How to keep your kids entertained for hours for just a dollar each

My lovely wife is out doing last minute Christmas shopping and I’m home with the kids. While it would certainly be easy to just let them play video games all day, I like to challenge them to look beyond their surroundings and think. To do that, requires a fun puzzle, and I’ve been doing this one for a couple of years and they love it. In fact they love it so much that they requested I do it again this morning.

I’ve dubbed it “Moneyhunt”, which is a variation on a treasure hunt, and it is simple and easy for me, but for them, not so much… and that’s the attraction that gets them off the computer games and using skills of observation. I thought it worth sharing, so here’s how I do it.

What I do is take a selection of loose change, typically $1 exactly for each child, and hide it around the house in places that they’d never think to look. I also make good use of camouflage as shown in the picture below:

moneyhunt

The trick is to place coins in places that aren’t on regular household surfaces, and to put shiny coins of like diameter on shiny objects that hide them. Darker coins like old pennies go into nooks on darker furniture. Making the coin look like part of the object is key to making it challenging.

I also put coins on top of doorknobs, tape them to the sides and bottoms of tables, and put them in the sea of refrigerator magnets with double sided sticky tape and a small magnet.

I’m still trying to figure out how to hide money on Tubbycat without waking him up:

tubbycat

By making sure you know the exact amount of coinage (in today’s case $2) the kids know just by counting the coins they have collected if they found them all. That last penny is usually particularly frustrating.

If you aren’t a parent, this little game works great for grandparents too.

Next year, since Al Gore’s warmer cronies say I’m apparently flush with cash reaching into the billions, I’m going to put out pure gold and silver coins and hide some gold bullion in the freezer. /sarc Yeah, that should be fun.

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phlogiston

Thanks, I’ll try it with our girls. We do a similar thing at Easter with chocolate eggs. Coins will offer more placement possibilities.

Mike Jowsey

Great idea, thanks. Merry Christmas Anthony.

DB

If you aren’t a parent, this little game works great for grandparents too.
Are you saying Grandparents would enjoy looking for the coins, too?

Merry Christmas to you and yours, Anthony!
A big thank you to you, and your contributors, for a sterling effort during the year.
Cheers

Rob

Let us know if they find any of that heat that is hiding in mysterious places. Merry Christmas to your family from the Great White North otherwise known as Canada.

Fumblefoot

I know a solo variant called ‘Where are my bloody keys?’. Its addictive, I play at least once a week whether I want to or not.

UK Sceptic

Have none of the kids taught Kenji how to sniff out the coins?
Merry Christmas.

Bryan A

While hiding coinage on Tubbycat might proove difficult, His existance does prove that your household contains FatCats. I would avoid the Washer/Dryer too because you don’t want to be accused of Money Laundering FatCat funds
Have a Merry Christmas

TinyCO2

Love it 🙂
When my nephew and niece were young, I put their few presents in huge box with lots of similar empty parcels or ones with silly household items. Then I made them do puzzles (cut out from a cheap book of them) and answer questions. If they got the test right they got to dive for a present. If the parcel was for the other one they had to put it back. It took all day and recently my nephew said he planned to do the same for his own kids (if he ever has them) because they were the best Christmases he remembers.
You don’t have to spend a lot to make the best memories.

Tim Walker

Great idea. I’ll have to try it out.

Grandma

Great game! I’ll hide the coins now for my grandchildren. Oh, what fun before dinner. Thank You!
Merry Christmas

First you have to get them to turn off their cell phones.
I invented a cell phone with a mechanical on/off switch. You simply toggle the switch to the off position and it immediately cuts the battery power to the phone. It also prevents the NSA from spying on you and stops people from bothering you.
Look for my new cell phone feature I invented on store shelves next year.

John

Wish the grand kids were closer.

Schrodinger's Cat

I play that game several times a day with my reading glasses.
Thank you for providing such a great blog, Anthony and very best wishes to you and your family.
Happy Christmas to all.

