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Online Scavenger Hunt Ideas for Children

Updated on January 1, 2015
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Did you ever participate in a scavenger hunt as a child? The event might have been a part of a school or church function or even just something that your parents came up with at a family gathering. Either way, the premise is the same and in the end, you are running around with friends and family looking for items that are on a list that is given to you by the person that is setting up the event. The best thing about a scavenger hunt is that it will typically get you out of the house and enjoying the weather and fresh air depending on where you live. There is one other type of scavenger hunt that might not be exactly the same, but is still just as fun and can help children learn at the same time. Putting together an online scavenger hunt can be a very good learning experience.

With all of the devices that can be connected to the internet these days, it is not surprising that the average age of a child that knows how to use them is getting lower each year. Today, you even have schools that are connected to the internet and allowing children to learn their studies with computers that are connected to the internet. Getting around the internet can be a fun thing to do as long as you know what you are looking for. Sometimes, if you are looking for something specific, it might seem like you are doing a scavenger hunt yourself from the moment you type that first term into a Google Search bar. This is about an online scavenger hunt, or cyberhunt, and how you can use one to teach children at the same time. When children are having fun while learning, they tend to retain the information a little better compared to when it just seems like work to learn.

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If you are a teacher of young children, maybe around 7-10, you might be tasked with teaching them how to use the internet to benefit learning in some way. That is where an online scavenger hunt comes into play and can be a great tool for doing just that. A cyberhunt is often times used as a way to teach young students how to use the internet for the first time. Because there are millions of pieces of information that you can find online, the possibilities are endless when it comes to where you want to send them to find the clues. The concept is quite easy and includes a short list of clues and a way to collect them as the children move along. You could simply just have a short list of questions that the students have to use to find the answers online.

Because most schools will block access to websites that are not for children, it limits where they can go and that is a good thing so that you are not worried about them accidentally accessing websites they are not allowed to view. Basically, you are going to set the scavenger hunt up as a fact-finding mission for the children and even though you might want to move them from one website to the next, it could also just be focused on one site that is full of enough content to get all of the information in one place. Many of the companies that put together encyclopedia’s over the years have also moved all of that valuable information online and that is a good place to start. Websites built by the Library of Congress or the Smithsonian can be very content rich places to build a scavenger hunt from.

The benefits of having an online scavenger hunt for children include the use of the internet resources to find answers to questions, having the ability to research online to find information that is widely available to everyone and the fact that you will not need to have a book in front of you that can only be accessed by you compared to a website that millions can use at the same time. The fact that you have your reading materials online is good because if a typo is noticed, it can be fixed right away and it will not be giving bad information for the long term. A typo or missed information in printed material can be a very bad thing and is much harder to correct quickly. For the most part, the internet based scavenger hunt will be all about finding facts and that is where the learning comes in.

Children that are cruising around the internet to learn about the War of 1812 might not even realize that the answer will be embedded in their head for the long term because it is associated with a fun event. That is the main goal of using the internet as a tool for teaching the students. There are millions of examples of cyberhunts all over the internet and they cover many different topics as well. When a teacher is coming up with the plan for an online scavenger hunt, they are going to choose a topic and the websites that can be used to find the information. This takes a little search time out of the game and focuses the attention on learning the information. Because the teacher has the control over the sites, they can control where the students are finding the information, which adds a degree of difficulty.

When setting up an online scavenger hunt, first you will need the topic and next you will want to make sure that it is something that every student in the class can understand and search for. You do not need to keep a limit on the websites that can be used to find the answers, but it is a good way to keep the answer consistent for all students. The idea behind the cyberhunt is that they students are getting a streamlined activity that is based on the facts that they can find and learn about. You will want to make sure the students can get the fact finding scavenger hunt done within one or two classes at the most. That way interest is not lost and the information stays fresh for the students. As far as rules that you have setup for the scavenger hunt, there are not that many involved.

Other than having a limit on the sites that can be used, the scavenger hunt is really open to your creativity, but if you do have specific rules, you should make sure that you have them spelled out for the students right away to help save time later on during the class. Online scavenger hunts can be fitted for your class, include a few questions or take all week to complete with 100 questions, but the point is that the tool is being used for learning. Using the internet as a tool for learning is best for young students that might have not accessed the internet every in their life. It is a good way for them to get familiar with the computer that might be connected to the internet and how it can benefit your normal, daily routines. Because they can be built around the topic you teach, there are many degrees of difficulty that have been used to build them.

Professors have even come up with ways to teach entire classes on a topic based on this type of learning. For beginners, the resources are provided for them, but if you are talking about teaching a class of college seniors, you are likely to make the resources a little more difficult to find. Some very complex online scavenger hunts can be based on literature studies and lead the student down a path of abstract questions that leave a lot open to how they read the question and how they want to answer it. The student will be going through an exploration of the topic at hand rather than just reading and find the answer on a site they were pointed to. Online scavenger hunts are good for all ages of students, but in the beginning they are perfect for learning how to navigate the web. If you can get a young child to learn a topic at the same time, there are few ways that a child would not benefit from that.

© 2015 Brett

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