My mom is SUPER creative. When my sister and I were young my mom would come up with fabulous activities for us to participate in.  Activities that didn’t involve watching TV or just sitting inside doing nothing.  These activities grabbed our attention, engaged us so that we WANTED to participate.

When I was 10, my sister and I were lucky enough to take a trip to Israel with my grandparents.  Those of you whom have read previous posts know that I suffered from extreme separation anxiety. It didn’t matter that I was traveling with my grandparents.  What mattered and caused me anxiety was that I was going to be away from my parents for 2 weeks!

Getting me into the car to drive to the airport was a challenge for my parents and grandparents.  I was inconsolable. However as soon as I buckled up I was handed a fabulous packet of activities to keep me busy on my long trip from California to Israel.  My mom had prepared this wonderful packet of word searches, pictograms, and connect the dots.  But the very first activity my sister and I were given was a sort of scavenger hunt.

We were presented with a list of questions that we needed to find the answer to before we took off on the plane.  The questions involved the name of the gentleman driving us to the airport, where he was from, what freeway we were taking, what airline we were traveling, etc.  The activity was a way to distract me from my anxiety and let me tell you, I stopped crying 2 blocks away from my house.  I was so into the hunt and finding all the answers that I had completely forgotten what I was frightened about.

According to searches on Dictionary.com, a scavenger hunt is a game in which individuals or teams are sent out to accumulate…a series of common, outlandish or humorous objects. Many scavenger hunts are comprised of objects or photos of individuals completing particular tasks. My mother had created a scavenger hunt based on communication and information.

Scavenger hunts are wonderful activities that anyone can participate in.  They also work on amazing cognitive and social skills.  Participating in a scavenger hunt requires the use of problem solving skills – in fact some hunts require that you solve one problem in order to advance to the next level. In addition, skills such as critical thinking, social skills, creativity, and communication, attention to the environment, visual scanning and sequencing can all be utilized when participating in a scavenger hunt.

One of the best parts of a scavenger hunt is that you can be completely creative and make up your own.  If you’re stuck at home on a rainy day with the kids, create a scavenger hunt with things around the house.  If your kids are old enough to have phones (or if you are brave enough to loan them yours for a time), make the scavenger hunt photo based. You set up the rules, and engage your kids in some fun activities for a while. 🙂