Scavenger hunts are a great way to get kids of all ages active in the great outdoors – no matter the time of year. Why not plan a fun scavenger hunt for your kiddos and their friends this March Break? Here are some tips.
Location, location, location
A scavenger hunt can be a quick activity accomplished in a tight timeframe or it can be a long, meandering affair. Think about the people who will be hunting with you and which version will be best for them when you’re choosing the location. Do you have a group of toddlers whose little legs you’ll need to consider? Or do you have a group of energetic grade-schoolers who could run for days? Maybe you’re looking to add some interest to a long cross-country ski practice. Keep these constraints in mind as you’re choosing your location.
Plan your route
Whether you’re just heading around the block or hitting a new-to-you nature trail, it’s a good idea to have an outline of where you’ll be starting and stopping your walk, and any points of interest along the way. This will help you plan the list of items to find and give your winter scavenger hunt a bit of momentum.
Set a theme
Your options are endless when it comes to choosing a theme for your scavenger hunt. Consider your audience carefully and pick one that matches their interests and attention spans – and the location where you’re hunting.
Ideas for scavenger hunt themes include:
- Five senses – find one item each that you can see, hear, touch, smell and taste
- Alphabet – find 26 items, one per letter of the alphabet; if you’re in an urban area, you could also search for the actual letters!
- Furred and feathered friends – make a list of common animals and birds that you might expect to see on your walk and check them off as you encounter them
- Shapes – look for items in nature that match the most common shapes
If you’ve got a young Spark, Ember or Scout in your group, see if you can align your walk with the requirements for one of their badges. Have a young athlete in your midst? Make a sporty scavenger hunt that involves doing exercises at certain locations.
Make a list
You can’t have a scavenger hunt without a list of things to find! Develop your theme to build your list – you might want to involve your hunters in this stage. Think about where you’ll be hunting and consider arranging your list in the order that you’ll find the objects, especially if you’re working with little kids. Bigger kids will have the memories and attention spans to match, so it’s less crucial to put in the organizational work up front.
Claim to fame
Think about how you’ll gather each find: will you write it on or check it off your list, pick up the actual item, or take your photo with it (hello, selfies!). Be sure to allow time at the end of the activity to double-check the finds against the list.
Decide on a prize
What’s a winter activity without a tasty treat at the end of it? Reward everyone’s hard work with a delicious hot chocolate or other healthful snack.
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