This week, Arlo and I have been eating, living and breathing scavenger hunts in the run up to Easter. It’s one of my absolute favourite things to do and I so I thought it would be the perfect thing to discuss this week!
What are scavenger hunts?
A scavenger hunt is a game where you are given a list of things to find or clues to solve. The goal is to find all the items on the list or solve all the clues as quickly as possible. Scavenger hunts can be fun and can also help you develop skills like problem-solving and teamwork. You can play the game indoors or outdoors, and they can be easily adapted to suit a whole host of topics. The most common time for scavenger hunts is Easter, but they can be used to teach any subject such as maths, phonics and science!
What are the benefits of scavenger hunts?
There are so many benefits to scavenger hunts. They are one of Arlo’s absolute favourite ways to learn and I am a real advocate for them. I have used scavenger hunts during Ofsted observed lessons in my role as a teacher and had Outstanding lesson gradings as a result. I have yet to find a topic I couldn’t turn into a scavenger hunt nor have I ever found a child who hasn’t enjoyed them!
They are also great for children who have a ton of energy or who struggle to focus for long periods. This is because they are moving from here to there, so never really feel as if they are staying on one task (even though they are!)
So, here are the benefits of scavenger hunts:
Adventure and Exploration: Scavenger hunts provide a sense of adventure and exploration. Kids get to discover new places, objects, and clues as they search for the items on their list.
Challenge and Competition: Scavenger hunts can be competitive, which is something many kids enjoy. They like the challenge of trying to be the first to find all the items on the list or completing the scavenger hunt in the shortest amount of time. Even if they are not very competitive in nature, it can be a great way to encourage quick thinking as they rush to complete the hunt.
Get outdoors: While Arlo and I love a rainy day scavenger hunt, they really come to life when you take them outdoors. They are a great way to get in your 1000 hours outdoors and also make your outdoor garden space more interactive. Not just that, but you can easily set up a scavenger hunt wherever you are. So, if you’re planning a free day out with a walk at the local nature reserve or woodland, a scavenger hunt can really extend your fun and make the day memorable.
Creativity and Imagination: Scavenger hunts can be designed in a way that encourages creativity and imagination. For example, clues might be written in riddles or puzzles, which require kids to think outside the box and use their problem-solving skills.
Sense of Accomplishment: When kids complete a scavenger hunt, they feel a sense of accomplishment and pride in their achievement. This can be a boost to their self-esteem and confidence.
How to make you scavenger hunt a success!
Here are my top tips for making your scavenger hunt a success:
- Make sure you keep note of where you have put each card yourself. You could snap a picture on your phone of each one or jot it down on a piece of paper. There is nothing worse than having one go missing and no idea where it went!
- Don’t let bad weather spoil your fun. Scavenger hunts work just as well indoors!
- Set clear expectations. For example, if you are doing your scavenger hunt inside, you might explain that none of the clues are inside cupboards (as this prevents a huge mess of open cupboards!) Similarly, if you are outdoors you might say ‘there are none near the pond’ or ‘they are all this side of the slide’ etc. This helps to keep your little one safe but also helps limit the frustration if they can’t find all the cards!
- Think about access for different ages. If you have children of different ages, a great way to keep the game fair for all is to put some at different heights. For example, you could simply explain that any cards below your eldest child’s waist are for your younger child and those above are for your older child. This is really important especially if you have experienced older children finding everything quickly and younger children being left behind! Alternatively, you can print two sets of cards onto different coloured papers, so each child hunts for a different coloured card. 4
- Finally, be prepared to repeat the activity! In my experience, one scavenger hunt is never enough! So, decide ahead of time how many times you are prepared to play and what the organisation of that will look like. For example, what will your child do while you hide the scavenger hunt cards?
- Have fun! Honestly, scavenger hunts are one of my favourite learning tools. Remember to absorb the pure fun and excitement on their faces as they race around searching!
What scavenger hunts should I do with my child?
If you are a Little Learning Hub member, there are a ton of scavenger hunt resources inside!
Here are my favourite three (please note, if you are not logged in, you will get an error message when you click each link):
Safari Scavenger Hunt:
I love this one because Arlo can use it alongside his safari animal figures. Once we have done this scavenger hunt, Arlo always wants to spend the rest of the day playing with his animal toys, building a zoo from his magnetic tiles and so on.
It is also great to take with you when you going on a trip to the zoo!
Alphabet Scavenger Hunt:
This is a great activity to get some phonics practice in a fun, practical way. The idea is to match the photo to the phonics sound. I would hide the images around the house on a rainy day or garden if possible and get Arlo to choose a letter at random, then run around and find the matching image with the same sound (e.g. a for ant).
It is a great, hands on phonics education experience!
Garden Scavenger Hunt:
While this is called the ‘garden’ hunt, it is actually great for taking with you on outdoor explorations too! I love the idea of running around seeing what can be found and really getting to grips with nature. I know we are definitely guilty of often being outside without actually exploring the outside. This is a really great way to find out exactly what is in your garden or local area and gives children the ability to recognise common sights!