By Jessica Born / May 22, 2020

Scavenger hunts – Taking hands-on, minds-on learning on the move

I am a huge fan of lists. I even have lists for my lists. And checking things off is my favorite thing.

I also love mysteries.

So, it’s pretty fitting that I am also a big fan of scavenger hunts. What’s better than a quest for treasure or solving a riddle in order to get to the next step, all while checking off the boxes in the process? It’s problem-solving, creativity, active thinking, and fun all in one!

During the pandemic, we saw the rise of the tried-and-true scavenger hunt. In particular, there was the adorable “Bear Hunt” through neighborhoods and communities based on the children’s book We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen. Costumes, props, and creatures of many types – not just stuffed bears — were included on the adventure. Businesses, people working from home, grandparents, and organizations all got in on the fun. We’ve also spotted spin-offs such as safaris through town, which seem like such a good time!

We also loved the Gratitude Scavenger Hunt, as shared by We Are Teachers, that encourages a bit of a slower pace and more reflection as you find specific things for which you are grateful. This is one that’s good for all ages and could be repeated often!

And, Pitsco’s even shared our own version of a STEAM Scavenger Hunt that will have you searching for all things STEMspired such as examples of arches or simple machines, numbers that have a decimal, something that floats, or an item that can be used to communicate a message. To mix things up, you could also make this hunt into a bingo game with first to five or make an X wins!

Benefits of a Scavenger Hunt

  • Promotes learning through observation (really looking around, seeing things in new ways, recalling sights)
  • Encourages and demonstrates the value of play (exploration, creativity, imagination)
  • Encourages movement (getting up and about)
  • Furthers skills to handle challenges and constraints (time limits, hard clues, difficult-to-find items, barriers, laws and rules)
  • Furthers communication skills (sharing ideas, making suggestions, talking through differing answers, taking turns)
  • Varies in complexity (can adapt to any age)
  • Happens anywhere (grocery store, car ride, outdoors, indoors)

For more details, Scholastic and Medium have some great quick reads on this.

How to Plan a Scavenger Hunt

The Spruce outlines the planning of a hunt succinctly: “There are different types of treasure hunts: indoor hunts, backyard or neighborhood hunts, or a photo-based hunt. You can increase the level of complexity and scope of the hunt, depending on the child’s age. Determine the type of hunt that is right for you and the child. Create or print out clues.

“Make some ground rules. Anticipate that the child will be excited to get started. Rule one: No running. If more than one child is playing along, they will be a team. The second rule should involve taking turns to read the clues.”

In general:

  • Determine your type of hunt and its complexity level.
  • Make ground rules and parameters (time limit, roles in team, and so on).
  • Consider the weather.
  • Ensure safety.
  • Gather any necessary supplies.
  • Follow all local laws and regulations.
  • Have fun!

Fun Hunts to Explore Next

There are SO many ideas on Pinterest and from simple web searches. We found these three sources to be great starting places for hours of adventure and exploration. You can also make your own!

National Scavenger Hunt Day is May 24 each year. Hope you’ve found a few ideas to help with your celebration! Have other favorites? Share them in the comments.

Happy hunting!
Scavenger-Hunts-600-0520

 

TOPICS: BEYOND THE CLASSROOM, IDEAS & INSPIRATION, Culture, STEM, Trends, Resources, Activities, Maker Ed, STEAM

Jessica Born

Written by Jessica Born

Well, hey there! I’m the digital marketing manager for Pitsco Education. Marketing and special events have been my jam for about the last decade. I’m an alumna of Kansas State University and the University of Arkansas. I fill my Pitsco days with social media management and supporting video and web projects. My weekends are for time in the kitchen, real estate and home projects, and adventuring with my husband and our Dood, Garth. The best part of my role here is getting to bring creativity and organization to our efforts to connect with YOU!