The world you inhabit has shrunk dramatically in the past few weeks, which means anything that makes your space feel bigger could play a critical role in helping you maintain a grip on your sanity while you’re cooped up with your kids. Enter the Alphabet Scavenger Hunt.
With an entirely manageable bit of up front prep, you can buy yourself a solid chunk of critical kid-free time. You can even recruit your kids to help with the setup: Just ask them to make a page with a blank line after each letter of the alphabet—think of it as an A-to-Z to-do list. (I used the hunt as a way to trick my eight-year-old son into doing his daily writing assignment.)
From there, the rules are pretty straightforward: Each kid has to find an item that begins with every letter of the alphabet. They can gather the items together in a shopping bag or laundry basket and add them to their A-to-Z lists. If you want to avoid the resultant clean-up, you might consider only asking them to identify and write down all (or all but a few favourite) of their selections rather then gathering them all together.
Before you set your children loose on the house, you might suggest there is a prize involved if they can successfully finish the hunt. In our house, we provided leftover M&M’s from Valentine’s Day, but we’d also considered adding on a bit of technology time or removing a chore from their to-do lists (in lieu of the side hustle chore board).
Depending on your children’s ages and personalities, you can encourage them to work separately or tackle the task as a team. If they’d rather complete it on their own, make it clear that it’s not a race: The goal is not for the hunt to be over quickly or to become a source of additional points of tension. My kids worked together, and I quietly took my older daughter aside before we started and suggested she let her younger brother take the lead on their team.
Once they’ve found all 26 items, it’s time for show-and-tell. You’re the final judge, and you can declare the hunt as over or ongoing whenever you like. As an added bonus, the activity may well generate ideas for something to do later in the day; our kids rediscovered a forgotten board game and a mountain of stuffed animals that they later repurposed in a pretend arcade.