Thursday, June 9, 2011

Summer Learning Fun: A Hunting We Will Go

There's something so excited about looking for something, and then finding it. Harnessing that kind of excitement for making learning discoveries can create engaging and meaningful learning activities. One easy way to do that is with a scavenger hunt. Unlike a treasure hunt (which can also be fun and educational), a scavenger hunt doesn't necessarily require prior preparation (such as writing clues and hiding them)

 The beauty of this kind of activity is that it really can be designed to fit your individual needs, and opens up the opportunity for creativity. It can take place essentially anywhere, and be adapted to fit different subject areas and ages. Here are just a few ideas to get you started and thinking about your own scavenger hunts.

#1. Decide on a place to look. 
Places could be as simple as in your house, backyard or neighborhood or as far as the grocery store, the library, the park or just the things you see as you are driving in your car. 

#2. You need something to look for! This is where you can tie in subjects like literacy, math, and science. I'll list some general hunts below, but don't be afraid to get creative!  

#3. The materials you use and the approach you'd like to take is up to you!
You could---

---work together to make a list of things you want to find (depending on the age, you could use words or pictures- but you don't even need a list. Sometimes it's fun just to see what you find within a certain category)
---use a digital camera to take pictures of the items you find
---use paper and art materials to draw what you find
---just use your eyes to find stuff and talk about what you find
---if you choose to take pictures or draw pictures, you could make a book out of those pictures!

Alphabet Hunt
*Search for letters, words, or items that begin with certain letters
*Recording what they find is a great way for them to practice their writing skills!

Number Hunt
*Search for numbers, or certain numbers of items
*Counting out and drawing items can help build number sense 

Shape Hunt
*Look for shapes in everyday objects
*This can be really fun with buildings!
*Take pictures or draw the shapes

Five Senses Hunt
*Track and record ways you use your five senses

Let the kids be involved with thinking of things to hunt for as well. I think the key to making this a successful and fun learning activity is to be interactive during the process, but give the kids some room to make their own discoveries. 

Happy Hunting!

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