The holidays are coming soon. With school breaks, you may have a lot of extra time on your hand. Keeping your child busy with fun and educational ideas might be a challenge, but if you consider the idea of scavenger hunts, you can make the “work” fun. Did you ever go to a party where a scavenger hunt was a game? You’d run with friends and go door-to-door with a list of items trying to obtain them all and return to the party house for a prize. It was always fun and exciting to keep checking items off the list and finish the game.
The same can be said for creating your own scavenger hunts tailored specifically for your child.
6 Ways to Create a Scavenger Hunt
PARK – Google search “nature hunt” and pick a list that meets your child’s interests or abilities. Get in touch with nature. Carry a bag and collect the actual objects on the list. You may have to help point your child in the general vicinity of the objects. Once they find the item, have them pick it up and use various senses to observe the object. If it’s a leaf, is it soft, fuzzy, dry and brittle? If it’s a flower, how does it smell? Consider bringing a magnifying glass to get a closer visual examination.
BEACH - Google search “beach scavenger hunt” and find a Bingo-style hunt grid. While spending the day at the beach, take moments to “X” out those objects. Once all the items are found, perhaps you can make a trip to the snack shack for a treat.
MALL – Have some shopping to do during the holidays, but don’t look forward to a trip to the mall with your child? Create a hunt that includes some key items in the stores you need to visit or simply find store logos (which are readily available to copy/print on Google images). At the end of the list, include your child’s favorite store or restaurant and reward them when they find all the other items or stores.
MUSEUM – Before going to the museum, go online to find out what you might find at that particular museum. Create a visual list of these various items.
NEIGHBORHOOD WALK – Bring a digital camera with you as you walk the neighborhood. Find a house with a red door. Look for a gnome. Seek out a living animal. Take pictures of each item as you find it. When you get home, upload those photos and watch them on the computer together.
LIBRARY - Using your local library’s online catalog, print out a checklist (visual or written words) of five popular children’s books that your child might enjoy. Go to the library and (together) look up each book using the library’s catalog. Help your child to write down the Dewey Decimal number for each book. Then take those numbers and help your child locate those books. Leave an empty space on your list for your child to choose an additional book in case one of the books on your list is not available or just as a bonus.
Customize these activities to your child’s interests, passions, abilities and creativity. If your child can read, use words. If your child is more of a visual thinker, use pictures on their own or associated with the corresponding words. Do not limit yourself to the above ideas. If your child loves trains, create a scavenger hunt based on your local train station. Whatever you do, make it a fun event with lots of learning potential.