Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Clue Game

Here is a game that is guaranteed to generate cries of excitement, that is good exercise and that also stimulates the brain. You can’t ask much more than that, but did I mention that all kids love it? We call it The Clue Game. It is good for hot summers. It is good for cold winters when the entire family is going stir crazy. We have played it in driving wind with sub zero temperatures where frost bite was a potential hazard and our kids still greeted it with cries of delight and full tilt running through deep snow. It is very simple to play.

First, you need to make a series of clues. We typically create about a dozen per game, but make sure you create enough clues for two or three games as I would be surprised if you do not encounter cries of “Can we do another one, please?” Each clue should relate to a place in the yard (or house), and you will need to ensure that you place the clues round the yard in the correct order. For example, if the first clue leads to the front door mat and the second clue leads to the oak tree at the bottom of the yard, then make sure the clue that refers to the oak tree is under the mat. Sounds obvious, but placing the clues is the only tricky bit!

You will give the first clue out at the start of the game. We normally banish the kids to the basement while we place the clues so that there is no peeking. The last clue will lead to a treasure trove, usually a piece of candy for each child or other small token.

The beauty of the game is that you can vary the difficulty of the clues according to the ages involved. For example, the first clue might be “Make sure you wipe your shoes well, here” which is an easy reference to the doormat. Or for an older child, you might write a harder clue. My kids range from 8-11 years old so we have some that are more difficult and that require team participation and some that designated for my youngest. In our case, the oldest are not allowed to solve those clues designated ‘Under 11’.

We also brief the older kids to make sure that our youngest also get to find clues. There is nothing more frustrating or disappointing for a younger child not to actually find some clues before anyone else. My two boys have a tendency to race on ahead so we always emphasize that it is a team event, not a race. Once reminded, our boys will hold back to let my youngest find some clues…..occasionally!

In order to ensure maximum exercise, I recommend that you place each subsequent clue at opposite ends of the yard so that the kids spend the time running back and forth. And run they will! You will be amazed at how quickly the game proceeds, but they never tire of it.

It is a game that is both, collaborative and competitive as well as laced with the excitement of the treasure at the end….. and no computers or TV are involved!

Author Bio: Charles is the President of Microscope.com, an online retailer of microscopes, blogger and father of three active children. Visit: www.microscope.com. You can also find Charles on

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