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Backyard Treasure Hunt with Picture Clues

It’s scavenger hunt week here at Inspiration Laboratories. We’ve been having so much fun. We’ve shared hunts to do inside, toddler hunts, preschool hunts, hunts that the neighbor kids will love, and now we’re sharing one that’s perfect for the backyard. Print out the picture clues, invite some friends, and head outside.

This treasure hunt is so easy to set up. Seriously, just print out the backyard treasure hunt picture clues and laminate them with contact paper. I’ve made 18 clues for you. Select the ones that work for your backyard. Make the hunt as long or as short as you like. Maybe start with just 5 clues for younger kids. With older kids, see if you can use them all.

picture clues


I love that this treasure hunt works in a variety of yard sizes. We played in our own small backyard. We also took the clues to a play date at our friends’ bigger backyard.

Plan out your hunt with one clue leading to the next.

clue in plant

Head to the watering can next.

clue in watering can

Keep working your way through the clues.

clue on slide

Some clues might be really easy to find (like the clue on the swing). Others might be more difficult. How many trees are in your backyard? How much grass? You’ll have to look in several places to find the next clue.

clue on swing

Eventually, you’ll end your hunt at the treasure.

treasure in grass

Once your kids get the hang of the treasure hunts, they can create them for each other. Place the pictures in a different order or use different clues. It’s fun to play this again and again!


source: inspirationlaboratories

Dragon Treasure Sensory Bin

Dragon Treasure Sensory Bin

Set up a simple sensory bin with sand and a handful of treasures. Add some dragons or just pretend to be a dragon and you’ll have a dragon treasure sensory bin that kids will love. I get commissions for purchases made through the affiliate links in this post.

Dragon Treasure Sensory Bin - set up a simple sensory bin with colored sand, treasures, and dragons.

Baby Dragon, Baby Dragon! is fun read about a little dragon who likes to fly through the kingdom getting into all sorts of trouble. Penguin Kids sent us a copy of the book for review. Baby dragon is constantly on the go. A little girl decides to keep up with dragon. She narrates the story. Each scene begins with her saying “Baby dragon, baby dragon…” and then describing what she sees. This line feels like it should lead the book in rhythm and rhyme but it doesn’t. The book doesn’t lose anything by not rhyming though.

The book reminds me of a young child’s adventures. They often do everything full speed ahead and sometimes end up with a mess in their wake. The little girl praises the dragon for its accomplishments and ignores the rest.

Dragon Treasure Sensory Bin

In the book Baby Dragon, Baby Dragon! the dragon has a cave full of treasures. There are stacks of crowns, sea shells, colorful sticks, gems, and more. Inspired by the dragon’s treasure, I created a dragon treasure sensory bin.

Dragon Treasure Sensory Bin - set up a simple sensory bin with colored sand, treasures, and dragons.

The simple sensory bin is made with colored sand and treasures.

I like to use the Crayola colored play sand. It comes in a variety of colors – blue, green, pink, and purple. I’ve included an Amazon link so you can check out the product. It’s available in the spring/summer at Walmart for about $7 while supplies last. Amazon usually sells it for over $20 plus shipping.

I used a shoe size storage bin and a slightly larger bin for my two kids (ages 5 and 3).

For our treasures, I used a combination of gold coins, treasure chests, polished rocks, and toy dragons. Be sure to use age appropriate treasures and watch out for items that are too small as they can be a choking hazard for kids who like to put things in their mouths.

Dragon Treasure Sensory Bin - set up a simple sensory bin with colored sand, treasures, and dragons.

Add a layer of sand. Add the treasure. Then, bury the treasure.

Dragon Treasure Sensory Bin - set up a simple sensory bin with colored sand, treasures, and dragons.

Then, it’s time to dig for the treasure. Use your hands, a shovel, or a small cup. I also gave my kids a bowl to place their found treasures in.

Sensory bins are great for pretend play. Blue colored sand with toy dragons shown.

Sensory bins are great for encouraging pretend play. My kids had the dragons bury and uncover their treasures over and over again. They had some fun dialogue going as well.

Sensory bins are great for pretend play. Blue colored sand with toy dragons shown.



Source: inspirationlaboratories

5 Clean Up Games for Kids

5 Clean Up Games for Kids

How many kids enjoy cleaning up their toys? Not many. It can be overwhelming especially for younger children. Try these 5 clean up games for kids and make clean up time more fun.

My kids’ toys are organized into bins and each toy has a home. You’d think this would make it easy for them to put everything away. But no. When they pull out a pile of LEGO bricks, a bin of Magformers, and a handful of stuffed animals for a play session, their area can get messy quite fast.

It may not really be that big of a mess. They only have 3 types of toys out which can easily be returned to their respective homes. However, to some children, it’s just a lot to take in. Where do we start? It’s going to take foreeeever to clean this up.

This is where turning clean up into a game helps out. You organize the clean up with a game and get everything cleaned up without too much whining and complaining (hopefully).

The disadvantage of clean up games is that you have to micromanage the cleaning. It may be faster to just do it yourself, but that’s not the point. Sometimes I can be cleaning up another area of the house while managing their clean up game as well.

Clean Up Game #1: Make It a Race

This game works for kids who like competition and aren’t that overwhelmed by the mess. Start by challenging your kids to race to pick up the toys. Then, say: Ready. Set. Go pick up that toy and bring it over to this bin. Run fast. Hurry. Then, name another toy and continue to have them race it to its home.

You could also set a timer and challenge your child to pick up a set number of toys in that time. How many toys can you pick up in a minute? Ready. Set. Go. Or: Can you pick up 10 toys in 30 seconds? Ready. Set. Go.

Clean Up Game #2: Go on a Scavenger Hunt for Toys

Turn clean up time into a scavenger hunt. Let’s play a game. Okay. Do you want to go on a scavenger hunt for train tracks? Yeah!!! Okay. Go find 3 straight tracks and bring them to this box. My child runs and finds them. Great, now find 2 curved tracks. (Yes, I throw a little counting practice in there, too.)

Scavenger hunt clean up games can work when you’re not in the room. Take a survey of the toys that need to be picked up. Head off to whatever you need to take care of. Call out an item for your child to find and put away. (Don’t like yelling across the house? Use a set of walkie talkies.) You can be as generic or specific as you want. I usually start with colors. Find something that is pink. Or: Pick up all of the green toys.

You could also be specific. Find 5 cars. Put away 2 stuffed animals. Use the scavenger hunt to work on shapes as well. Find 3 square toys. (I was thinking of the Magformers. My toddler saw a square pillow, too.)

Clean Up Game #3: Use Other Toys to Help Clean Up

For some reason, my kids think it’s extra fun to use dump trucks, shovels, or ramps to help clean up their messes. This works especially well with blocks or LEGO bricks. Use the truck or shovel to scoop up the toys and carry them to their home. Or put a ramp above the bin and let the toys slide down the ramp into the bin. Instead of a ramp, a large cardboard tube works, too.

Clean Up Game #4: Play the Do 3 Things Game

Mix cleaning up into another game. I call it the Do 3 Things Listening Game. It’s super sneaky because you get them moving all around doing different actions and then every once in a while sneak in a little clean up.

Clean Up Game #5: Code Your Way to Clean Up

Play a Robot Clean Up Game to make cleaning up the entire goal of the game. It’s a simple following directions game except you have to program the robot up front. Write the code for the robot and send it off to clean up. This game is a fun way to introduce kids to coding. It works best when the toys are spread out, but you can make it work with any mess really.



source: inspirationlaboratories