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Library Scavenger Hunts

Page history last edited by Jane McManus 2 years, 1 month ago

You can use a scavenger hunt as a special challenge throughout the year, or throughout the summer. The following was gleaned from PUBYAC contributors. If you're a member see archives for 2-22-2007 and 10-29-2009. Please add YOUR suggestions. Your colleagues will appreciate hearing what works and what doesn't.

See also: Daycare Scavenger Hunts

Murder in the Public Library (grades 5-8)


Scavenger Hunts should be age appropriate see some of the following ideas:

  • Circle 3-5 items that you want your patron to search for, vary the contents.

          (By limiting the number you're not overwhelmed reshelving contents.)

                 A book about your favorite sport.

                    A brochure about activities

                    A library card.

                    The last book you read that you loved.

                    The phone number of the local police department.

                    A biography.

                    A booklist.

                    A periodical.

                    A bookmark.

                    A map.

  • One library has an ongoing game throughout the summer. Kids learn of the program during school visits promoting Summer Reading. When they find the picture they don’t move it, they just come to the desk and whisper where they found it. They get a sticker or tattoo. The picture gets moved about once a week so kids can look for it again and again over the summer.
  • A simple scavenger hunt to reinforce the library tour...for the younger kids, use colored Popsicle sticks, with each color representing a part of the collection (yellow = books, red=puzzles, blue=magazines, green = video/DVD).  On the sticks in each category write a description of something to find in that area, (book with a cat on the cover, book with a dog on the cover, book with a baby on the cover...Barney video, wiggles video...etc.).  The kids each draw one stick of each color, and go around the children's area collecting the items.  When they bring all of their items to the children's desk, they get a pencil or sticker as a prize.  The only downside of the scavenger hunt is that you have to reshelve all the stuff they've pulled!
  • Have the various parts of the library labeled with shapes cut from construction paper.  For instance, the magazines may have a circle on them, the reference section a square, etc.  The shapes help them know when they've found something and gives them a way to record what they find; they write the shape next to the item on their lists.  This works better than trying to get all 25 kids to see/hear at the same time and they enjoy it more.
  • If you don't mind a little (or possibly a lot) of chaos.  Turn the Show and Tell part into a treasure hunt. Makeup a set of index cards listing all the things that are in the library, for 1st graders, add a picture or at least announce what it is they are looking for and then send them off to find one of whatever it is.  If the class is large, send them in teams of 2. They need to find their item and come back to the storyroom and sit down after returning just the card to you. Then. pull out either the largest L.L.Bean tote bag (one of those boat bags big enough to stuff a toddler in) or a laundry basket and call out each item 1 by 1 and have the kids bring it up and add it to the bag or basket. By the time you are finished it makes a very big impression, don't forget to break the book collection down into pieces, ie. a board book for a younger sibling, a beginning reader, a paperback, etc so the stack gets really tall. Lastly, remind the students that these are just the things they can check out of the library but that there are many programs that they can come to at the library. This may not be the most inspired program but it does give the kids a chance to move around a bit rather than just listening to someone  talking.  If the time is really short, collect all the items and either pull them out of the basket 1 by 1 and name them, or call on the kids to come up and pull things out of the basket as you name them.
  • Make sure to handout copies of your calendar, flyer and bookmark with hours and phone numbers to the teacher so that each student goes home with something even if they aren't checking out books. 
  • The last thing that you might pull out is a library card. Remind the kids that a card is all they need to borrow all these things and either give out their cards if they are getting them or let them know they need to stop by with a parent to pick up a card.


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