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Lucky Stars Scavenger Hunt

6 Apr

I have an idea for a luck-themed personal scavenger hunt. Rather than doing this as a group activity, I like the idea of pursuing these luck-related items on my own. And in fact, I like the idea of not even seeking them out specifically, but just being conscious of them if they come into my life (if I get lucky, so to speak).

Falkor, the Luck Dragon

“Luck” is culturally-specific, but here are some items that are generally considered lucky (in order of my perceived likelihood of stumbling across them in daily life):

  • The number 7
  • A penny
  • A pair of dice
  • A ladybug
  • A horseshoe
  • A four-leaf clover
  • A shooting star
  • A rabbit’s foot
  • A unicorn
  • A leprechaun
  • The Luck Dragon from Neverending Story

Once I come across all of the items, I’ll consider myself very lucky. Maybe that would be a good time to embark on a new venture. Or buy a lottery ticket.

p.s. I am not a superstitious person, so I’m really not one to endow objects or occurrences with any special meaning. Every once in awhile I find myself knocking on wood, crossing my fingers, or saying, “Don’t jinx it!” But I don’t really believe these things make a difference; it’s more out of habit than true belief. Still, I dig scavenger hunts…and unicorns.


In Your Dreams Scavenger Hunt

11 Jan

by Flickr user romanlily

I rarely remember my dreams, which is a total bummer since I’m sure I could learn a lot from my subconscious (I think of my subconscious as a wiser, more zen, and better-looking version of my conscious self). And I’ve never been into the standard one-size-fits-all interpretations of dreams. You know, like those books that say if you dream your teeth are falling out, it means you’re worried about money. I do, however, think dreams would make a kick-ass scavenger hunt theme!

Here’s how it could be done:

Part I: Since dreams are all about interpretation, I would just start with a list of common dreams, and let the scavenger hunt teams interpret them however they like. For example, if one of the common dreams was, “You’re being chased,” one team might take video footage of a dog chasing a squirrel, another team might take a photo of a Chase bank, and another might act out a chase scene from a movie (that last team would get the most points).

Here are some common dreams to get you started:

  • You’re being chased
  • Your teeth fall out
  • You’re flying
  • You’re falling
  • You’re taking a test
  • You’re naked in front of people
  • You’re late for something very important
  • You’re lost

Part II: What kind of dream scavenger hunt would it be if you didn’t call upon people to recount their own dreams? At the start of the hunt, ask everyone to write down the details of a recent dream. They should write as much as they can remember; the more detail, the more fun it’ll be. Better yet, have them write down their dreams in advance of the hunt. Then, randomly assign a dream to each team, making sure that no one gets their own dream. The challenge will be to recreate or find as many details of the dream as possible and document them in some way.

How would you do a dream-themed scavenger hunt?

Punchline Scavenger Hunt

6 Dec
I like jokes, especially those that tickle your brain. Don’t you? I think jokes would make a great scavenger hunt theme. You could ask all of your guests to submit their favorite joke in advance, and then identify something “findable” in each punchline.

Here are some examples of what I’m thinking of (warning: it’s about to get real corny in here):

Really good at jokes.

Scavenger Hunt Item: A priest, rabbi, or atheist
Related Joke: A Priest, a Rabbi and an Atheist walk into a bar. The barman asks,”Is this a joke?”

Scavenger Hunt Item: A snail
Related Joke (courtesy of my friend Amber, who heard David Sedaris tell this): A snail knocks on a man’s door.  The man answers and the snail asks him if he wants to buy any magazine subscriptions.  The man is outraged and kicks the snail yelling, “Get outta here!” Two years later the snail knocks on the man’s door again.  The man opens the door and the snail says, “What was that about?”

Scavenger Hunt Item: A hot dog
Related Joke: A Buddhist walks up to a hot dog vendor and says “Make me one with everything.”

Scavenger Hunt Item: A monocle
Related Joke: Did you hear about the two monocles that got together and made a spectacle of themselves?

Scavenger Hunt Item: A shellfish
Related Joke (courtesy of my friend Lily): Q: Why don’t shrimp like to share? A: Because they’re shellfish.

Scavenger Hunt Item: A bear
Related Joke (courtesy of my friend Elise): A bear walks into a bar and says to the bartender, “I’d like a…..whiskey.” The bartender says, “Why the pause?” The bear says, “I’ve always had them.”

Thanks very much, I’ll be here all week.

Scavenger Hunt: Symmetry

3 May

The Wikipedia article on “symmetry” is really interesting. It’s multi-disciplinary in scope, covering geometry and physics, but also symmetry in religious symbols, architecture, music, and more. It’s the Leonardo da Vinci of Wikipedia articles!

Here’s inspiration for a symmetry-themed scavenger hunt:

  1. Find a palindrome.
  2. Find some fractals.
  3. Make a paper snowflake.
  4. Find a stranger who is willing to do a favor exchange with you.
  5. Solve a sudoku puzzle (I hadn’t realized that the given numbers appear in rotationally symmetric cells, much like crossword puzzles).
  6. Draw your own M.C. Escher-inspired sketch.
  7. Solve a Rubik’s cube. (Not just symmetry – parity!)
  8. Play a few rounds of Prisoner’s Dilemma (a symmetric game). Define your own winning strategy.
  9. Do something. Then do it backwards.
  10. Find a honeycomb as an example of hexagonal symmetry.
  11. Make a Mobius strip.

