includes all of our decorations. I have a very enthusiastic early reader in G (age 4) who loves to read the list, so I made sure to make the words easy for her to read.
Lay down the ground rules before the hunt begins
I asked our girls to be really good listeners during the hunt. I also asked them to bring all the items to me in a particular spot, a sort of home base. Then, I encouraged them to be as gentle as possible with all the items on the list because there are some breakable items.
Encourage close observation
Some of the items are hard to find, but I encouraged the girls to keep looking high and low to find all the items on the tree. We already have practice doing this because we have the tradition of “finding the pickle” on Christmas day – this year I hid it and even I had trouble finding it!
Our girls are highly enthusiastic and just a little bit competitive. One of our girls has a tendency to take over activities and do it all herself. So, when we are doing activities I try to throw in some tasks directed specifically toward each of the girls, telling them to listen closely to who is supposed to complete the task. This helps keep most arguments at bay.
I am often surprised by how much my girls enjoy this type of activity. They jump up and down and celebrate with each discovery during the scavenger hunt. And they remain engaged in the activity throughout the entire process. We had our Christmas decorations off of our tree and they had LOTS of fun!