The Anatomy Of Scavenger Hunts For Team Building
“Searching is half the fun: life is much more manageable when thought of as a scavenger hunt as opposed to a surprise party.”
– Jimmy Buffet
According to game scholar Markus Montola, scavenger hunts evolved from ancient folk games. Gossip columnist Elsa Maxwell popularized scavenger hunts in the United States with a series of exclusive New York parties starting in the early 1930s. Now, scavenger hunts are a common team building activity for corporate groups while at conferences and meetings, or just for an afternoon away from the office. Here is what makes scavenger hunts so popular:
- Scavenger hunts allow employees to take a break from the office and their daily work responsibilities.
- Employees have time to bond and have fun with one another during the friendly competition of a hunt.
- Scavenger hunts are accessible for all and should not include intimidating physical challenges.
- Scavenger hunts are a fantastic way to allow meeting participants to explore the meeting destination or venue and experience the local culture.
- Custom scavenger hunts can incorporate your meeting content, reinforce your brand, training, or theme, drive participants to specific locations/businesses, etc.
What is a traditional scavenger hunt?
People have different concepts of what “scavenger hunt” means. For starters, hunts can be played as individuals or on teams and can be done by children or adults. A scavenger hunt designed for children is often a simple list of items that must be found. Photo scavenger hunts require participants to take photos of or with specific items. Scavenger hunts can be done as entertainment to pass the time on a long car or bus ride or be an organized, competitive event with an exciting prize.
What is the difference between a scavenger hunt and a treasure hunt?
Typically, a scavenger hunt requires participants to find a series of items or places or complete a series of challenges. These can be completed in any order and a winner is determined by how many items were found or collected and/or how quickly everything on the list has been completed. A treasure hunt typically involves clues and is done in a linear fashion with one clue leading to another and then another, eventually leading the participants to a specific destination or “treasure.”
What is the best scavenger hunt for a team building activity?
According to our team of experts, the best team building scavenger hunt is one that fits the following criteria:
- A team building hunt should be professionally organized and designed with clear communication to participants on the game’s rules, timing, location, etc.
- A hunt should be done in a safe and interesting area such as a city center, downtown, shopping center, theme park, or large resort area.
- It should feature a variety of tasks and challenges.
- It should be structured with small teams of 6-8 players per team for maximum engagement and participation.
- A scavenger hunt should be a maximum of 2-3 hours long for a team building activity.
- Most important of all, every team building scavenger hunt should be FUN!
Where is the best location to hold this type of team building activity?
Scavenger hunts are flexible and can be designed for a lot of locations and for several different reasons. Many resort and tourist destinations have developed scavenger hunts as a fun way for guests to get familiar with their location. Colleges design scavenger hunts to familiarize new students with the campus. Hunts used for team building are best done in an area of interest that participants can explore on foot such as a downtown area or any vibrant dining and shopping centers. Resorts and theme parks are also great locations for these types of team builders!
What is the best theme for a hunt?
The answer to this can be pure personal preference or, it can depend on your goal for hosting a scavenger hunt. For instance, a hunt may be designed to fit your organization’s brand if it will be played by your brand’s customers. A team building scavenger hunt may be designed to fit a meeting theme, a destination, or to reinforce education or training. Superhero, spy, pirate, and Amazing Race style scavenger hunt themes are popular. However, a hunt doesn’t have to have a theme at all as long as it is interesting and engaging for the participants.
Our scavenger hunt, The Great Race (inspired by The Amazing Race) has been a favorite team bonding activity among our clients. One major advantage about this particular scavenger hunt is that it can be done in a variety of locations (resort, city center, corporate campus, and more)! During this team builder, teams use an iPad or their own mobile devices while solving clues and completing photo and video tasks in an attempt to outscore their competition!
What are the benefits of a GPA or an app-based corporate hunt?
We love app-based scavenger hunts for a variety of reasons:
GPS hotspots on an interactive map ensure teams stay in the planned/designated hunt area.
A traditional scavenger hunt may be a list of items, but an app-based scavenger hunt can feature dynamic tasks and challenges that can include audio and video clips, images, custom graphics, etc.
Scavenger hunt tasks can be completed by answering trivia questions, fill in the blank to complete a quote, song lyric, etc., taking photos, recording videos, or even using augmented reality!
App-based scavenger hunts can feature a live scoreboard, increasing the competitive nature of the event.
At the end of an app-based scavenger hunt, a slideshow presentation can be shown of the fun photos and videos that teams submit during the hunt experience.
One of our most popular app-based, GPS hotspot scavenger hunts is Get to the Point. During this scavenger hunt activity teams explore the local area (resort, city center, theme park, etc.) by making their way to the different points on the map. Once teams are at the correct location, fun challenges open up such as photo, video, and trivia!
Why hire a professional to plan your scavenger hunt?
At first, planning a scavenger hunt might seem like an easy task. However, once the planning gets underway, things can get complicated quickly. A professional team building company that has decades of experience planning scavenger hunts can save a lot of time and frustration – for both you and for your participants!
Many things need to be taken into consideration when planning a scavenger hunt such as the event location, event timing, number of participants and teams, communication of the scavenger hunt rules, a plan for scoring the scavenger hunt and determining a winner… the list goes on and on! On top of planning all the logistical details, you also need to develop all the scavenger hunt content! A professional team building company can help with all these details. Team building professionals, like Wildly Different, know what types of clues and challenges work well and how to organize a successful scavenger hunt for 8 people or 2500 people and beyond! To learn more about our offerings, you can contact us here.
Scavenger hunts are tried and true when it comes to engaging groups. Scavenger hunts can be used for a variety of purposes including training, team building and team bonding, promotion of a brand or business, or just for fun! So, the next time you are looking for an exciting way to connect with your group, plan a scavenger hunt.