For a long time we have used farms as a means of educating and entertaining children. There are classic songs and rhymes that incorporate farm animals. Children’s stories that use farms as settings often somehow incorporate a moral into their plots. It makes sense then that a kids scavenger hunt could be staged at a farm. A farm scavenger hunt is a wonderful way to educate children.
Farm scavenger hunts are almost always memorable and fun experiences for your children. Farms offer a lot of wide open spaces for kids to get exercise and burn off spare energy. This is both healthy and relieving, as you will have less commotion on the way home.
Finding a Farm
Ideally, you already know someone who owns a farm. Or you have a friend of a friend that is willing to let you use their farm. If this is not the case, ask around. You may have a connection that you were unaware of.
If you cannot find a farm this way – which will be the case for many people – try asking the owners of farms who already rent out their space. If there is a farm in your area that does hayrides or corn maze activities, see if they are willing to host your scavenger hunt. Though, this may cost you some money. If you cannot afford the charge on your own do not worry. Invite along friends and families that you and your children are acquainted with. Splitting the fee with other parents will benefit everyone. It will also provide your children the chance to bond with their friends, or maybe even the chance to socialize with children that they did not know as well beforehand.
If neither of these options present themselves, there is still a chance that you can find a farm to use. Internet research can lead to good information on farm locations and availability. (Of course, you should be careful with whom you speak to and what you tell them. Always be mindful of strangers on the internet, especially when your children are going to be involved in the situation.) There may be farms in your area that offer scavenger hunts already as a public activity. This would be beneficial, as you would have to put far less effort into planning the event. Any entry fee may well be worth the time saved that would have otherwise gone into creating scavenger hunt riddles.
What to Hide and where to Hide it
When it is time to actually set up the scavenger hunt, you’re going to want someone to go to the farm ahead of time and arrange the items. But therein is the issue of what exactly to hide and where to hide it. If you need ideas, try to think of what your goal is. Do you want to let your kids work off their excess energy? Then you’re going to want to hide things far apart from one another. If you want to give your kids an extra challenge, you could even make it some form of race. The one to collect a certain number of items first would be the winner, and you could offer them a reward. Be careful doing this with siblings that have a large age gap, however, as giving one child a big advantage can lead to hurt feelings and unhealthy rivalry.
If you wish to focus more on the educational aspect, then you’re going to want to think about what your child can learn on a farm. Keep with the animal theme. Maybe you could hide something on top of a bale of hay and make the clue something referencing horses, or perhaps you could put something near a chicken coop and reference eggs and/or breakfast. Use the opportunity to show your children where many of their daily food products come from. They can see that their scrambled eggs come from chickens and that their milk comes from cows. They can learn that their bread comes from wheat and what their corn looks like before it is shucked.
You may not want to focus on the slaughter of the animals for the sake of meat, as it could upset younger children. So if, for instance, you want to reference pigs, bacon may not be the best association. Sometimes children can get emotional and have trouble understanding why we eat animals that they consider cute and friendly. You could run the risk of your scavenger hunt turning into a philosophical conversation that they may not be ready to understand just yet.
Alternatively, if you are attempting to raise your children as vegetarians, you could use this opportunity to associate animals as friends instead of food. All of this is up to you, and the lessons you teach your children are your responsibilities. This is just an aspect of their educational process that is worth considering and anticipating when visiting a farm.
Things to do while at the Farm
Do not let the opportunity for further education pass you by. If you are already going to be on a farming property, consider asking the owner for a small tour. They can get information about the crops, the livestock, and farm life in general. It is great to show your kids these aspects of the world, especially if they spend a lot of time in the city or a general urban environment. Seeing another way of living can open up whole new worlds for them.
Activities like this that involve visiting new places are always nice for the entire family. With any luck you will instill in your child a sense of wonder for the life around them. With a few well planned events, you may just create a healthy and inquisitive young mind. And when your child is interested in what goes on behind the scenes – like the milking of the cows, and the harvesting of the crops – this may just transfer over into their formal education. One day you might find them tackling their text books like they tackle the scavenger hunt you once took them on!
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Mary Craig from New York on January 22, 2014:
As always Brett, some great ideas here. I think it is time to bring back the scavenger hunt and all the enjoyment of taking part in it!
Voted up, useful, and interesting.