May 24th is National Scavenger Hunt Day. What is a scavenger hunt? It is a game in which people, either in groups or individually, try to locate items on a list provided by the game’s host. Scavenger hunts, which are also known in some places as treasure hunts, can be made for almost any occasion or age group and may range from simple photo hunts in which participants take pictures or videos of the items or the gathering of the items. Prizes may be given out after the game based on the completion in the time allotted. It is a great way to pair up people in groups who do not know each other well and have them work together and get to know each other at the same time.
History of the Scavenger Hunt
While no one knows exactly how the scavenger hunt originated, it is believed they evolved from old folk games. What is known is that Elsa Maxwell, a gossip columnist from New York used them at parties she hosted in the 1930s. They have grown in popularity ever since, and today there are various means by which a scavenger hunt can be completed, and various types of games. including geocaching, Pokemon Go, and even Randonautica are based on the scavenger hunt premise.
How to have a Scavenger Hunt
Having a scavenger hunt is a great activity for almost any gathering. They are used quite frequently for team building exercises and are great ways to get different groups of friends together and give them a getting to know you activity. They are also a wonderful way to fill a rainy day with a fun activity for kids. They can even be very educational depending on how you set them up. You can set them up in a list form and assign point values to the items found or in a treasure hunt fashion, where finding the next clue depends on successfully completing the last hint. No matter how you set them up, they are a lot of fun for everyone. You can have either one prize for the winner, or various prizes for each group. Prizes can be valuable, fun, silly, or even be just the thrill of the hunt. There are no hard and fast rules here.
Scavenger Hunt Ideas
- The Treasure Hunt ~ In order to win this event you must successfully solve the first clue, or puzzle, in order to find the next clue, and so on until you solve the final clue and find the prize. For fans of Big Bang Theory (BBT) you may remember Raj hosting a Treasure hunt in Season 7, Episode 3, The Scavenger Vortex.
- Themed Scavenger Hunt ~ The possibilities here are endless and any theme can be used. Below are a few examples for you to get your imagination going.
- Harry Potter
- Star Wars
- Baby Shower
- Roaring 20’s, 70’s, or any decade
- Pool or beach
- Red, white, & Blue ~ works for any patriotic holiday
- city wide hunt with clues
- country roads for things you can find/see in the country
- Photo/Video Scavenger Hunt ~ this one can be combined with the themed scavenger hunts and can be used in groups that meet in person, but this one can also be used if you cannot physically get together and find items and post your finds on a group web setting, such as Zoom or a private Facebook Group or event page and post your findings online.
- Virtual Scavenger Hunt ~ This type of scavenger hunt takes place completely online with people needing to follow clues to find items on various websites and give the website information or screenshot of the item once found.
To Watch on Scavenger Hunt Day
If you are not able to actually take part in a scavenger hunt today you can watch the 1979 movie “Scavenger Hunt” It is a fun comedy that has an all star cast who must find items that cannot just be bought. Here are some clips from the movie.
To Buy for Scavenger Hunt Day
If you don’t have the time or energy to make your own scavenger hunt, here are some great games you can purchase. These are just a few of the large variety you can find online for any occasion.
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CarsArtScienceHalloweenChristmasWeddingBaby ShowerAlphabetColorsAnimalsRed, White, & Blue (works for Memorial Day, Independence Day, etc.)MoviesRoaring 20’sDiscoBeach or PoolCity wide Scavenger huntCountry Roads