In the Scavenger Hunt ESL activity, students search the class or school in order to complete a challenge.
You will need to prepare a set of vocabulary words/sentences/pictures on separate pieces of paper or post-its. What these words are will depend on your target language.
Remember, you you will need enough papers for all the teams playing. Colour-code the papers to indicate which team they are for.
Before class, hide the papers around the school (or possibly just the class if you’re teaching younger kids).
In class, divide the students into two or more teams. Each team should have a separate table.
- Students go around the school, trying to find the papers for their team. As they find them, they bring them back to their team’s table in the classroom.
- Depending on your target language, you may also want your students to note down where they found each paper. They could do this on the paper itself.
- In their teams, the students race to organise the papers in order to complete a challenge (based on the target language).
The Scavenger Hunt ESL activity is a very flexible activity which can be used to practise many different types of vocabulary. As such it can be adapted to beginner, intermediate or advanced classes, depending on what you choose.
It works particularly well with words that can be paired or categorised, with the students racing to group them correctly. Some possibilities include synonyms and antonyms, food groups, types of animals, parts of speech, and countries by continent or language spoken.
Another option for lower-level students is ordering the items, for example numbers, or the alphabet. You could also combine the activity with Word Scramble, Sentence Scramble or Text Scramble, with students ordering letters/words/sentences to make words or a sentences/text respectively.
Finally, the Scavenger Hunt ESL activity can also be used to practise prepositions of place. For this, the students will need to note down where they find each paper. They then make sentences about the locations, e.g. Number one was under the table in the hall, Number two was between between the door and the window.
With young kids try hiding objects or animal flashcards, e.g. The pig is on the chair. You could write/project sentences that they have to complete on the board, e.g. The pig is ___ the chair. Or if they can’t write yet, do the scavenger hunt with them and elicit the answers orally.
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