Word Chain Scavenger Hunt
This scavenger hunt can be setup in a moment, and variations can be easy enough for kids, or quite challenging for adults. It plays like a scavenger hunt, except you do not need to prepare a list of items, just the first item and the number of items to collect. The "list" is made up by the players during the course of the game by chaining words. Words can be chained by matching the last two letters of the last item to the first two of the next item, in either direction. This sounds easy, but can be difficult and perhaps impossible depending on the first word chosen.
For instance, the first item to start with is a leaf, so you collect that, a pole (pole and leaf chain together into "PoLeaf"), an afgan (sweater), an animal, an alligator (toy), and an orange. These items for the word chain "PoLeAfgAnimAlligatOrange". Pole was chained to the beginning of leaf, while the other words were chained to the end. The order does not matter, as long as the word forms a single chain. This scavenger hunt can be played indoors, outdoors, camping, and during the course of vacations. Pretty much anytime and anywhere.
I recommend single word items only. When a team gets stumped on an item, they should be free to change out items they already collected. For your first time planning one of these games, I recommend trying a game of five or ten items, or one of the time limit variations with no limit on items.
Here are some variations that simplify the game:
Dictionaries can make the game go nicer, especially for young adults who do not have rich vocabulary skills. For kids ages 8 to 13, let them collect items just by chaining the first and last letters. Kids 6 to 8 will normally know the first letters of words much better than the last letters, so it works best for them to just find words that start with a particular letter. And allowing players/teams to pick their first item can make the game easier especially in areas of limited resources.
If you want to use a time limit, try these variations such as collecting as many items as you can within a set time frame, or allowing multiple-word items. When multiple-word items are allowed you can subtract points for each break in the word chain. For example, give one point per item, so a ten item chain with two breaks is eight points.
Another variation is to have a set number of items, perhaps just five items, but to win you must have the shortest word chain with five items. This version is game for those serious scavenger hunters.
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