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Looking for hide and seek variations to try? Here are ten of our favorites!

10 Exciting Hide and Seek Variations to Enjoy

My kids love playing hide and seek! It’s especially popular when we take the game outside.

But the regular version gets pretty boring at times. That why we’re always trying out new hide and seek variations.

I wanted to share 10 of our favorites with you. Try one of these out the next time you’re looking for an active activity for your family.

1. Hide and Goal Seek

When you combine traditional hide and seek with tag you get this game! The seeker closes his eyes and counts like normal while everyone hides. Then, he goes to find them.

The hiders have one goal–to get back to the home base without being tagged. We always use our flagpole as base. You’ll want to pick a spot that’s easily accessible in several directions.

If the seeker tags the hider before they make it back to base, that hider is out. If they make it to the base, they’re safe.

2. Sardines

I was first introduced to this book in elementary school when I was reading one of the Babysitter’s Club Little Sisters books. Karen played it with some friends.I’ve enjoyed it ever since!

Sardines are packed tightly in a little tin can. That’s the point of this game–to cram everyone into one hiding spot.

One person runs off to hide while everyone else counts. Then the seekers split up, and try to find the hider. When they do, they silently join in hiding. The game continues until only one person is left looking. It’s a ton of fun!

3. Wave

The newest version in our arsenal!  One person counts while everyone else hides.

As the seeker finds someone, that person has to tag along with the seeker. Except, if the extra person spots another person hiding, that person can wave at them.

That wave frees the extra person to run away from the seeker and go hide again. When everyone has been found and is still tagging along, the round is over.

It helps to have eyes in the back of your head for this one!

4. Themed Hide and Seek

This one is a little different. One person picks a theme, and then everyone who’s hiding has to follow that theme. It sounds confusing, but it’s not once you give it a try. Here are some of the ones we’ve used, hide:

  • By something green
  • Inside of something
  • With another person
  • Under something
  • In a bedroom
  • In the barn

It shortens the game play a little bit by really narrowing the hiding spaces available. Sometimes a short game of hide and seek is nice!

5. Hide the Button

I remember my Nanny playing this with my sisters and I way back when. So many memories!

It’s a different variation because nobody actually hides. Instead, an inanimate object (like a button) is hid.

Everyone else tries to find the button. It’s best to limit this one to a single room, making it perfect for a rainy day.

6. Blindfolded Seeker

The game Luigi’s Ghost Mansion (part of a game on the Wii U) inspired this version of Hide and Seek. Since you need a blindfold, it’s best played indoors.

It gets blindfolded . Everyone else hides around the room.

The seeker has to use the senses of listening and touch to track down where everyone is hiding. It’s a fun way to spend some time!

7. Walkie-Talkie Hide and Seek

A field trip in middle school was my first introduction to this variation of the game. We took a trip over to the Washington Coast, and were spending the weekend by Fort Casey in Western Washington.

The chaperones and the kids enjoyed a great round of walkie-talkie tag. We broke into two groups, and were each equipped with a walkie-talkie.

One group ran to hide and the other group had to find us. We could use the walkie-talkies to give clues, or send the other team on a wild-goose chase. It was loads of fun!

Now that we have a set of walkie-talkies, the kids and I have played a couple of times. The seekers favorite question is, “Let me hear what you hear right now.” The hiders hold the button on their walkie-talkie and broadcast the background noise for a few seconds. There are often clues in those noises that help everyone to be found!

8. Flashlight Hide and Seek

What do you do when you have a power outage on Christmas Eve? You play flashlight hide and seek of course!

We waited until it was dark (which didn’t take long in December!) and then gave the seeker a flashlight. Everyone else ran off to hide.

The seeker used the flashlight to find us. Sort of spooky hiding in the dark, but really fun! You could hide in really obvious places and as long as the flashlight beam didn’t hit you the seeker would never know you were there.

9. Water Balloon Hide and Seek

A fun summer twist, the seeker has a bag of water balloons. His job is to hit you with one when he finds you. If he misses, you get to run to base.

If you make it back to base, you get to throw a water balloon at the seeker! The kids love it!

10. Link Up Hide and Seek

For link up hide and seek, the seeker links arms with the first person she finds. Then the two stick together while finding someone else.

Player three also joins in the link-up. Continue until everyone is linked up by the arms. It’s pretty hard to move easily with so many people attached!

What Hide and Seek Variations Do You Enjoy?

I’d love to hear your favorite version of this classic game in the comments section below. We’re always game for trying a new one!

Interested in playing more active games? Here are some:

Indoor Bowling

Active Indoor Games for Families

Outdoor Fun for Families

Flying a kite isn't only fun, it's very beneficial!

