Target Age Class: 9-12
Category of Play: Problem Solving Play
Areas of Improvement: Communication and Creativity
Ready, set, scavenger hunt! The whole family will be excited to get involved in this problem solving activity which you can do with the comfort of your own home. All you need are some index cards, a marker or two, your imagination, and your problem solving skills!
First, begin the activity by discussing what a scavenger hunt is. Traditionally, it is an activity that involves finding specified items on a given list. Tell your child that they are going to search their home for items, but a little problem solving is going to be required because this scavenger hunt has clues and will make them think outside of the box, so items on the list can vary and may not be simple or too obvious.
Next, create several clues to include on the list. Clues can be stated in an open ended fashion or rhyme. One example of a clue that is open ended and does not rhyme could be, “Find an object that can be found in a doctor’s office, school, or pharmacy.” Your child could look for a band aid, hand sanitizer, soap, or even a thermometer. You can make the hunt more challenging by setting a specific number of items that they need to find per clue.
Another example of a clue that is open ended and does rhyme could be, “It’s soft and white, and sticky too. Just a few little dabs will do.” Your child will need to make an inference and activate their prior knowledge about the clues. They should search for a bottle of glue. They should then justify why they chose to search for glue. They may respond that glue is sticky, it’s not hard, and it’s usually white in color. Glue is also something you dab onto a surface because too much of it will make a mess.
At first, your child may struggle with explaining why they searched for an object. You can help foster their thinking by asking them prompting questions. Your child may also surprise you and find something else that you did not have in mind, but that still fits the description on your scavenger hunt list. As long as they can justify their choice, they can scratch the clue off of their list.
After playing this game that the whole family can get involved in, you can challenge your child to create their own clues for family members to solve. Encourage them and remind them to first have three items in mind to create clues for. Tell them to think about words that describe each item without giving too much detail. Your child may struggle at first with learning how to be general, rather than specific, so be prepared to guide them and offer them suggestions for the next set of clues that they write.
Planning a scavenger hunt that uses general clues will encourage your child to use their problem solving strategies and improve their verbal skills, and creativity while having lots of family fun!