If you and your family are planning a weekend trip to a nearby city or are everyday city dwellers, provide a fun day for your little ones by creating an urban scavenger hunt. Take advantage of one of these urban treasure hunt ideas the next time you’re out and about in the city.
One of the draws of urban centers is plenty of available opportunities to check out interesting cultural sites. Whether you’re in the Big Apple, Seattle, or the nation’s capital, there are plenty of great places to see, from monuments and interesting buildings to parks and gardens. Keeping in mind whether you will be on foot or public transportation, map out a manageable route that includes between five to seven places that are on your list to visit while on your trip. Thinking both about their significance in the city and location, create age-appropriate riddles that children will be able to solve.
From a starting location, give the children a map that highlights the area of the city that will correspond to the clues. You can place stars inside any city block that has a destination to help them narrow the playing field further. Have your camera charged and ready. Now give them their first clue, have them consult the map and make a decision on which way to head. If you realize that they are off-course, suggest they ask a passerby for some help with the clue. Once they correctly make their way to the correct location, take a group photo and give them a designated time period to take in the scenery. After their sightseeing time is up, reward them with the next clue. End the scavenger hunt at a museum or restaurant so everyone can celebrate a successful day.
Follow the Course
Another fun city scavenger hunt is to map out a scenic route of the city and have a checklist of both popular sites along the route, as well as items you may be able to spot on any given day, such as someone feeding pigeons in the park, a penny tossed into a fountain, a person walking more than one dog or a building with a red door. Make your list as long or short as you feel necessary, just be sure to challenge the kids and get them engaged with their urban surroundings. To add an extra element of challenge, for the larger more obvious sites on the checklist, instead of simply listing them, create riddles that the children will have to solve first to know just what to look for.
As they walk along the mapped route, have them consult their checklist and as they spot the items, have them log their findings by taking a picture or simply checking them off their list. If you’re sending out two groups of kids, you can have them use symbols to mark both the checklist and the map. For example, they can mark a found item on the checklist with a circle and then put a circle on their map marking the exact location where they spotted that particular item. Afterward, when the two groups meet back up, they can compare their maps and their found items and see if they spotted the exact same items.
With a little bit of preparation and planning, the city really can be both a concrete jungle and the perfect setting for a fun scavenger hunt.