Photo Credit: Pnina Baim

Twice a year, on Sukkos and Pesach, Hashem commands His nation to take a deep, long breath, disconnect from our crazy busy schedules and spend time with our family and friends for eight long days.

This sounds lovely in theory, but when reality sets in, it is easier said than done. It’s hard to find something the whole family enjoys, doesn’t break your budget, or have you traveling for hours.

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After much research, I have found the perfect plan: a scavenger hunt! For those who don’t know a scavenger hunt is a game where participants need to find a list of items, without spending money. It is fun for the whole family, and best of all, can be done anytime and anywhere. Years ago, my sister created one for a child’s birthday party and my children still talk about it. It was impossible to tell she had put it altogether only minutes before everyone gathered in the park.

Check out these helpful tips to create your own hunt and enjoy all the fun memories you will create.

  1. To make it fair, I would suggest pairing up oldest and youngest family members as partners.
  2. If the weather is nice, it’s great to go to a large park, where you can find interesting things both within nature and among people. If the weather is rainy, go to a local mall. You can even hold one in the house, by placing clues ahead of time. If you want to make it more exciting, you can include neighbors.
  3. There are two ways it can be done: either by selecting random things participants need to find, such as a black squirrel, or a two-for-one sale, with the first one who finds all the items wins, or you create a logical sequence of things to find by first deciding on the final item, and then working backwards. For example, if you are in a mall, your final item can be the escalator near a specific clothing store. Then, by looking up the mall map online, you can find another attraction, such as a toy store, where participants need to find a game on sale.
  4. Another fun idea for older participants is having them find people who are willing to do something, i.e. sing happy birthday or tell a joke.
  5. Before starting out, give clear directions regarding safety. Decide in advance which rules should be in place, and make sure that everyone is clear, so that there are no missing children at the end of the hunt. Remember to give a time limit, so that everyone knows when the game is over and it’s time to come back to a set meeting point.
  6. Participants can either initial by each item on the list when they find it or ask random strangers to sign the sheet to prove that they have done it. Believe it or not, people find wholesome fun very charming, and will be happy to help!
  7. Don’t forget a prize to make it exciting! Make it exciting for everyone by offereing a prize to each participant, and an extra special prize for the winner, and those who complete the whole list. You could offer a certain amount of money to spend at a local dollar store, with the winner and completers receiving a slightly larger amount – enough to create incentive to win, but not large enough to make anyone jealous.

A very happy and meaningful Pesach to all!

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Pnina Baim is the author of the Young Adult novels, Choices, A Life Worth Living (featured on Dansdeals and Jew In The City) and a how-to book for the Orthodox homemaker, Sing While You Work. The books are available at amazon.com. Pnina is available for speaking engagements and personal consulting. Contact her at pninabaim@gmail.com.