Saturday, October 28, 2017

Scavenger Hunting

(image is of my kids, Will on his scooter and Maya in her wheelchair, studied scavenger hunt pages)

Last week a friend posted a fun neighborhood scavenger hunt on Facebook. This morning we awoke to a picture-perfect autumn NYC morning and absolutely nothing on our schedule. I printed up two copies of the sheet below, grabbed some Halloween stickers, and our family headed out for a lovely, leisurely scavenger-hunting walk.

Image is the scavenger hunt page that we used and a sheet of partially used Halloween stickers. 
This "Scavenger Hunt-Neighborhood Search" page was found at this website---grab and print here!

The kids searched as we walked, and we stopped frequently to put stickers on the squares for items that we spotted (you could also cross them out, stamp them, punch holes, put a fingerprint on each, etc.). 

This wasn't an AAC activity for us today . . . but it got me thinking about how many opportunities there are for language modeling and meaningful AAC use during scavenger hunt activities. These ideas are probably well-used by lots of speech and AAC folks, but they were new to me this morning----and maybe there are some people reading who could use a few easy ideas.

Here's some language that could be targeted during a scavenger hunt (scaffold up or down as needed):
  • Attention-getters: Look! Stop! Wait! (Halt! Freeze!)
  • Declaration: I see it/one! I got it/one! Show me! (Spotted! Nailed it! Ding! Success!) 
  • Narration: I am looking, We are looking (I'm/We're hunting/searching/investigating/spying)
  • Questions: What do you see? Where is it?
  • Negation: Not here, Can't find, Don't see
  • Emotions: Frustrated, excited, confused, victorious!

With some careful image/item selections, scavenger hunts could be crafted to target specific goals, as well. For example, if you're looking to target 2-word combinations the scavenger hunt could contain images like these:

(these images show pumpkins and ghosts of various colors. Images were retrieved via Google image searches)

These images could be hidden around a room (or home, school, yard, etc). When one is located the finder needs to use two words in order to communicate what was found ("yellow pumpkin," "black ghost," etc.). 3-word combinations could be targeted by adding another variable, like size, into the mix (which require the speaker to say "big orange pumpkin" or "small black ghost"): 
(these images are pairs of large and small orange pumpkins, yellow pumpkins, white ghosts, and black ghosts.
Images were retrieved via Google image searches)

The same idea could carry into other word combinations. For example, verbs could be highlighted by using images of different actions. Subject + verb combinations could be targets by using pictures that require both subject and verb to be identified in order to identify the picture (e.g., a boy painting, a girl painting, a boy singing, a girl singing). The subject target could be a pronoun---or, to increase motivation, you could use images of characters from favorite shows. (It's actually surprisingly easy to find images of show characters doing different actions via Google image searches). 

I particularly like the idea of using scavenger hunts for asking questions---sometimes targeting questions feels so contrived, but this is a genuine questioning activity, like this:

You (speech + modeling) : I see one!

You: Do you want to know what I found? You can ask, "what?" (model "what")

You (speech + modeling): I see the yellow pumpkin!

You (speech + modeling): You see it?

You: No? You can ask "where?" (model "where")

When your child indicates that they have found one, you can switch roles in the conversation and ask what and where questions in order to elicit more information.

This won't be a hit for everyone, but my kids are list-lovers. The idea of having a printed list in hand makes this activity really motivating and engaging for them.  Happy hunting!

(image is of each kid pausing to put a sticker on some item that they had spotted)


Adelaide Dupont said...

I remember my schools would do scavenger hunts and we would get points for things we had found or seen.

Geocaching would be good for this too.

So good you were able to generate ideas.

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