Have you ever heard of a “penny date”? If not, then I hope you’re ready for an adventure. And if you have, then I hope you’ll like this new twist on a simple idea. Grab some dice, a coin, and the car keys, and let’s get going!
Try these “penny date” game printables for your next field trip or staycation adventure!
The general idea behind a penny date is to get out and have fun without a lot of preparation or money. This makes it a perfect staycation activity, or a homeschool field trip that doesn’t involve the hassle of getting a group together to score a discount! The actual destination is up to chance. And you really don’t need to budget for more than some gas and a few snacks!
How to play the Penny Date Adventure Game
The object of this game is simply to discover something new and have fun together!
All you need to play is a mode of transportation (for the explanation, I’ll assume you’re in a car, but it can be done on foot, too!), and a coin.
Before you set out driving, decide how many random turns you want to make on your adventure. Then you get in the car and go, flipping the penny every time you come to a stop sign or stop light. If it lands on heads, you turn right; if it lands on tails, you turn left. You keep doing this until you’ve flipped the predetermined number of times, and wherever you end up, you get out of the car and explore!
The first time my family tried this, we took along local guidebooks we had borrowed from the library. They turned out to be very outdated, and we had a ton of laughs trying to find our way to places that had gone out of business on roads that didn’t exist anymore!
One penny date led us to a local Civil Way battlefield we’d never heard of before. We had a great time wandering the grounds and the free visitor’s center!
It’s a formula for fun!
We absolutely love the element of surprise involved in this game. And there are so many variations!
Since we live on the outskirts of a city suburb, turning at stop signs or lights meant we’d end up either driving circles around a local housing development, or going for hours down a back country road.
A version of the recording sheet in the packet is based on our adaptation of the game that adds dice to randomize mileage between turns. Instead of waiting for a stop, we roll the dice to determine how many miles we’ll go before making a turn. After clocking the miles, we flip the coin and turn at the next available right or left, then roll again. If we come to a T or a dead end, we simply flip the coin again and continue counting miles from there.
Going to a new city on vacation? This game can be used to make your own walking tour! Adapt the rules for when to flip the coin beforehand, and you’re on your way.
While this is great fun for the whole family, be sure that the driver can DRIVE without distraction! A second adult or an older child who can manage the gameplay is A MUST!
Also, don’t depend on GPS if you’re in an unfamiliar place. Take paper maps. These are a great learning tool anyway. Most times when we finish our coin flips, we pull out the paper maps, and the kids use our recording sheets and landmarks to figure out where we are, and plot a more direct route home.
Can you see the potential discoveries and family bonding time here? Ok, maybe if you’re more of a planner, this would be difficult to embrace. But I really encourage you to give it a try. Just reminiscing about our trips as I described it here for you, I absolutely CAN’T WAIT to do it again!
Are you ready for your own adventure?!
Free for a Limited Time: Available Until 6/28/19
To begin your own journey Liana is offering you a copy of her Penny Game free for a limited time!! In this 5-page printable pack, you’ll find an instructions sheet, recording sheets for different versions of the game, and one blank and one guided journal page. Whether you’re setting out for a homeschool field trip, or just a family fun day, these pages will help keep your kids engaged, and give them a souvenir that doesn’t involve a gift shop.
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Laina Yeisley is a homeschooling mom of two teens and a toddler in North Carolina. She founded The Triangle Homeschool Resource Center, a website with services aimed at helping homeschoolers in the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina achieve their homeschooling goals.
Laina is passionate about helping families who have a heart for homeschooling focus on the long-term vision for their children’s lives, going beyond the academics to make their “heart plans.” As part of her goal to create professional development opportunities for homeschool parents, she also co-founded the Carolina Homeschool Conference which will launch its first event in August 2019. If you’re ever in NC, you’ll probably find Laina on a field trip with the kids. Just look for the camera in one hand, water bottle in the other, and the stash of chocolate falling out of the backpack.
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