By Haley Burress United States
Have you ever tried a scavenger hunt at your community? These events take a lot of planning, but provide a perfect sense of mystery and adventure that will surely get your residents up and moving throughout the community! Here’s how to make it happen.
Scavenger hunts feel like an extra special event because of that sense of mystery and adventure. It’s something different that residents might not have done since childhood, so there is a sense of wonder and plenty of opportunities for reminiscing as well. But it doesn’t stop there. Other benefits of a scavenger hunt program can include:
There are a few types of scavenger hunts you can plan and the first step of planning yours is to nail down what type you want to try. Remember, you can always try another type the next time you want to add the activity to your calendar.
Clue-Based Scavenger Hunt
In this scavenger hunt, you would create specific clues that lead the participants around the community. Each clue leads to a place where they get their next clue and on and on until the end.
List-Based Scavenger Hunt
In this type of scavenger hunt, participants are looking for specific items in your community. When they find the item, they mark it off a checklist, take a photo with it, or answer a trivia question about it. The group or person who finds every item first could be the winner.
Once you know what type of scavenger hunt you want to try at your community, it’s time to decide who will participate. You have options here too so that you can customize it to work for your residents.
Groups of Residents
You can split up the participants into small groups to complete the scavenger hunt together, or you can work together as a large group.
Try inviting individuals to complete the scavenger hunt on their own. This is a wonderful option if your community is full of independent residents who like a challenge. If you have a resident under isolation precautions, here is a great hunt for them to complete.
Staff and Residents
Pair off residents with staff members as a team-building and fun activity during National Nursing Home Week or Caregiver Appreciation Week.
Family and Residents
Make your scavenger hunt activity the star of your next family night event! Family members and residents can work together to complete the hunt and create new memories.
Next, you need to determine the time frame surrounding your scavenger hunt. You have options, of course!
One Big Event
You can choose to have your scavenger hunt happen once, like a social or happy hour. In this case, participants will come to a designated area to get their list or first clue and work through the list or clues from there, all at once.
A Set Time Frame
You might choose to have your clues or items hidden for a full week or month. This way, individuals or groups can work through their list of items or clues over time and not worry about having to complete it all at once.
Your participants need their first clue or their list of items. Here are a few ways you can get it to them.
At a Designated Spot
You can pass out the first clue or item list at a designated spot. This could be the Activity Room where the event begins, or it could be a new clue posted daily on the bulletin board or read out loud in the dining room at lunch.
In the Community Newsletter
You can also add in item lists or clues in your community newsletter. It will help reach readers who might prefer to stay in their rooms.
Of course, your scavenger hunt doesn’t need to end in a prize, but if you are going to reward those who complete it, be sure you have communicated to the participants.
You can choose to reward the group or individual who finishes the hunt first, or you might choose to reward anyone who completes the hunt.
A Group Celebration
Perhaps my favorite option is to have the reward be a fun happy hour social so that everyone can share their hunt experience with others.
Now that you have the outline of your scavenger hunt and how it will work, you can start to prepare your list of items or clues to pass out to your participants. Here are a few suggestions that might inspire you:
Have you ever tried a scavenger hunt at your community? Tell us about it in the comments.