How to Do a Library Scavenger Hunt Your Kids Will Love
Has your family forgotten all the interesting things that a library can hold?
If your kids are like mine, you likely hear a round of “Awwww, Mom!” when you suggest a trip to the library to find some books.
But the public library can be a goldmine of fun discoveries for your curious little ones—not to mention a great outing when the weather is bad.
In this article I’ll show you how to explore your local library with your kids through a fun, engaging game they will adore.
Why a Library Scavenger Hunt?
By introducing a game where your kids compete against each other and earn points for discovering library resources, you can gently nudge them into the world of literature without being pushy.
A Library Scavenger Hunt will give your kids a reason to explore your local library in a way that they never have before. Hopefully along the way, they’ll discover some gems that they didn’t know the library possessed.
Plus, it’s a good way to remind kids that the Internet isn’t the only place to look for valuable information!
Read on for a fun way to teach your kids about their local library.
#1: Download the List
Before you go, download the Library Scavenger Hunt List (PDF) and print out a copy for each player or team.
I created the list to lead your family through all sections of your local library. I was able to sneak a little handwriting practice in, too.
They’ll be prompted to discover different types of books and media, talk to a librarian, seek out resources and rooms they may not know about and even find the bathrooms.
#2: Talk About It
Preface your trip to the library with some questions to get your kids thinking and talking about what to expect.
- What kinds of things do you think we will find at the library that we did not know were there?
- What do they have at the library besides books?
- Do you think there are any types of books the library doesn’t have?
You could even talk about how libraries are different from when you were a kid, thanks to changes in technology.
Feel free to stop talking about card catalogs and microfiche readers after the first eye roll or “Awww, Mom!”
#3: Split Into Teams
Decide whether you want to search as one big group, as individuals or in teams. Preteens like to fly solo. Teams work well for kids ages 8 and up. Make sure younger kids are paired up with an adult, older child or teen.
Give each group a Library Scavenger Hunt List and instruct them to stick together as a team to find each item on the list.
You can simplify the game for younger kids by allowing them to check items off the list without filling in the blanks.
#4: Remember “Library Manners”
Although libraries are fairly kid-friendly places, the excitement that comes with hunting and discovering can often bring voices above a whisper that disturb other people. Emphasize that the library is a no-running, quiet voices place to make the game more enjoyable for everyone.
Announce that points will be subtracted every time a team has to be reminded to slow down or be quiet in the library.
#5: Warn the Librarian About Your Activity
Even the best-behaved youngsters will attract attention when they excitedly search for items around the library. It’s good to let your librarian know what your kids are up to.
Warn the staff that your treasure hunters may be asking them a few questions. Unless they’re extremely busy, they’ll probably be happy to play along.
Your children’s librarian may be willing to offer the kids a prize such as a sticker or a stamp.
#6: Ready, Set, Go!
Set a time limit (say half an hour) and let them loose.
Your kids will have lots of fun as they learn new things about the library and check items off the list.
Whether your kids have broken into teams or completed the treasure hunt alone, it’s fun to celebrate afterwards with a special treat. Be sure to reward the winner(s) with a little something extra, such as sprinkles on their ice cream rather than a plain scoop.
Celebrating at the library.
Your celebration will give you a chance to chat about the experience with your kids. Ask them what they liked and what they learned; what was hard to find and what surprised them.
While discussing the library treasure hunt, you can give yourself a few extra points if you bring up some of the library trivia below.
Some Final Thoughts…
Once your Library Scavenger Hunt is over, I hope that you and your kids will leave the library with not just a memory, but also a few checked-out books or magazines in your arms and a plan to visit again.
Maybe next time you can bring a friend, make some changes to the list and play again. What a fun play date and a great way to introduce even more kids to their local library!
What do you think? Every library is a little bit different. Does your library have any other gems to discover? What would you add to the Scavenger Hunt? Ask your kids what they would add. I’d love to hear their creative ideas. Please leave a comment or a picture of your library adventure.