5 Interesting Ways Your Child Benefits from Flying a Kite

Have you flown a kite with your child yet this spring? My kids got kites for Easter from my mom, and we’ve spent a couple of lazy afternoons trying to keep them in the air.

Flying a kite isn’t only fun, it’s also beneficial. In addition to the obvious gross motor skills, your child is working on several key areas. But before we dive into those benefits, let’s talk about what you’ll need for a successful kite flying adventure.

Before Setting Out to Fly a Kite

Of course you’ll need a kite! The cheap ones from Walmart work just fine. But, if you have younger kids, be sure to get the diamond shaped kites.

Those are way more aerodynamic than the round ones, so your child will have an easier time flying.

You’ll also need a safe place. We head up to our upper field, because there aren’t any power lines or kite eating trees :D.

Make sure it’s a windy day. We wait until our flag is flying fairly horizontally before heading out.

Water is also essential, especially if it’s a warm day. Bring a couple of bottles along so you all stay hydrated.

Once you’re at your ideal location, help your kids get their kites up. My littles enjoy just running while holding onto the string, while my middles and big actually do quite well at getting the kites in the air. While they’re flying, your kids will be learning the following skills:

1. Understanding of Aerodynamics

Different shaped kites react differently to the wind. If you have a couple of different shapes, let your kids experiment with them and describe the experience with each.

Regardless of kite shape, your child will be feeling the wind interact with the kite and the string. As they move, the kite moves. The more they fly, the better handle they’ll get on how to play the kite in the wind to keep it up.

If your child likes to run to launch the kite, she’ll also be learning about wind direction and speed–both important to aerodynamics.

2. Problem Solving

Kite flying doesn’t always go as planned! Sometimes the kites take a nosedive, the string tangles, or a little sibling comes over and pulls on the string.

When these problems occur, children must stop and assess the situation. Sometimes they need to ask for help. Other times, they can solve the problem themselves.

Problem solving is one of those soft skills that’s so important in life!

3. Concentration

With all the digital stimuli in the world today, kite flying offers a chance for children to concentrate on something real. There are no screens. Its just you, the kites, and the big blue sky.

Concentrating on keeping it flying will help your child extend his attention span. You can slowly increase the amount of time you’re out.

4. Self-Confidence

When my three-year-old got his in the air for the first time, he was thrilled! He quickly learned that he could do it, and didn’t want any help after that.

As your children fly a kite, they’re gaining confidence in their own abilities. It’s an amazing feeling to be in control of something way up in the air. And you feel like soaring right along with it!

5. Attention to Detail

When the kites get high in the air, tracking them takes more attention. As the wind switches direction, your child will have to make adjustments to keep it up.

While winding in the string, your child will have to watch to make sure no weeds snag the kite and make a hole in it.

All of these tasks require attention to detail and observation skills.

Let’s Go Fly Some Kites

Pick a day this spring, and go fly kites with your kids. You’ll all benefit from the exercise and fresh air, and you’ll also benefit in the five ways described above.

Next on our to-do list?

Making our own kites. I’m looking forward to it!

Do you and your family enjoy flying kites? I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments.

 

Have you ever turned your living room into a mock bowling alley for kids? It's easy, fun, and educational.

Benefits of Bowling in Your Living Room

Don’t worry, I’m not talking about actually turning your room into a bowling alley, or having your kids chuck heavy bowling balls towards your furniture. But, your kids can learn so much by setting up some cups and trying to knock them down with a ball.

How to Set Up a Pretend Bowling Lane

If you’re ready to give it a try, you’ll need to set up a bowling lane. Here’s what you need:

  • 10 plastic cups
  • 1 playground style ball (that has a bit of weight)

That’s it! Of course you can also get fancy and use masking tape to mark your lanes. But that’s definitely optional.

How to Bowl

Find a location in your living room that has some space. You may need to scoot some furniture aside. We just slide our coffee table over to one side of the room, leaving an empty path straight down the middle.

As one end of your space, set up your plastic cups bowling pin style:

Then, have your kids form a line at the other end. One at a time, they get the ball and bowl it down towards the cups. They get two chances to knock down as many cups as they can.

Now it’s time to reset the pins and let another person take a turn.

It keeps my kids busy for at least an hour! 😀

What Kids Learn in Your Homemade Bowling Alley

While they’re busy having a great time, your kids are learning and practicing many skills. Here’s a look at a few of them.

Math

Younger kids can practice counting to ten each time the pins are set. They’ll also practice seeing the pattern. Each row increases by 1.

