I knew I wanted to do some sort of scavenger hunt as part of my Boredom Buster station this summer, but it wasn’t until Tiny Tips for Library Fun highlighted Amy The Show Me Librarian’s way of using a scavenger hunt as a way of highlighting the collection that I started thinking about what I wanted my scavenger hunt to accomplish. I definitely wanted to get kids looking at areas of the collection they might not know about, and I also wanted it to be fun enough that kids would actually do it. So, I printed out a picture of Gerald and Piggie and one of Bad Kitty (who I’ve been getting mad requests for lately). I also made up a small scavenger hunt questionnaire. I hid Gerald and Piggie by our award books, and stashed Bad Kitty below our kid’s magazines. My questions asked kids to think about what was special about the collection Gerald and Piggie were near, and how many of the items Bad Kitty was hiding under they could take home.
So, I had set up an awesome scavenger hunt highlighting our collections, but I really did want to give kids who finished a prize. I pulled out some super cute reading themed temporary tattoos we had laying around from last summer. But I wanted something more – something kids could take home with them to continue the hunt at home. Inspiration came from the strangest of places – Buzzfeed. Scroll down to number 35 on this list for the picture that gave me the idea. I pretty much retyped the nature scavenger hunt they picture, printed out the lists two to a sheet on pretty paper, and stapled the list to lunch sized paper bags. As each kid finished our in-library scavenger hunt, a staff member would chat with them about what they found, give them a tattoo, and give them a scavenger hunt to take home.
I am really thankful to Amy and Marge for their thought-provoking posts on how to make scavenger hunts in the library, you know, about the library. This boredom buster was a total success. On the first day, I spotted two different families who finished the scavenger hunt with award books in hand. I’m glad that I could shine a little light on the award section, since I feel like it gets forgotten so often – lots of parents and kids don’t think to browse there, which is a shame. I also heard so many kids excitedly chattering to their parents about where they could do their nature hunt.
This passive program does take a little more direct interaction with staff – so if you want to try it at your library, make sure everyone on staff is on board with making sure kids have a good experience when they finish. Hopefully everyone who works in your library is excited about kids using the collection and exploring, but I know that that isn’t always true. If you DO have staff who are on board, this is such a great way to 1) highlight some of the less-used parts of your collection, and 3) encourage some kid/staff interaction.