You won’t be surprised to learn that, during this time of pandemic crisis, my son has disappeared into the Pokémon Sword game on the Nintendo Switch. But as we talked again and again about the creatures and battles, inspiration struck for a way to take his on-screen adventures offline—and the DIY Pokémon Hunt was born.
The world of Pokémon revolves around trainers capturing creatures inside of a Poké Ball. This is your first task. If you don’t have a Poké Ball, you can make one. I took a black marker and made a line around the centre of a Wiffle ball and then coloured the top half of the ball red. (You can use whatever ball you have on hand that you don’t mind being thrown at your house or around the living room.)
The second step is to draw or print out pictures of Pokémon. If you’re looking to extend the amount of time involved (and the surprise factor isn’t important), your kids can easily help with drawing and cutting. There are plenty of online drawing tutorials you can follow together.
Next, you’ll want to write a letter that invites your kids on a quest. Adventure is hard to come by these days, so go ahead and manufacture some. The letter should make up a region (the place where Pokémon are found—ours was Bender-O), encourage the kids to don their favourite trainer outfits (bonus: Everybody got out of their pajamas for a little while) and tell them to visit a stuffed animal for help on their quest (the animal had the Poké Ball ready for them).
While your kids are getting dressed, hide the Pokémon pictures inside or outside your space. Hang the pictures at different heights (flying Pokémon can get higher off the ground) with a bit of tape on the back.
After your kids have put together their outfits and collected their Poké Balls, give them the rules of the hunt. Our eight- and 10-year-olds had to stand six feet away and throw the Wiffle balls at the pictures of Pokémon. It took them about 10 minutes to find and “catch” 12 Pokémon by hitting the paper.
Once the hunt is over, add on a writing exercise or brief software lesson: Your kids can catalogue the creatures they’ve caught in a Pokédex (a rolodex of characters). For this, a lined sheet of paper or a brief lesson on Google Sheets will do the job.
Keep the fun going by letting them add to their Pokédex on subsequent hunts—our second hunt was held just a few hours after the first hunt. And make sure to wish them good luck in catching them all.