Thursday, November 23, 2017

For summer fun, play some hide and seek

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What's more fun than an old-fashioned game of Hide and Seek? This week we take a look at three new twists on that timeless classic.

Snipe Hunt (Education Outdoors). If you've ever been to an outdoors camp, you probably spent time hunting for snipe. Counselors and experienced campers would talk about the elusive creature, hand out sacks, and take newbies into the woods to hunt. We're not completely sure what the purpose of snipe hunts is, except to give the older campers a chance to laugh at the wide-eyed naivete of the younger ones who, of course, never catch anything. But now there's a way to make snipe hunts a reality. The Snipe Hunt kit comes with two snipes (Biela and Smartin) and a "nest." If you play with teams, each team hides their snipe, and the first team to find the other's and get it back to the nest wins. Alternatively, one person could hide one or two snipes and everyone else hunts. If they haven't been found 2 1/2 minutes after being activated, the snipes start beeping. After five minutes, the eyes start to blink. Can be played inside or outside. A fantastic family activity. Retails for under $25, batteries included. Ages 6 and older. educationoutdoors.net.

Treasure Trax: The All in One Scavenger Hunt Game (USAOpoly). This is one of the most engaging games for the preschool set we've seen. The idea is pretty simple: scatter a series of clues that ultimately lead to a reward (what that means is completely up to you). Treasure Trax comes with 60 brightly colored, illustrated, thick cards: 30 depicting locations, 18 with clues, and 12 with animals. There are several ways to play. One person (most likely an adult) can set up a step-by-step hunt. For example, you might start by giving the hunter(s) a card with a picture of a kitchen table. On the kitchen table, there's a card with a picture of a bookcase. On the bookcase is another card leading somewhere else. For older kids, you can incorporate the color and animal cards and make a matching game. Start with an orange card and send the child off to find a card with a picture of something orange (a tiger, for example). Treasure Trax is great for matching, focus, and memory. But we especially loved how flexible it is. You can have as many or as few steps as your child's attention span will allow — but be warned: This game is so fun that attention spans have a tendency to get longer. It can be played with teams or as a one-on-one parent-child activity. You can play it indoors or out, and it's a wonderful way to turn rainy days into adventures. For ages 3-5, but slightly older kids will have fun too. Retails for under $20 wherever you buy your toys or at http://usaopoly.com/

Hide & Seek Safari (R&R Games): This is a moderately high-tech version of the old hotter-colder game. The box comes with two items: a monkey (or tiger, depending on which package you buy) and a wand. Someone activates the monkey (batteries included) and hides him somewhere. Everyone else activates the wand, which has LED lights that flash when you're getting warmer and beeps when you're really hot — like a Geiger counter. Unfortunately, the monkey has to be hidden in sight — the wand won't work if he's in the fridge or under the bed. But it'll give hours of fun for kids 4-6. Retails for under $35. Additional wands are $13.99. rnrgames.com.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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