Stuart Elliot

Used to do something similar at Easter, using foreign language clues and dictionaries to tell the kids where the next clue and Easter egg could be found. The starting point would feature the Japanese word for refrigerator or bathroom or whatever and the kids would go there, get the next word (might be in German), look it up while collecting the egg, on to the next location and so forth.
Merry Christmas to all and warm thanks to our fine host here.

Tom J

Merry Christmas!

Great idea! I will recommend to my friends (no small children – thank god… and no grandparents yet).
Merry Christmas to you all from the birthplace of Jesus :-).
Eyal

DeepInTheHeartOfTexas

Indeed. Merry Christmas Anthony and all.
Maybe Bitcoin next year 🙂

lemiere jacques

hey send me a buck or i email the pictures!

John W. Garrett

Mr. Watts,
Thank you for all that you do and have done to aid the increase and diffuse of knowledge.
You have the patience of Job.

Gunga Din

Sounds like some $2 are worth more than others.
Merry Christmas to you and yours!

farmerbraun

Or you could just look at this :-
http://earth.nullschool.net/

Janice Moore

Dear Eyal,
Shalom and Merry Christmas, to you and to your family in the Town of David. The world owes so much in so many ways to God’s (please forgive my writing out His name) Chosen People, the Jews. Isn’t it amazing? We believers in Jeshua forget (How could we? I don’t know! But, we do!) that He and Mary and Joseph and all the disciples and nearly the entire early Church were Jews.
May your evening and your morning be peaceful and may 2014 bring you much joy.
Gratefully from a Gentile who loves Jews!,
Janice

farmerbraun

Click EARTH and height 250 hPa to see the jetstream
http://earth.nullschool.net/

Eyal,
You live in a manger?

Mike M

michaelwiseguy says: “You simply toggle the switch to the off position and it immediately cuts the battery power to the phone. ”
I can see that working but surmise you would still have to press the phone’s power up button to turn it back on after switching your added switch back to the on position?
My cell phone is off most of time and everyone who knows me does not leave messages on ‘it’ because they know I never review them; I’ve trained them all to leave messages only on my land line phone. I don’t do texting either, just send me an email. If it’s something important call my land line and if it’s something really really important – call 911 or a lawyer not me!

Policycritic

farmerbraun says:
December 24, 2013 at 11:08 am
Click EARTH and height 250 hPa to see the jetstream
http://earth.nullschool.net/

Wonderful. Thank you.

mbur

“I like to challenge them to look beyond their surroundings and think. ”
It’s pretty cold outside (36°F on the sun side of the house and it’s sunny)so ,the kids and I just put up a ping pong table in the basement…for hand-eyeballing the random pattern and doing something quickly about it or lose the point.I’m not that good at it ,yet 😉
Thanks and Merry Christmas to all at WUWT

ED, Mr. Jones

farmerbraun says:
December 24, 2013 at 11:08 am
“Click EARTH and height 250 hPa to see the jetstream”
Most of it appears to emanate from Washington, DC. I’m shocked.

Robertvd

And the dogs? Where are the dogs?

Policycritic

farmerbraun says:
December 24, 2013 at 11:08 am

Layman question: am I correct in assuming that what I am seeing on this site is info that is not yet simulated in the CMIP5 climate models used by the IPCC?
Thank you in advance for any answer.

tom s

Fun. I’ve done this sort of thing before but usually just a ‘find the coin’ game. I’ll take your advice and hide a higher amount….my kids are 9 and 11 so I may have to hide some bills too. Merry Christmas!

How do you differentiate from all the loose change that normally sits around?

Crispin in Waterloo

@michaelwiseguy
“I invented a cell phone with a mechanical on/off switch. You simply toggle the switch to the off position and it immediately cuts the battery power to the phone. It also prevents the NSA from spying on you and stops people from bothering you.”
It might surprise you to know that cell phones can be ‘pinged’ by a cell tower even when they are turned off in the same way an NFC chip can. If they can’t hear you they at least know where you are and who you are with (if they have their own phone).
The NSA also collects all financial transactions so you should take cash along…

I just hope it isn’t dark money!