So the first row has 1. The second 2. Then 3. And finally 4.

As the first ball knocks down pins, you get to practice subtraction too! How many pins are left? How many pins got knocked down?

Vocabulary

Pins. Bowling ball. Alley. Lane. Strike. Spare.

There are plenty of words associated with bowling. As your kids play, you can introduce new vocabulary words to them.

“Yay! You knocked down all the pins on your first ball. That’s a strike!”

(And if you have kids familiar with baseball, you can talk about how a baseball strike isn’t good but a bowling strike is good. Words can have more than one meaning!)

Taking Turns

It’s not always easy to take turn. Especially when there’s a ball involved. Kids get to practice this essential life skill when bowling in your living room.

Encouragement

Learning to offer encouraging words is important. Let your kids practice good sportsmanship and congratulate others on good turns, and share an encouraging word with someone who didn’t quite get it.

Physical Activity

Kids sit plenty today, especially when it’s muddy or cold outside. Having another active play game that’s perfect for indoor play will help get everyone up and moving. Here are some other active indoor ideas for you:

10 Variations of Hide and Seek

Active Indoor Games for Families

Sight Words Driving: An Active Reading Game

Have you ever bowled in your living room?

Did you kids love it as much as mine do? I’d love to hear about it!

Photo Credit: Daniel Alvarez Sanchez Diaz via Unsplash

Stacking rocks may be simple, but it's a powerful learning activity for kids. Here's how they benefit...

5 Ways Kids Benefit from Stacking Rocks

You don’t need fancy toys to engage your kids. They can play and learn with just about anything!

I walked to the waterfall with my husband and two of our kids recently. As my husband was taking pictures, my six-year-old was starting to grow restless. So I asked her to stack some rocks.

I figured she’d stack them once and then be done. But, she kept working on her creations. As she played, I realized there was some major learning going on!

Benefits of Stacking Rocks

Stacking rocks is simple. All you need are some rocks and a surface to stack them on. So head outside and let your kids gather up rocks. Then challenge them to stack them. They’ll be:

1. Learn about balance

You can’t just throw rocks on top of each other and expect them to stick. Rather, you must set them carefully, achieving balance.

As your child stacks, she’ll likely have to readjust, while learning:

  • Smaller rocks work best on top of bigger rocks
  • The flat side of angled rocks fits best on flat surfaces
  • Building is easier on a flat surface
  • You can increase balance by a change in placement

2. Improve observation skills

To figure out where each rock fits best, children must look at the rocks. As they look at the shape and size of each rock, they’re using the power of observation.

3. Connect with nature

Being outside benefits children in more ways than I can explain. Stacking rocks is an outside activity, and requires picking up rocks. It’s a very grounding experience!

Here’s my six-year-old with one of her rock stacks near the waterfall.

Ellie's stacking rocks!

4. Boost creativity

Stacking rocks might not seem all that enjoyable. But, when you sprinkle in a little creativity, it’s a game changer!

Your child can:

  • Try to build a house
  • Create the tallest tower of rocks possible
  • Use different surfaces as the starting point
  • Build a rock monster
  • Use two rocks at the bottom, like pillars, and build on top of that
  • Build blindfolded, relying on the sense of touch

Creative thinking is a soft skill that children will need in the future, so it’s important to inspire it now.

5. Build geology skills

Rocks are everywhere! What kind do you have in your area? You can talk to your child about some basic geology in your locale.

To let your child learn more, have her:

  • Sort the rocks before stacking
  • Look for patterns in rocks
  • Describe the color of each rock
  • Look for common speckles or other identifying features
  • Drop a rock and see if it fractures
  • Use one rock to scratch another to test hardness

In short, rock stacking is an easy, inexpensive way to build STEM skills!

Have you ever stacked rocks?

Rock stacking rocks! Give it a try if you haven’t! I’d love to hear about your experience, or see pictures of your stacks in the comments.

Photo credit: Deniz Altindas via Unsplash

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Pretend stores are amazing! Here's what your child can learn in the process.

Practice Money Skills (and More) by Setting Up a Pretend Store

Your kids can learn so much by setting up a pretend store. It’s one of our favorite creative play games.

A pretend store doesn’t need to be complicated, or beautiful, to be educational.

How to Set Up a Quick Pretend Store

When I set up a pretend store with my kids, we take the super simple approach. Here’s what we need:

  • Stuff to sell (my kids gather toys or clothes or books or canned food from the cupboard). I’ve found 25 items is a good number to keep it from being too overwhelming or complicated.
  • A place to sell. We use the living room furniture.
  • Fake or real money. (Monopoly money works well!)
  • A cash register. (Before we got one we used a shallow cardboard box!)
  • Paper and a pen for making price tags.

