Dora the Explorer Scavenger Hunt

Here is a plan I’ve been working on, and I hope you’ll steal it!

Gwenna is two in September, and we’re getting into the really fun stage.  She sometimes watches Dora on TV and interacts with the characters.  It’s ridiculously cute and I know that she shouldn’t be watching TV, but she just loves it so much!  In any case, we have a bit of a relationship with Dora and the show’s characters.

I’m hoping to get this event together for October.  Here in Louisiana, it’s crazy hot and humid right now, and it doesn’t get better until October.  Since this is the case, I plan on mixing Halloween themes into the Dora scavenger hunt.  My idea is to follow the basic format of an episode: a destination is named, Map is consulted and tells you about three land marks to guide you to the destination, and each leg of the journey has an activity or puzzle to figure out to help you along.

Not every location is going to have the same landmarks, so just use mine as an example.

Destination:  Big Playground

Landmarks:  Bridge, Island, Big Playground

Meeting Place:  Carousel

We’ll start at the Carousel.  I’ll be dressed up as Dora (at 9 months pregnant- that should be a laugh) and Zack will be dressed up as Boots (Boots is Dora’s best friend, a monkey in boots).  We’ll introduce ourselves, have a bag full of goodies  (organic and whole grain baked goods, non-plastic toys, coloring sheets, etc.) for the kids, and suddenly, a parent dressed as a Wicked Witch will run by and grab the bag of treats from us!  The parent will then run off to the destination (Big Playground) and we will call on Map to help us find a way to get the treats back.

Map is a character- he sings a song and tells you where to go.  So we’ll have a parent “dressed” as Map- holding a large poster with the three locations drawn on it.  This parent will hopefully have no problem singing the song and telling the kids where to go.  We’ll also have personal maps to hand out.

Then, as a group, we’ll head to the first landmark- the bridge.  A recurring character on Dora is the bridge troll, and he always requires that Dora and Boots answer riddles or figure out puzzles to go over the bridge.  Here, I plan on having someone dressed up as a troll, with a simple puzzle written on a poster board.  This will probably be something like a circle drawn on the poster, with three shape names under it (square, circle, triangle) and the troll will ask the kids which one the shape is.  Once we get the question right, we go over the bridge.

When we are over the bridge, we’re already at our second landmark: the island.  Our “island” is a circular garden with several paths through the center.  Here, we’ll have three colors of yarn, and ask the children to follow one color, maybe blue.  The blue thread will lead out of the garden.

When we make it out of the garden, we have a little bit of a walk to get to the destination.  I’m thinking we’ll sing Halloween songs on this stretch, to keep the kids entertained.  Once we get to the destination, the kids will have to look through the big playground to find where the Wicked Witch is hiding, and ask her politely to give our treats back.

And she will, if she knows what’s good for her.

What do you think?  Anything to add?


“Sweet girl…”

Dear Gwenna,

I’m going to start writing you these letters more often.  I really want to preserve these memories for all of us who love you and to share some day with you.  Today, I’m starting by telling you the story of yesterday.

Yesterday was a normal Sunday for you.  At 22 months old, you woke up at Mimi and Papa’s house (I imagine with your patent good-morning “Hi”) and had breakfast with them.  Daddy came to pick you up not long after.  For some reason, you’ve been coming home from your weekly visit with Mimi and Papa not feeling yourself, so after your lunch, you went down for an early nap at about one o’clock.  When you woke up at 2:00, you just got out of your bed, walked into Mommy and Daddy’s room, and told us, “Hi,” and snuggled up with Mommy for a little while.  Our snuggle sessions are always too short for me- but I’m grateful that you’re as affectionate as you are, as you enter the “terrible two’s” (a time that is actually very fun for us).

We started to get ready for the park and while we were all shuffling around, you were given a bowl of cheerios to munch on.  Daddy took it from you to get you dressed, and you echoed your favorite cartoon character, Dora, by telling Daddy, “No s[w]ipin!”  I’m still giggling over that.  Little girl, you are too smart!  We made it to the park and played around in the overcast afternoon.  You were afraid of the slides, and that’s quite a surprise for us, as parents of the most fearless toddler at the splash pad.  You will run through a tunnel of water jets coming from every side all on your own, but 4-foot slide bothers you!  Mommy has always been afraid of heights… maybe you are taking after me.

Hello, Lovebug


After playing at the park and rough housing with Daddy (Mommy watches from a safe distance when you two play- you have such a great time, barely able to breathe through all the laughter, and Daddy gets a great work out!), you were so tired.  You had some dinner and we put you straight to bed, skipping your bath in favor of appeasing your sleepy eyes.

At some point in the middle of the night, you were tossing and turning and sighing, so I went to your room and laid my head down next to you in your small toddler bed.  You petted my hair and said, “S[w]eet guhw,” (sweet girl) something I always call you.

The story of yesterday may seem slightly boring or mundane to some, but for Daddy and me, it was another amazing day.  We await your greeting in the morning and cherish those sleepy cuddles; nothing makes us happier than your energetic laughter; every day is an adventure into what you will learn and the things you will say.  Christmas comes all the time, in this home, and you’re always the best gift.

So much love,