Happy Holidays from my cats to yours 🙂

Gail Combs

What a great idea Anthony.
I play the game with my driving glasses since I normally wear my computer glasses around the farm. (They are cheaper and larger than my driving glasses so protect my eyes better)
Merry Christmas to All and a wonderful cold snowy New Year to all the Warmists

Anthony, just think…if you were a “Climatologist” you could be using $100 Gold Pieces. But then, being the public pirate you’d have to be..you’d be shouting, “Arrrrgh! Pieces of Eight, Pieces of Eight…heave too and prepare to be boarded yea TAXPAYERS!”

DirkH

Crispin in Waterloo says:
December 24, 2013 at 12:11 pm
“It might surprise you to know that cell phones can be ‘pinged’ by a cell tower even when they are turned off in the same way an NFC chip can.”
That is because the chips are not disconnected from the power supply when you turn it “off”. They are not really off. Only scare-quote-“off”.
The only electronics that can be “pinged” without having a power supply is currently an RFID tag, and that works only over meters.

Oscar Bajner

That’s a nice idea, my aunt used to put pennies all over her house during the holidays,
and I made it a tradition in our family.
That is, until one of the little so-an-so’s got a metal detector for Xmas!
No, it’s just not guaranteed to keep them busy for long enough, but hey I just had a great
idea: This year we are taking the kids down to the ocean,
and they aren’t getting any pudding until they find the missing heat!
That should keep them occupied for a while longer. Merry Christmas everyone
OH
and may all your Santa Clauses be blank.

Next year, since Al Gore’s warmer cronies say I’m apparently flush with cash reaching into the billions, I’m going to put out pure gold and silver coins and hide some gold bullion in the freezer.

We’ll be over!
My siblings and I clean up on Easter candy hunts. Apparently most people weren’t as sneaky as my father was. And now us. I like aiming for June for the last jelly bean to be found, that’s before serious humidity sets in and they get messy.
I do like the known amount of change idea. Yeah, that last penny must be annoying.

Mike M says:
December 24, 2013 at 11:21 am
” I can see that working but surmise you would still have to press the phone’s power up button to turn it back on after switching your added switch back to the on position? ”
The phone automatically powers back up when the mechanical power switch is toggled to the on position. With fast programming, power up time takes just a few seconds. No need to worry when off, 100% of power is cut to all circuitry. No need to throw the phone out the window of a moving car like in the movies when they’re tracking you with the built in GPS, that doesn’t work either when off.
I’m patenting the feature and will be licensing the technology to all cell phone manufacturers. I hope the Chinese don’t steal my invention like they did with my cell phone signal blocking pouch.

noaaprogrammer

I was at a high school party back in the early 1960s in which this kind of money hunt was one of the activities. There was one, 1$ bill that wasn’t found until the hostess showed us: it was tightly taped around the spine of a similarly green book, with George Washington perfectly centered on the spine!

jorgekafkazar

Fumblefoot says: “I know a solo variant called ‘Where are my bloody keys?’. Its addictive, I play at least once a week whether I want to or not.”
You can buy an electronic thingamabob that will help you locate your keys in seconds. Then you can play “Where the fudge is my thingamabob?”
Dear Eyal: Zay gezunt!

anvilman

The “Warmers” play a similar game. Its called Find The Missing Heat

Glenn Dixon

Rename your cat Algore. Should be able to get any number of coins to disappear. And the cat will match each one!

JohnWho

“Darker coins like old pennies go into nooks on darker furniture. ”
Ah, ha!
An admission you have “dark money”!
LOL
Merry Christmas to all WUWT-ers.

Annie

So that’s where the ‘dark money’ went to! Happy Christmas Anthony to you and your family. We are with our grandkids Down Under now and looking forward to the day here; I don’t think I’ll have time to hide coinage as it’s already gone 0930am and there are other things to prepare. It’s a great idea for the future though.
Thanks to Eyal for wishes from Bethlehem…many blessings to you.

In Ontario they hide money in Wind Turbines — Billions of Dollars — it’s easy to find.
Merry Christmas everyone!

polski

What to do on a golf course in the winter in Canada…of course you make a huge rink on your irrigation pond and invite kids to play…much better than video games ..Merry Christmas to all