Blogger Kary Henry

Literary Scavenger Hunt

It has been both wonderful and challenging to stay connected with our young patrons. Screens make it wonderful because I can see and interact with them; screen fatigue makes it challenging. I needed to figure out something different, something active, something fun to do…and a literary scavenger hunt fit the bill!

For my first literary scavenger hunt, I partnered with one of our wonderful school librarians (shoutout to ALL the amazing school librarians in DPS 109!). She sent me a list of books that are popular with her 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders. We scheduled half-hour sessions for each grade level. From there, all that was left to do was get creative with the hunt and create a slideshow in Canva.

In the Canva slideshow, I went over the rules for the game (see the slideshow below). The most important rules? Don’t leave the house to find the object, don’t take anything breakable or valuable, and put everything back where it belongs! We joked that I work in a library, so of course I want everything in its place. I showed them the slide of a book cover, read the title and author, told them the related object they had to find, and said GO! They had to run find the object, run back to the screen, and hold it up to show me what they had found.

Using the titles the school librarian provided me, I thought of objects the students could find around their homes. For example, knowing they loved the I Survived series by Lauren Tarshis, I chose I Survived the Sinking of the Titanic, 1912, and I asked the students to find something that could float. For Dav Pilkey’s Dog Man: Tale of Two Kitties, I asked them to find two of the same thing (pencils, markers, etc.). The students got so creative with their responses! My favorite was when I showed them Click by Kayla Miller and asked them to find something that makes noise: one student ran and got his baby brother! For Bob by Wendy Mass and Rebecca Stead, I asked them to find something whose name was three letters, like Bob. A student whose name fit the bill stood up and pointed to himself! The book I Survived the Attack of the Grizzlies, 1967 and the challenge to find something furry brought quite a few animals (live or stuffed) to the screen. In total, we got through 14 different books in the 30-minute presentation.

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All in all, it was a successful program. So successful, in fact, that I created similar literary scavenger hunts for my homeschool programs. For those, I just asked their grown-ups to send me the kids’ favorite titles. This program ticked all the boxes: based on books, creative, engaging, interactive, physical, and fun. I’m already looking forward to offering another literary scavenger hunt!

This post addresses the following ALSC Core Competencies: I. Commitment to Client Group, III. Programming Skills, and V. Outreach and Advocacy


  1. Janine

    I have done library catalog scavenger hunts, that are independent and also not physically active like this one. I have been looking for something online to reach the library club members I have that are at home. The active element to this is great! Our fifth graders love the I Survived Series as well, so I may ‘copy’ one of your questions. They also are into the Babysitters Club, the Great Stone Face Books (state nomineed titles), and so this hunt would work really well.

    Thank you,

    1. Kary

      I’m happy you can use some of these ideas! Let me know if you need others.

  2. Regina

    Thank you so much for sharing. I am not super enthusiastic doing storytimes over Zoom, so I’ve been thinking about how to make my ideas more interactive. Like you said, this fits the bill in a variety of ways. I will be offering this and giving you full credit!

    1. Kary

      Thank you so much! I’m glad you liked the idea!

  3. Stacy Holguin

    This sounds like so much fun! Did they get points for finding something quickly or just props?

    1. Kary

      Stacy, they just got props. With so many on the Zoom call, it was hard to keep track of who got back first. I tried to scroll through the gallery view and give shoutouts to the kids throughout and tried to mention each at least once.

  4. Regina


    When I mentioned this idea to others on staff, one was concerned about kids appearing on screen. I think that as long as they are registered to receive a Zoom link, it’s fine…?

    1. Kary

      Hi Regina,
      I was doing this through the schools and through my homeschool programming for the Library. Students are always allowed to have their video off if desired, but since our schools are operating remotely now, and our library is closed to patrons, most students are fine with being on camera. Only their fellow classmates or homeschool program participants, along with me, could see them. I hope this helps. Let me know if you have further questions.

  5. Terrie togafau

    Wow!! Love this. I will need to try this.

    1. Kary

      Thanks, Terrie! Let me know if you have further questions.

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