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Scavenger Hunts


Treasure Hunt vs Scavenger Hunt

Treasure hunt and scavenger hunt…you've heard them both and probably at different times interchangeably. However, are they the same and what are the pros and cons of each? We'll consider these questions here…

Although there are numerous different mainstream treasure hunt formats and hundreds of entirely new ones being created all the time, we can roughly sum up the definitions into this overly simplistic one: A treasure hunt is an activity involving going from location to location based on a series of clues or puzzles. Typically the locations are in a linear fashion, however by no means does this speak for all of them (usually the ones that are the most interesting are NOT linear in fashion.) There may be activities or tasks to complete along the way. There maybe even items to collect as you go. However, the focus of the activity is on the journey and the problem solving skills to correctly navigate the clues and puzzles until you reach the 'end' of the hunt itself.

So…what's a scavenger hunt then?

A scavenger hunt involves a list of some sort. As with the treasure hunt, there are several different formats for scavenger hunts but its simplistic definition looks something like this: Using a list (how they get the list can be part of the fun) the participants attempt to collect/find all of the objects on the list and bring them back to a known central location. The activity is usually timed, but doesn't have to be.


What are the benefits and drawbacks of both?

Treasure hunts can be much more interesting and exciting, depending on the effort going into the design. They also can provide easier for fun storylines and more engaged participants. The drawbacks for treasure hunts is the amount of time it can take to properly set one up and the fact that the completion time for the activity is not as exact (unless you are very experienced at creating them.)

Scavenger hunts are definitely easier to create as one only needs to arm the participants with a list. It's also much easier to facilitate because you can set the exact time you'd like to finish the event (when everyone must come in by.) A major drawback is that they are often not nearly as engaging to most. A lot of effort has to be put into the list to make it interesting or the excitement for the activity will quickly wane.

Both activities can be a LOT of fun…just be sure to devote the appropriate amount of time to each to make it so!