Scavenger hunting, which originally evolved from folk games, became especially popular in the U.S. during the 1930s, and regular events are still held today, notably at schools like the University of Chicago. One of the reasons for their continued popularity is the fact that, unlike a treasure hunt, most things you’ll look for in a scavenger hunt are not valuable at all — in fact, they may well be completely useless, but the random nature of the searched-for items is all part of the fun. Some versions are rather like the old-fashioned I Spy game, with participants taking photos of what they “spy” in order to win, and other versions require a sophisticated level of strategic thinking. Whatever style appeals to you, celebrate National Scavenger Hunt Day on May 24 by either participating in a hunt, or planning one of your own!
National Scavenger Hunt Day Activities
Organize a scavenger hunt
An easy way to get started is by establishing a theme, which will set the tone for all the items to be collected, as well as for the clues, and even the location for the hunt. For example, if you’re in a fashionable urban environment, you could have a “Great Gatsby” theme, where participants hunt for (and take photos of) men wearing fedoras, women with bobbed hair, and anyone wearing fringe and dancing the Charleston. Prizes could include classic Gatsby-era cocktails like The Bee’s Knees.
Do a scavenger hunt at work
This could be a fun way to motivate your team to finish a troublesome project: the “items” to hunt for could be ideas for marketing an upcoming event, or revamping your social media image. When the project is finished, reward your scavengers with an office pizza party!
Plan a romantic scavenger hunt
Use your imagination to surprise your sweetie with a love-themed scavenger hunt. If your style is classic romantic, plan to hunt for candles, wine, and ingredients to cook a special dinner together; if you’re in a spicier mood, clues could lead to a date night movie and private coupons, to be redeemed by you when the hunt is over. Très romantique!
Why We Love National Scavenger Hunt Day
There’s a scavenger style for everyone
Most of us are familiar with the classic scavenger hunt, where you’re given a list of items to hunt for, and whoever finishes first is the winner. But did you know that variations include hunts with clues that first have to be deciphered before participants will know what they’re looking for, and another type involves taking photos of listed items? And for the tech-savvy (and those who may be less mobile), there are also international scavenger hunts using media and the internet that can draw hundreds of thousands of participants from around the world.
Scavenger hunting encourages creative thinking
There are many ways to learn, including rote memorization, but participating in a scavenger hunt requires a more creative way of thinking. For example — reading between the lines, analytic processes, and drawing conclusions in order to succeed. This kind of lateral thinking has been proven scientifically to not only increase intelligence, but also to stimulate the growth of brain cells. (Who knew?)
It’s a great group activity
Scavenger hunts, whether played outdoors or from your laptop, really cannot function as solo activities. With a group of friends or colleagues, and a friendly spirit of competition, scavenger hunts can create a fun sense of collaboration and community.