Once we’ve gathered what we need, it’s time to set up the store. We just arrange things on the desk, couch, and coffee table in the living room. I usually let the kids do this, because then they can practice skills like facing merchandise and grouping like items.

And while they’re setting up the store, I can totally get something small knocked off my to-do list! 😀

Price Items

We don’t get complicated with prices. If we’re using Monopoly money, we stick with whole dollar amounts. Sometimes I’ll break out the coins and then we’ll add cents to prices.

When it’s time to price, we take a piece of printer paper and fold it several times. Then we cut on the lines to get our price tags.

Depending on what we’re selling that day, we’ll either use tape to stick tags on, or just put the tags down in front of the item.

Open for Business

After our set-up is done, it’s time to open the store. We pick one person to be the first storekeeper. This person turns on the lights in the living room, and greets customers as they come to the store.

The rest of us browse the aisle, and pick a couple things to buy. When we’re done shopping, we take our merchandise to the storekeeper.

She adds up all the price tags (having extra pen and paper nearby helps!) and then tells us how much we owe. We shell out some of our money to pay, and get any change if needed.

Then we leave the store and someone else can checkout. Once everyone has checked out, we switch store keepers and play some more.

When we’re done, we close the shop by putting everything away.

What Your Child Is Learning with a Pretend Store

Money skills are an obvious learning lesson from a pretend store.Your child will be:

  • Adding money to find a total.
  • Subtracting money to figure out how much change is needed.
  • Counting back change.
  • Learning budgeting skills–knowing what can be purchased with the amount of money they have
  • Gaining confidence in money handling

But, money math skills aren’t the only things learned with a pretend store. Here are eight other skills your child can practice:

1. Customer Service Skills

Treating others kindly is so important. As the shopkeeper, your child has the opportunity to build her customer service skills. She can work on speaking politely, saying please and thank you, and greeting you with a smile.

2. Assigning Value

Every object at your store is worth something. Helping price items helps your child to assign value to objects. They’ll learn that they need to pay for what they want.

This helps them learn that things cost money, and help them understand why they can’t always get what they want.

3. Marketing

Setting up a store is strategic. As the shopkeeper, your child will begin to see a pattern for what is selling. She might discover that setting up her wares in a different way changes the pattern of selling.

How items are displayed play an important role in their appeal, and their sellability.

4. Facing Money

Handing the cashier a big wad of crumpled money isn’t the best way to make a purchase. I make my kids face their money before handing it over. (We get it ready while waiting in line.)

Have your child make sure the paper money is uncrumpled, and that the president’s are all facing the same way. Now their money is faced, and it’s much easier on the cashier to count.

5. Confidence

Going into a store to make a purchase can be intimidating for some kids. Practicing at home makes it a safe environment where your child can gain confidence.

You can have your child ensure he has the money needed to purchase what he wants, learn to verify the price, and speak kindly to the cashier.

Occasionally if I’m the cashier, I’ll tell the wrong price for an item purposefully. I want my kids to have the confined to speak up about the mistake, and question it. This is the perfect opportunity for a teachable moment!

6. Prioritizing

As the shopkeeper, your child will have to figure out how to add up the price tags and how to keep the money organized in the cash register. She’s in charge of making sure the merchandise stays nice, and that the customers are taken care of.

When you have multiple responsibilities occurring at the same time, you have to prioritize them. Your child will need to decide what needs immediate attention (like the customer waiting to check out) and what can wait a few minutes.

7. Improving Vocabulary

There’s a vocabulary learned while shopping, and you can help your child learn to use these words appropriately. Here are some examples:

  • Aisle
  • Price
  • Sale
  • BOGO
  • Cashier
  • Cash Register (or till)
  • Bargain
  • Clearance

You might decide to have a Clearance Rack or a Bargain Bin in your store. Or run a BOGO sale. Using these words at home will help your child master the vocabulary.

8. Patience

If someone else is checking out before you, it’s hard to wait in line. It’s a great opportunity to learn patience. At the real grocery store, we use this time to play games.

At home, it’s a great time to teach some solo things to do while waiting:

  • Counting floor or ceiling tiles
  • Searching for all the colors of the rainbow without running around
  • Thinking about a story read recently
  • Making a picture in your mind
  • People watching

What Can You Add?

I know there are plenty of other benefits from setting up a pretend store. What can you add to my list? Do you enjoy playing store with your kids?

Photo credit: Fabian Blank via Unsplash

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