Police, Find my Child!

activitiesI’m traveling and the internet is slow here, so no blog post tomorrow, but I’ll be back to normal on Thursday.

Here’s a fun “circle time” game for a large-ish group of kids, around 4 or older. You step into the center, and ask for one child to be the first police officer. That child joins you in the center, and you cry, “Oh, police officer, police officer! I need help! Can you please help me?”

“Yes!” they will of course reply.

“Oh good!” you say. “I have lost my child! I am so scared. Will you please help me find my child?”

“Yes!” they will say.

“Please help me look for my child. My child has brown hair…” and you begin to describe one of the other children sitting around the circle, “… and is wearing a yellow sweatshirt … and red boots …” and so forth until the police officer points and says, “There she is!”

“Oh, thank you police officer!” you cry. “You can sit down now. My child! My child, come for a hug! I was so worried about you!” You give them a hug, and then suddenly start addressing the new child as the police. “Help me officer! I have lost my child! Can you help me find my child?”

Repeat until everyone has had a turn to be both police and the missing child. Some children will need more or less in the hint-department; adjust accordingly. I always try to describe the missing child without looking directly at them so I don’t give it away—but looking right at the missing child can be a great hint in some cases.

Also, it will be hard for the assembled group to keep quiet when they know who it is. Instead of just telling them to keep quiet, give them a task. “If you think you know where my missing child is, put your hand on top of your head. If the police officer needs help finding my child, he will ask you for help!”

This is a good game for observation and deduction. But the drama of it is a great part of it too. Every child has had the feeling of being lost, of looking up in a public place and not being able to find their parent for the moment. Putting those feelings in a safe space to be dramatized and humorized—and always successfully resolved—is a good feeling for most children. (If any don’t want to play, of course let them pass.)

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