I may have mentioned in a previous blog (or five) that my family loves scavenger hunts. We play them all the time in the form of Easter Egg hunts, geocaching, find the constellation, the “license plate game” and “I Spy.” But did you know that scavenger hunts are a fun way to teach your kids the basics of everything from science to literature to internet safety? Have you ever tried a scavenger hunt as a way to get your kids to clean up the playroom? No? You are missing out.
To use scavenger hunts to teach your kids science or math topics, you might create a “nature scavenger hunt” where they have to identify and photograph as many different types of plants, trees, seeds, nuts, and animals from a list as they can. Use math in this activity by asking them to find 5 different types of rocks or to gather a total of 10 different seeds, leaves, and colors.
Want to teach early reading or literacy skills? Have them find 5 things in your house that start with the letter “c” or hide letters around the house and have them find them in order from A to Z. Is your little one learning colors? Have them scavenge for items in every color of the rainbow.
If cleaning up or helping out is one your to-do list, take your kids to the supermarket and have them find the items you put on a list for them (just make sure they can reach them on the shelves). Or have your kids put away the items on a list of things you see on the playroom floor within a certain amount of time.
Feeling inspired yet?
Here are a few more ideas: Have older kids try an “internet scavenger hunt” where they have to research the answers for a series of questions. Incorporate scavenger hunts into birthday parties, making the party guests work to find the loot that goes in their goodie bags. You can even (and I know this from experience) coax your pre-teen out of her angsty sulk by giving her a digital camera and a list of things to photograph.
Scavenger Hunt Ideas
I’m attaching a PDF of a scavenger hunt that appeared in Spider Magazine, our award-winning literary magazines for kids ages 6 to 9. It’s the perfect way to jump start your love affair with this under-appreciated activity.
Once you are hooked, use the links below to find additional scavenger hunt ideas that you can easily incorporate into your next party, play date, or just an average day:
- Education.com: Scavenger Hunt
- EducationWorld.com: Scavenger Hunt
- Handsonaswegrow.com: 32 Ways Kids Can Go On Scavenger Hunts
- MyKidsAdventures.com: Scavenger Hunt Ideas
Cricket Media Mama is celebrating National Scavenger Hunt Day by cleverly hiding the letter “e” all over this blog. See if you can find them all.