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Hunting for something to do? Try a scavenger hunt!

Scavenger hunts are a very popular activity at the Hopewell Branch. It is an activity that our young patrons expect to do whenever they come to the library. It started as something we did for special events. When we had a party or a show we would put up a scavenger hunt to give the kids something to do while they waited for the event to start. It wasn’t long before it was expected that there would always be a scavenger hunt. Recently I have had some parents ask about how they can do this at home. Ready? There are many, many scavenger hunts already on the internet! They have great graphics and many are free for personal or school use. One site that I use a lot is the Resourceful Mama.

If I can’t find a scavenger hunt for a particular holiday, then I will search the internet for a free printable bingo card.

These are the steps I take when preparing the hunt at the library:

Step 1 – Find a free, printable scavenger hunt or bingo game on the internet.

Step 2 – Print the images and cut into individual pieces. These will be the pieces that you hunt for.

Step 3 – You need a second copy of the images for each participant to use as a check off sheet. I shrink down the original into a smaller version to be used as the check off form. It uses a lot less paper.

Step 4 –I also create a directions sheet so that the scavenger hunt can be done as an independent activity in the library. You won’t need this step at home.

Step 5 – I put them around the children’s section of the library. They are not hidden so that children do not have to do anything dangerous (like climbing or turning things over) to find the pieces.

Step 6 – Let the participants find them. We do not collect the pieces during the hunt but instead just check them off the entry form. That way many kids can play at the same time. I reached out to some library friends and asked them to do a scavenger hunt at home and send some photos. What I got back was more than pictures! They provided some creative variations on how to do the hunts!

The library friend on the left is doing the scavenger hunt inside while the friends on the right are crossing off the items as they find them in the back yard.

One family creates their own hunts using rhyming clues. Here is an example:
The parents hide the clue in a plastic egg. In the above example the family runs to the daffodils where they will find the next egg and a new clue.

More variations –

Don’t have a printer at home? No problem! Draw a grid on a piece of paper and fill it in with your own drawn pictures or words or both. This is a fun way to work on sight words. Collect the pieces when you are done and redistribute to different places. You will have a new hunt every time! If you need a little inspiration you can watch Laura, from the Lawrence Branch, who has created a make your own scavenger hunt video that you can find here

Little Mouse is a game we play in our story times. It is sort of a stationary scavenger hunt. At the library we have six or eight pictures of houses taped to an easel. We hide the mouse under one of the houses and the kids take turns finding it. You can print free images off the computer, or you can make your own. Use six or eight index cards for your houses and cut pictures out of a magazine to hide. You can take turns being the hider and the finder!

Here is another family fun idea. Dana, our Social Media librarian, has created a library bingo card. You can find it here (below) or on our social media accounts. Let us know how many boxes you cross off!
Need some more ideas for things to do with the kids at home? Here are some suggestions from the digital collection in our Virtual Branch.

365 Smart Afterschool Activities by Sheila Ellison - From making a monster mask to going on a bike photo safari, 365 Smart Afterschool Activities will let kids' imaginations soar with terrifically fun things to do during those valuable afterschool hours and beyond.

Vintage Indoor Games for Children - A fascinating illustrated collection of 106 vintage indoor games which will bring fun and excitement to participants of all ages.

Would You Rather Game Book for Kids: 500 Hilarious Questions, Silly Scenarios and Challenging Choices the Whole Family Will Love by Jenny Moore

Origami Games by Joel Stern – Fold and play fun origami games with this easy origami book for children.

- by Connie, Hopewell Branch

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