Think outside the house…

[A friendly reminder that not everything is available online.
Stickers (and the story of their creation) can be found here.]

Summer’s almost here, and although we all love puzzles (and we’ve been talking about apps a lot lately), I think it’s safe to admit that puzzles have always been something of an indoor activity. So what’s a parent to do when puzzle-loving kids don’t want to go outside?

Why, take the puzzles outside, of course!

Do your kids enjoy shapes? Why not create some large-scale tangram puzzles for them? All you’d need is a sheet or two of posterboard and a pair of scissors. There are numerous designs online that you could recreate (minus the lines that show how the pieces make each shape) and challenge your young solvers to mimic with their pieces!

You could even cut the posterboard into Tetris pieces and play a game of Tetris where each kid takes a turn placing a piece, trying to leave as few open spaces between pieces as possible. (Though you’d have to be a real magician to make complete lines disappear like in the game!)

Do your kids like trivia? Why not grab a few frisbees, a hula hoop or two, and create a mini-game show!

[Frisbee golf provides the perfect model for an easily improvised puzzle game.]

Different hula hoops could be different categories or difficulty levels (either prop them up or let them sit on the ground), and the kids could show off their athleticism AND their trivia knowledge in one fell swoop! (Replace the frisbees with beanbags or softballs or whatever you like. This is a game meant to be cobbled together from whatever’s on hand.)

And of course, there’s always the ultimate fusion of outdoor adventure and puzzly skills:

Scavenger hunts are great, because you can tailor them to your audience. Do your kids love puzzles? Make the clues as puzzly as possible, incorporating riddles and anagrams and wordplay galore. Do your kids like searching more than puzzling? Be creative in crafting the list of items to find.

Since the dawn of the modern era of mobile phone technology, a new variation on the scavenger hunt has emerged: the photo scavenger hunt. Instead of finding numerous items and bringing them back to a predetermined spot, you take pictures of various items (or provide photographic proof that you’ve completed certain activities or accomplished certain tasks) and bring your phone back as evidence.

Some companies, like our friends at The Great Urban Race, offer city-specific scavenger hunts for adults, replete with puzzles, physical challenges, and all kinds of outdoor fun. Their website is a treasure trove of ideas for your own adventures.

Actually, you know what? That sounds great. Forget the kids, I’m gonna go recruit some people and go scavenging!

Thanks for visiting PuzzleNation Blog today! You can share your pictures with us on Instagram, friend us on Facebook, check us out on TwitterPinterest, and Tumblr, and be sure to check out the growing library of PuzzleNation apps and games!

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