Look for clues while you’re on the move! Summer is in full swing, and everyone is eager to get outside. Bring novelty to trips to the park or with walks around the neighborhood by incorporating summer scavenger hunts with mini movement challenges. Kids will have fun keeping their eyes peeled for items on their list and look forward to their next opportunity to move. Parents and caregivers will love how easy it is to incorporate scavenger hunts into everyday activities and can even join in on the fun!
BENEFITS OF SCAVENGER HUNTS
A scavenger hunt is a hands-on way to reinforce important problem-solving skills. When kids interact in a tactile fashion while looking for their scavenger hunt items, the active process helps to increase retention as kids learn how to spot clues, why they may be more likely to find certain things in certain places, and where the best places are to look for some items.
Exploring outside is a great time to acknowledge reactions from the senses. Do you smell sweet flowers or food cooking on a grill? Do you feel soft grass or hard concrete? Do you see tall buildings or fluffy clouds? Do you hear crickets chirping or cars passing? As kids mindfully and meaningfully interact with their environments, their sensory development increases.
Inviting family members and friends to play along can add to the fun and promote teamwork. The social aspect of scavenger hunts means that everyone works together to find the items on the list. Learning to work together is an important and necessary skill for children to practice in a variety of settings.
SCAVENGER HUNT IDEAS
Try one of these scavenger hunt ideas as your next outdoor excursion. Having several scavenger hunts to choose from will keep the activity exciting. If your group includes multiple children, allow kids to take turns choosing the scavenger hunt and helping to choose your destination before you head out.
Incorporate opportunities for movement during your scavenger hunt. For example, have a “block party” at the end of each block when you’re on your way to your destination and back. Block party activities could include specific dance moves for 30-60 seconds or quick exercises such as criss-cross feet, jumping jacks, lunges, hopping on one foot, running in place, jumping in place, and squats.
You can also make time for movement each time you find an item on the list. Movement is a great way to celebrate your success and keep up your group’s energy. If possible, connect each movement to the item the group found. For example, stretch up tall for a tall tree or flap arms for a bird.
Before you begin your scavenger hunt, make a checklist of the items your group will search for. Invite children to help you make the list and plan where you will search. Remember to bring along your list, a clipboard, and a pencil or pen.
1. NATURE SCAVENGER HUNT
Flowers and plants, bushes and trees, insects and arachnids, amphibians and reptiles, birds and small mammals — there are many living things to search for outside! Other outdoor objects might include leaves, sticks, rocks, and bodies of water. Make sure anything that is growing or moving is safe before you attempt to pick up and/or touch it. If desired, bring along clipboards, paper, and pencils or crayons so kids can sketch what they find.
2. SEEING SHAPES SCAVENGER HUNT
Find and tally objects that are two-dimensional (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) geometric shapes. Connect objects with shapes including circles, ovals, triangles, squares, rectangles, parallelograms, rhombuses, pentagons, hexagons, and octagons. Look out for more complex shapes such as cubes, cones, cylinders, or spheres. As you hunt, write the real-world objects you find for each shape. Street signs, buildings, and vehicles provide ample opportunities to find both 2D and 3D shapes. What shape did you see the most?
3. MY FAVORITE THINGS SCAVENGER HUNT
This scavenger hunt is perfectly personalized and all about your favorite things! Look for your favorite flowers, plants, and trees. Spot a favorite insect, bird, and critter. Search for items that are your favorite colors, things you think are fun, things you are thankful for, things that make you happy, or things you think are beautiful. This scavenger hunt is sure to fill your group with joy and gratitude as you explore.
4. OUR COLORFUL WORLD SCAVENGER HUNT
Make your way through the rainbow and search for things that are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple (or other colors such as pink, brown, black, white, silver, and gold). Make tally marks to find out how many items you spot of each color. What color did you see the most? What thing included the most colors?
These scavenger hunts are sure to keep kids active and engaged throughout the summer and beyond!
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