List of obscure objects or ‘things’ that need to be found
In advance, write a list of ordinary and peculiar objects on a sheet of paper.
Copy this list and distribute it to every small team.
Challenge each team to locate and collect every item on the list within a set time limit, eg 1 hour.
Answer any questions and describe any boundaries, if necessary.
When ready, announce the time has started.
All teams must return before the allotted time expires.
Award points for each collected item.
The team with the most points wins.
How To Play Narrative
In advance, you will need to develop a list of ‘objects’ for your groups to collect (see below for some recommendations). You will need to copy as many of these lists for each small group you intend to participate.
Then, divide your group into teams of about 4 to 8 people and issue them with your list.
After you have fielded the obligatory questions and concerns about the items on your list, synchronise the watches of your group and let them go.
Allow as long as you like for the scavenge to endure, but anything up to an hour is normally plenty of time, but of course, this depends on many factors. For example, the number of items to collect, how difficult they may be to locate, the abilities of your group, etc.
For the competitively minded, award one point per item and/or give certain harder-to-find items extra bonus points.
I recommend that the list ranges from the simple (a toilet brush) to the unlikely (a 1970 coin) to the bizarre (an emu feather). It’s a good idea to have a wide selection of objects because you’ll always be amazed at what people can discover and/or get their hands on.
Here’s a sample list that will give you a few ideas to start with:
Fifty dollar note
Telephone book from another city
Photo of Princess Diana
Chicken breast bone (wishbone)
Glass Coca-Cola bottle
Audio or video cassette tape
Ace of spades
Dice with more than 6 sides
Book written by an author named David
Dumbbell (any weight)
Sock with a hole in the toes
Colourful bird feather
Naturally, you need to compile a list of objects that will not only be fun to collect but will in some cases be difficult to find. Challenge is, after all, the essence of this form of team-based hunt.
Practical Leadership Tips
If necessary, for the purposes of safety and crowd management, you may need to offer some guidance about boundaries or other rules to limit how far any person or group may wander.
Be very clear that all groups must return when they have collected all of the objects on their list or the time has elapsed, whichever comes first. If necessary, deduct points for every minute a group is late.
It should go without saying, but… please do not list anything that could be damaged or infringe on the health or rights of other people or living beings, eg pets, live plants, fragile items or specific people.
You could integrate Scavenger Hunt as part of a well-designed SEL program to promote and maintain healthy and supportive relationships and to effectively navigate settings with diverse people.
Specifically, this activity offers ample opportunities to explore and practice the following social & interpersonal skills:
Identifying Personal, Cultural & Linguistic Assets
You can learn more about SEL and how it can support character education here.
Health & Wellness Programming
There is no specific health & wellness perspective to this activity other than promoting the benefits to one’s wellbeing of solving a series of interesting tasks with a small team.
In a small way, you could argue that the focus required to interact and engage physically with others may speak to the benefits of having developed a set of supportive and healthy behavioural norms in advance. Or, if not, you could use these less-than-desired interactions or outcomes to explore what sorts of behaviours your group would prefer to see. For example, you could invite your group to reflect on the level of safety consciousness that was demonstrated during the activity and relate this to a set of observed impacts on others.
If you can think of more explicit ways in which Scavenger Hunt could be purposefully integrated into a health and wellness program, please leave a comment at the base of this page.
Time-Limited Scavenger Hunt: Compile a very large list of items and allow only a short timeframe to locate any of them. That is to say, each group will need to consider how they spend their time searching for a bunch of low-value items or collecting only a couple of high-value items. It should not be possible for any one group to collect all of the items.
All or Nothing: Compile a very short list of items that are generally readily accessible. Offer an open timeframe meaning the first group to collect all of the items wins.
Quite Bizarre: Develop a list of ridiculous things, such as an ‘A P B J,’ ‘snail egg,’ ‘tweed,’ ‘zipper zapper,’ etc, and see what your groups come up with. Very inventive, and a wonderful game to inspire creativity.
Themed Scavenger Hunt: Compile a list of ‘things’ that have a common theme, such as nautical, animal, clothing, horticultural, etc.
Take a look at Treasure Hunt to enjoy a similar hunt that takes place over a much larger area.
Open the Virtual Adaptation tab to learn how to present this activity online.
Issue your list to small teams which have been gathered together in breakout rooms. Request that each item that is sourced must be photographed (for proof) and uploaded to a central spot such as a dedicated (private) remote learning web page, ie at the end of the hunt, it should be possible to view a collage of screenshots and photographs of each object. Note, for verification purposes, require that the photograph must feature a team member holding the item, ie it’s very easy to source images of anything via Google these days.
You Might Also Like...
Need A Shoelace
A team-based treasure hunt with a difference.
Medley of extremely fun, interactive balloon games.
Capture The Flags
Exhausting variant of a classic team-based wide game.
Useful Framing Ideas
We’ve all misplaced or lost something which sometimes takes a long time to find again. Well today, I have a list of things that are particularly difficult to find. If you work together, I’m sure the list won’t seem so difficult…
Reflection Tips & Strategies
Coupled with one or more reflection strategies, here are some sample questions you could use to process your group’s experience after playing this highly interactive large group game:
What were the most difficult items to get your hands on?
What strategies did your group employ to locate the items on your list?
Was there a division of labour? Why?
To be successful, describe three of the most important skills involved in this challenge.
The inspiration for Scavenger Hunt, and many more large group activities, was sourced from the following publication: