Virtual adaptation of popular team-based challenge.
Don’t forget, you can download 60+ templates from the Resources tab, many of which are ready to be copy & pasted directly into your padlets.
Many padlets which are integrated into online scavenger hunts have a similar format. This video will show you how to save a lot of duplication and time.
If you choose to adopt a linear format for your online scavenger hunt, this video will show you how easy it is to secure a padlet with a password (which is typically an answer to unlock the next challenge.)
One of your final steps is to create a set of slides to help your group prepare for your online event.
In our efforts to adapt the ever-popular Scavenger Hunt group activity to the virtual world, playmeo had two primary objectives – it had to be simple and inexpensive to set-up and, importantly, easy for teams of participants to use on the day of the event.
In our search for the best platform, we settled on padlet.com. Like all software solutions, there is a learning curve, but it’s relatively short and we’ve created a ton of useful tutorials and resources to help you succeed. We’ve also made it super-easy for you to create your own sequence of challenges by supplying everything you need to populate them.
Plus, as a playmeo member, you get unlimited tech support to help you bring your event online. Just ask for help at any time.
Specifically, this is what we have in store for you:
Feel free to skip ahead and watch the video tutorials or continue with the steps below to learn more.
Your First Step
…is to register for a monthly or annual (Individual Pro) padlet account. If you intend on conducting regular online scavenger hunt events, sign-up for an annual plan for $96, or if you’re planning a one-off event, register for a monthly plan for only $10 and cancel in 30 days.
Once you become familiar with the padlet technology (don’t worry, it’s pretty easy,) you have five primary tasks to complete:
The following sections will guide you step by step through each of these tasks.
By the way, if at some point you realise that you do not want to bother with this effort, you can always engage playmeo to design & deliver an online scavenger hunt for you. It’s super cost-effective and guaranteed to work (or you don’t pay.)Book Now
This is the fun part, creating and/or selecting the puzzles or challenges you want your group to engage with.
To get started, take a look at the 60+ templates of fun challenges and puzzles we have built for you in the Resources tab, all of them ready for you to download and integrate into your event. They include collections of:
No doubt, many of these pre-prepared challenges will inspire you to think of new ideas, which is what we hope you do.
To keep people engaged, be sure to integrate a wide variety of challenges rather than use one or two types, ie do not present a series of secret code puzzles only.
Most groups, when working in small teams, have been engaged effectively for 40 to 60 minutes which strikes a good balance between motivation and depth. In this time, they successfully completed between 7 and 12 puzzles and challenges.
Naturally, timing will always vary according to the type and difficulty of the challenges you choose and the abilities of your group.
Note, you will need to create one unique padlet (or page) for every challenge you choose to present (this is super-easy, look in the Video Tutorial tab for the Creating Padlets video to show you how.)
To illustrate how padlets work, two ready-to-view online examples will be presented in a later section.
Once you have chosen your series of challenges, you need to decide the most suitable format in which to present them. Broadly speaking, you have two choices:
In case you’re wondering, one format is not necessarily better than the other, it really depends on your purpose and the type of program you are running.
The primary difference between each format is the sequence in which you present your challenges/padlets:
Your next task is to create a unique padlet (or page) for each of your chosen puzzles or challenges, plus one or two others to support the start and closing elements of your event.
In practical terms, this means you will embed the content and data of your chosen set of puzzles and challenges (you will find several collections of them in the Resources tab) into a series of padlets which you will create. In almost all cases, your content will comprise text and images and, on occasions, audio & video files.
To make this task super-easy, I have produced three video tutorials that are worth watching right now (see Video Tutorial tab.) Then, I present two practical examples you can explore online (see section below.)
To guide your efforts, I have created the structure of two ready-to-view online scavenger hunts, one for each format:
(a) Time-Limited Scavenger Hunt
Here’s a simple online scavenger hunt structure with three challenges to give you a glimpse of what padlets look like and how they function (click the links to explore:)
Start Here (this padlet features links to ALL of the following challenges)
Challenge 1 Challenge 2 Challenge 3
For time-limited scavenger hunts, you could choose to add the instructions for all of the challenges within one padlet. This approach may be simpler, but certainly not as interesting – you choose.
Note, each padlet is identified with a unique URL (or web page.)
(b) Linear Scavenger Hunt
Here’s a simple online scavenger hunt structure with three linear challenges to give you a glimpse of how you progress from one challenge to the next (you will need to start from the Start Here padlet.)
All teams will be directed to this padlet (page) at the very start and will see one link only to the first challenge. You may also invite your teams to engage in one or more get-to-know-you activities before they open their first challenge.
Challenge 1 > Challenge 2 > Challenge 3
When each challenge is solved, a team must enter their answer (which represents a password) into a pop-up box to unlock the next challenge. This means, that you will embed the URL of the next padlet (challenge) as part of this link, which in the case of the above challenges read as “Click HERE to enter your answer.”
Only if the answer entered is correct will they progress to the next challenge. As guided in this sample padlet, click the link to the first challenge above to test this in real-time.
You can learn how to change the privacy and password settings of a padlet in the Securing Padlets video tutorial.
One benefit of the padlet technology is that it allows all teams to progress through the challenges at their own pace without interference from others. And with password-protect security, it is not possible for any challenge to be viewed unless and until the correct password (answer) is entered solving the challenge before it.
You’re now ready to create a set of slides that will help prepare your group for what they need to know and how to navigate their way through the hunt.
If not viewed already, take a look at the Preparing your Welcome Slides video (see Video Tutorial tab) to become acquainted with a generic set of Welcome slides. Feel free to adopt the structure of these generic slides for your own purposes.
Generally speaking, you want to present the following information (at a minimum:)
Once your slides are prepared, you share them via your video conferencing platform, eg Zoom, to prepare your group.
Honestly, the above four steps are the most time-consuming (but totally satisfying.)
And happily, once you put the effort in, you can replay your scavenger hunt over and over again with very little extra effort.
With all of the necessary collateral prepared, the remaining steps are pretty easy.
playmeo has only ever used Zoom as its preferred video conferencing/meeting platform, but you can use most other popular video meeting software applications (such as Webex, MS Teams, GoToMeeting and Bluejeans) to host your online scavenger hunt. That said, we always recommend Zoom to our members and clients because it’s widely known and features the most user-friendly bells & whistles.
Naturally, one of your next steps is to look after the set-up of the video conference meeting (to host the scavenger hunt) and registrations.
Once the day/night arrives, you will welcome your group to the event and share your screen to present your Welcome slides. This should take no more than 10 minutes.
Look after any questions, synchronise your watches, and you’re ready to share the starting URL (your first padlet) with your group.
Be sure to share the starting URL BEFORE you move into breakout rooms, lest it becomes difficult to communicate this vital data afterwards (yep, this advice comes directly from first-hand experience.) To make it super-easy for your group, enter the starting URL into your chat room (it will likely appear as a clickable link.)
In regards to team size, I strongly recommend teams of no less than 3 and no more than 5 people. Every group is different, of course, but groups of two are not fun enough and six or more become a bit unwieldy.
A Strong Recommendation…
If your groups are a mix of strangers, it’s a really good idea to allow 5 to 10 minutes before the hunt officially starts for the members of each small team to get to know one another. There are ample fun ways to make this happen, just select the Virtual Filter tab when you search our growing library of (virtual) icebreakers.
If this interests you, take a look at this padlet as just one example of what is possible. In this case, I invited each small team to share some interesting information about themselves and upload a screenshot of their collective Zoom video thumbnails to share with others (and to verify that they were ready to start.)
Your event has now started, your teams are busy acquainting themselves and/or starting to tackle their first challenge, and… you haven’t got much else to do. If you’ve prepared well, this is exactly what should be happening.
However, as we all live in the real world, you can expect some teams or individuals to need help. This is where the Help padlet comes in.
My strongest recommendations are to:
When someone clicks on the Help link, a new browser window will open to reveal a unique Help chatroom padlet where they will be invited to ask their question or seek help.
Also, depending on the features of your video conferencing platform, you may also be able to pop in and out of the various breakout rooms to check on the progress of your teams.
It’s good practice to broadcast a whole-of-group message to all breakout rooms about 10 minutes prior to the finishing time. In my experience, this is always greeted with shrieks of “What? Only 10 minutes left…!”
Then, once the nominated time has elapsed or everyone has returned to the primary meeting room (because they have completed all of the challenges,) you will greet all participants as they return from their various breakout rooms.
If team development was your goal, or even if it wasn’t, it’s always a good idea to invite your group to reflect on what just happened. There will be many stories to tell, especially as almost all of the action was in small teams out of sight of the whole group.
If you need help, just reach out. Having run many padlet-fuelled online scavenger hunts now, there are very few problems I can’t fix or don’t have a solution for.
And if you’ve got this far and now realise you don’t want to go to all of this effort, you can always engage me to design & deliver your online scavenger hunt for you. It’s super cost-effective and guaranteed to work (or you don’t pay.)
Don’t forget, if you need help – any help – to design and create your very own online scavenger hunt, let me know. As a playmeo member, my time is yours.
Yes, it is entirely possible to use other software to conduct an online scavenger hunt, some of which is free, eg Google Docs, Jamboard and Google Slides. In our experience, however, these options are more complicated than they need to be and fraught with technology issues. Of course, like all software solutions, padlet has its limitations, too. But, compared to the alternatives and based on the results of many real trials, padlet is far and away the best platform to deliver an online scavenger hunt. I hope you agree. And if you don’t, please reach out to playmeo for help, we’d be happy to problem-solve with you.
Beware those in your group who may struggle with technology. It is fair to say not everyone will be as tech-savvy as you, so what may be obvious to you may be downright hidden to others. When in doubt, provide a direction and if possible, add a video, ie most people know how to click the video play button.
If you adopt a Time-Limited format, it is common to see some teams divide the total number of tasks and assign certain members to them, eg different people will solve different challenges at the same time. On one hand, there is nothing inherently wrong with this efficient approach, but if your intention is to invite lots of sharing and interaction as a small team, then this may not be the most useful format. You could require small teams to ‘stay together’ but this is hard to monitor, not to mention police.
Note, every padlet challenge is hosted on its own unique URL. This means that it is highly likely that your teams will have opened 10 or more new browser windows before your event is complete. There is nothing wrong with this occurring, but some participants report getting lost when they move around some of their browser windows.
To repeat. if you’d rather engage a professional to design and conduct an online scavenger hunt for your group, reach out to playmeo for a quote that includes personalised design and delivery using the awesome padlet platform. It’s really affordable, so enquire today.Book Now
You could integrate Online 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 opportunities to explore and practice the following social & interpersonal skills:
You can learn more about SEL and how it can support character education here.
There is no specific health & wellness perspective to this activity other than promoting the benefits to one’s well-being of enjoying a good laugh.
That said, it is possible you could intentionally design an online scavenger hunt with a specific health & wellness focus.
If you can think of more explicit ways in which an Online Scavenger Hunt could be purposefully integrated into a health and wellness program, please leave a comment at the base of this page.
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As you know, our group is spread all over the world, so coming together is difficult to make happen right now. Yet, this will not prevent you from working together in small teams to solve a series of fun challenges…
Many of you will have enjoyed a “scavenger hunt” when you were in school or perhaps a youth group or camp program. Admittedly, while few of us are located in the same place right now, it is possible to bring the joy of a scavenger hunt to you…
Coupled with one or more reflection strategies, here are some sample questions you could use to process your group’s experience after playing this wonderful virtual exercise:
While the inspiration for the puzzles and challenges themselves are sourced from many people and places, the design of the actual Online Scavenger Hunt templates (not to mention the integration with the padlet technology) is all playmeo.
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I’ve created and used scavenger hunts with Padlet with several groups (after being introduced to it by playmeo). It’s an awesome activity – super engaging for small breakout rooms in Zoom.
I was excited to see this activity offered with support. Before I purchase the padlet subscription (for a month rather than a year), I was wondering if it’s possible to plan and organize everything and then host the scavenger hunt all within a month’s time before access to the padlet runs out. Can anyone give me a time frame of what to expect? Thank you!
Michael, you ask a good question. I think it’s possible to do everything from within the month, but if you are concerned, I would suggest that you could do a lot of pre-work in advance, eg plan which challenges you will use, their sequence, their passwords, create all of the images you wanted to upload, etc. Then, you could use your month’s registration to not only become acquainted with padlet but build the whole event. Reach out if you ever need help!
Hi Mark, Great content. Thank you. Have you run into any issues with organizations that block access to these kinds of websites? I have a few companies I work with that have blocked sites like Flippity.
Hey Greg, thanks for your comment. No, I am not aware of the padlet technology being blocked by certain companies. The only place I do know coverage is patchy is in China (which is a whole other kettle of fish.) What’s the issue with Flippity? Is it because it requires access to Google Drives/Docs?