Can you think of other things to include? (Though I hate to ruin the symmetry of 11 items.)

Top Ten Treasure Hunt Films

9 Apr

Father of two treasure hunters. Can you name the other one?

My roommate and I were watching Raiders of the Lost Ark earlier tonight, when she said this crazy thing: “You know what’s better than Raiders of the Lost Ark? National Treasure.”

As a die-hard Indy fan (who’s also got a jones for Die Hard), I found this statement to be rather blasphemous. But since I’d never actually seen National Treasure (I like my movies how I like my eggs – Cage-free), I agreed to give it a shot. We watched, and she was right – I totally dug solving the puzzles!

So, despite painful lines like, “I just…really thought I was going to find the treasure,” I found it enjoyable enough to land the #7 spot on my list of…

Top Ten Treasure Hunt Films

#10. Three Kings
#9. Million Dollar Mystery (I’m sure this movie is actually terrible, but I watched it repeatedly when I was a kid.)
#8. Sneakers
#7. National Treasure
#6. Romancing the Stone/Jewel of the Nile (More childhood favorites. When my sister and I would stay at our dad’s house, our VHS choices were these films, King Kong, and the video for Michael Jackson’s Thriller)
#5. Scavenger Hunt (not really a treasure hunt, but close enough for me)
#4. Time Bandits (treasure hunting + time travel!)
#3. Indiana Jones trilogy (yeah, I said trilogy)
#2. Muppet Treasure Island
#1. The Goonies. Duh.

Honorable mention: City Slickers 2: The Legend of Curly’s Gold

And three treasure hunting films I should probably see:

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
Easy Come, Easy Go (starring Elvis!)

What cinematic treasures would you add to the list?

Scavenger Hunt: Search for Your Inner Child

21 Feb

A really good fort from

Awhile back I had an idea for a childhood-themed scavenger hunt. There’s something so appealing about it. I mean, just think of the symbolism! It’s like you’re searching for a lost part of yourself! 

Here’s how mine would go. It’s pretty elaborate. It would take all day.

Part 1: Photo Hunt
For this section, each team would go off to take pictures of as many of the following tasks as possible. 1 point per photo.

  • Your team members running through a sprinkler, jumping in leaves, or making a snowman (depending on the season).
  • Your team playing dress up.
  • Your team playing on a jungle gym.
  • Your team eating sno-cones, or drinking chocolate milk (an extra point for bendy straws).
  • A team member reading to (actual) kids at a library.
  • A castle made out of sand, Legos, blocks, or Tinker Toys.
  • Your team rolling down a hill.
  • A funny shaped cloud (must provide an interpretation).
  • Your team having a water balloon fight.

Part 2: Creativity Hour
The second part of the hunt is devoted to my favorite creative activities from childhood. Each team has an hour to prepare for any two of the following creative challenges. An independent observer is brought in to award points.

  • Make up a game and teach it to the other teams.
  • Make up a new language and teach it to the other teams.
  • Cook something delicious without using the stove or oven and share it with the others.
  • Make a play and perform it for the others.

Part 3: Sports
Part 3 would be some kind of sports tournament. Here are some options:

  • Cartwheels
  • Kickball
  • Foursquare
  • Dodgeball
  • Double dutch
  • Hopscotch
  • Tag

Part 4: The Ultimate Challenge: Best Livingroom Fort
The final section is a showdown between the two leading teams. Each team is supplied with some furniture, lots of pillows and blankets, and some twine or rope. Ideally, this would happen in two nearby houses or apartments. At the appointed time, the fort-making teams provide a tour of their constructed fort, and other players are asked to vote for the fort they would most like to live in for a day (or maybe an hour).

The winning team is announced. The prize is a juicebox and some sandwiches with the crusts cut off.

What would your childhood-themed scavenger hunt include?

Hogwarts Scavenger Hunt: Find Your Inner Wizard

19 Nov

Part 1 of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows comes out today. Alas, I am in Turkey (I posted this in the past – with my Time Turner!), so I won’t be able to see it for another couple of weeks. Don’t tell me how it ends!

Unfortunately, the Maurader's Map can't help you find everything on the list.

In honor of the film’s release, I’ve put together this Harry Potter-inspired scavenger hunt list. Feel free to adapt it to your own purposes.

  1. Take a picture of a cat (5 points), rat (10 points), toad (15 points), or owl (20 points)
  2. Pretend to fly on a broomstick (10 points) (extra points for real flying)
  3. Take a picture of a team member wearing a Gryffindor scarf (10 points), dress robes (25 points), or an invisibility cloak (50 points)
  4. Make some butterbeer or firewhiskey (30 points)
  5. Find an acid green pen a la Rita Skeeter (10 points)
  6. Find a sock (to free a house elf) (5 points)
  7. Make a potion like Veritaserum, Felix Felicis, or Polyjuice (15 points)
  8. Take a picture of a Muggle doing something Muggle-like (5 points)
  9. Take a picture of a family of redheads (15 points)
  10. Apply a lightning shaped temporary tattoo to a team member’s forehead (15 points)
  11. Capture the Golden Snitch (150 points and the game ends)

The Prize? Bernie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans, of course.