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7 Educational summertime scavenger hunts

Julia Christensen is an experienced tutor and professional writer for Varsity Tutors, a live learning platform that connects students with personalized instruction to accelerate academic achievement.

Keep boredom at bay with these fun and educational scavenger hunts for kids

Where will you and your student head this summer? Help keep boredom at bay and make trips to these places extra educational by adding in a scavenger hunt for your student. Create categories based on scientific, mathematical, linguistic or artistic terms your student is familiar with, or use these games as a way to introduce her to new terms and ideas.

1. The zoo

Help your student become a junior zoologist by having her search for animals based on their diets. For example, at the zoo she can keep an eye out for a certain number of herbivores and carnivores, or specifically animals that eat, say, insects or fish. Add in geography by looking for animals from every continent.

2. The fair

Use a day at the fair to hunt for adjectives. Pick a handful of adjectives your student may be unfamiliar with and help her find the definition. Then, while you're out at the fair, your student can be on the search for a number of things that are symmetrical, asymmetrical, translucent, opaque or any other group of descriptive words. Have her visually search both rides and food stands!

3. The woods

Going camping? The educational opportunities outdoors are nearly endless. Try working on numbers while in the woods. Your student can find items with a designated number of certain characteristics. For example, she might spot a leaf with five points, a bird with two legs, a butterfly with four wings and the like.

4. The art museum

A trip to an art museum is bound to be educational on its own. From learning the difference between watercolor and oil paintings, or pointillism and cubism, it is a great place to study both artistic language and appreciation. Take it cross-curricular and throw in other subjects! Have your student try looking for artists based on what language they would have spoken, or what historical time frame they worked in. Would they have spoken Portuguese? Was this artist alive during the American Civil War? Have her look on the information plaque for clues.

5. The beach

From the changing tide to the fascinating sea creatures, there's no shortage of science at the beach. Try learning about animal classification. Can your student spot a vertebrate and an invertebrate? How about an arthropod and an amphibian?

6. The farmers market

The farmers market is full of color! If you have a young child, she can search for different hues while you shop together. Make it extra challenging by assigning less-common colors, like marigold, burgundy, cayenne, citrine and vermilion. If your student is unfamiliar with any of these shades, have her try guessing which color it would be. When applicable, you can help her sound it out with clues like, "Citrine sounds an awful lot like citrus. Do you know of any citrus fruits? How about lemons and limes?"

7. Around town

Whether you're running errands or exploring a new city, an ongoing scavenger hunt for types of art can be tons of fun. From mosaics to statues to murals, you can keep your child looking for artistic mediums or styles in a variety of settings.

For more tips and strategies to help your student succeed in school, visit varsitytutors.com.

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