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Tips for a Classroom Scavenger Hunt for First Graders

written by: Olive Estrella Coronado • edited by: Kellie Hayden • updated: 1/5/2012

Are kids natural scavengers? In a way, they are, because of their inborn curiosity and longing for exploration. Read on to discover ideas for first grade scavenger hunts you can set up in the classroom!

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    Natural Scavengers

    Image from davis3rd.blogspot.com Have you noticed how young kids and even babies tend to be natural scavengers, constantly searching around the house or classroom for items to tinker or play with? This is because of their instinctive curiosity about the things around them. They just love to explore and discover new things! And this is precisely the reason why the famous scavenger hunt is an effective activity in the classroom for children to learn and have fun at the same time! Check out the different ideas for first grade scavenger hunts below.

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    Race to the Most

    Scavenger hunts are truly fun. You can hide pictures, words, or actual items around the classroom for your students to find. It can be as simple as showing a sample of something which they have to look for, and you can turn each round into a race to collect the most number of this item! This activity can also be easily connected to your lesson or theme. For instance, if you are learning about animals, you may hide pictures of different animals around the classroom and have them find the exact same picture. A more challenging variation is to have one group look for land animals while another looks for water animals. Similarly, one group can look for synonyms of beautiful while another looks for synonyms of happy.

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    Map Trail

    Develop your kids' map skills while they enjoy playing the scavenger hunt. Provide clues and items in each hidden location, while they look to the provided map for guidance as to where they have to go next. For example, a clue could go like this: Turn left and go straight until you reach the back wall. Look for something hard and tall. The first group to finish all the stops or to discover all the locations wins!

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    Alphabet Hunt

    Give the kids limited time to grab as many letters of the alphabet around the classroom as they can. Afterwards, they have to go back to their groups and pool all their letters. Each group must try to form as many words as they can, by using the letters they have collected. The group with the highest number of words wins. Or to add a twist, you can allot points for the number of letters in each word. For instance, 3 points for three-letter words, 4 points for four-letter words, and so on. This game will surely improve the literacy skills of your kids!

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    Parts of a Whole

    Let your students search the classroom for parts of something they need to build or form. For example, if your lesson is about parts of the body, you can cut out pictures of the different parts and have each group collect all the parts and form the body on the board or on the floor. It can also be a math exercise, if you use different shapes and let each group find those that when put together will form a specific house (provide the picture of the expected outcome). There are many more ways in which you can make this game fit your lesson or theme. Just let your creative self take over!

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    Image from taylorlibraryblog.blogspot.com Perhaps you can use one or more of these ideas for first grade scavenger hunt activities in class. You can surely connect them to your lessons and use them to catch the attention of the students and engage them in the follow-up discussion. You may also use them as enrichment activities, depending on what kind of scavenger hunt you prepare. Good luck and enjoy!