One of my most fond memories from my childhood was going on bushwalk adventures and collecting all different kinds of ‘treasure’ along the way and then sharing these with my parents and friends. Not only was this a great way to connect with nature, but it also built those close connections I still have with my family and friends today!
You don’t necessarily need the outdoors either – indoor scavenger hunting will keep the kids busy on those rainy days, especially with the holidays coming up! In a more structured sense, scavenger hunting is not only a fun play idea for your child, but it also has some hidden benefits that children can embrace along the way.
Making a scavenger hunt a group activity is a great way to help your child play with other children and practice using concepts such as keeping their body in the group, following the group plan, and using their thinking eyes. It also allows them to make some close friends along the way.
Scavenger hunts can provide the perfect play activity for kids to enhance their sensory development – whether it be simply exploring and becoming aware of their different senses or as part of a sensory diet to help keep your child regulated. For example, finding something green and soft, something wet and cold, or something fast and noisy. Using sight, smell, sound, and touch make for an awesome Sensory treasure hunt!
Mind and Body Exercise
Giving your child a Scavenger Hunt checklist (visual, written or verbal format) for them to go through and collect items to tick off is an enjoyable way of working on executive functioning such as sequencing, organising and reinforcing problem-solving skills. Scavenger hunting can also be a good exercise for the body, particularly those kiddos who are inseparable from their screens! You can incorporate clues that get kids moving in different ways, e.g. skipping, jumping, hopping from one point to another. Remember, you can get as creative as you like with this – Get those legs moving!
Connecting With Nature
If your kids are bouncing off the walls, then take the scavenger hunting outdoors and let them explore the natural wonders of our fantastic backyard here in Australia! The fresh air, vitamin D and green space are known to reduce stress and improve mood in adults and kids, so it’s a win all round. To get the benefits, encourage the kids to take their time collecting their nature treasures and take in their surroundings on their way. Bring along a magnifying glass or even binoculars to get up close and personal with the great outdoors. After the nature scavenger hunt is over, take some extra time to play with the treasure trove, and if in a group, allow the kids to share their treasures and strengthen those unique bonds with their peers and with you as parents!
Simply create a checklist (visual, written, verbal or both!) of things for your child/children to hunt for, and don’t forget you can be as creative as you like with this!
Some examples might be:
Find something that
- feels smooth
- is fluffy
- moves fast
- makes a sound
- you can crunch on
- has a nice smell
So if you’re stuck for some fun ideas in these upcoming holidays for your kiddo, why not get them to create their scavenger hunt or even come along to our OT-run Outdoor Explorers group. We’d love you to join us on a fun adventure!