Stay-at-home order. Shelter in place. Quarantine. These are terms I never thought I’d be teaching my child, much less living under. With much of the country committing to remaining at home, our children may feel more isolated and separated from one another than ever. However, despite our current circumstances, we are still a relational church. This activity gives children a chance to be part of a scavenger hunt “alongside” other young disciples who are also practicing social distancing where they live.
Start your time with your children by reciting the Lord’s Prayer with (or to) them. Ask them if this prayer seems familiar. Then ask them why it seems familiar. They likely will respond with something along the lines of “we say it at church.” Tell them that Christians all across the world say some form of this prayer. We do this because this is the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples to pray. It is one of the many ways that we are all united as one, in Jesus Christ’s church, even though we may not be members of the same physical congregation. (Older children may enjoy seeing versions of the Lord’s Prayer in several languages. You can download the prayer in five languages here.)
Share with your children that they will be participating in a fun activity that will join them together with other kids in the larger church. This “Great Scripture Scavenger Hunt” started because two churches in different parts of the country wanted to connect their children. The educators of these congregations wanted to remind the kids that we are all going through the same challenges right now, but we can also find joy by playing “together.”
Below you’ll find the activities that make up the Great Scripture Scavenger Hunt. You may choose to make a day of it and tackle them all at once. Or, you might decide to turn the hunt into a multiday venture, completing a few tasks each day.
When you’ve completed the scavenger hunt, consider making an electronic photo album for your family. You may also want to collaborate with other members of your congregation to create a church-wide scavenger album. Or you could even reach out to friends from several different congregations to make a multichurch album.
Here’s a few of our favorites:
“This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24). Take a picture of something that makes you feel happy today.
“I Danced in the Morning When the World Was Begun.” Take a picture of a kitchen dance party and tell us what song you rocked out to! (Here, dancing to and singing “Let It Go”)
“Just like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand” (Jeremiah 18:5). Find a clay pot and take a picture of it.
“Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, Praising God and having the goodwill of all the people” (Acts 2: 46-47). Take a picture of a meal that you and your family are about to eat together.
Great Scripture Scavenger Hunt activities
- “This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24). Take a picture of something that makes you feel happy today.
- “I Danced in the Morning When the World Was Begun.” Take a picture of a kitchen dance party (and tell what song you rocked out to!).
- “Then he said, ‘Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground’” (Exodus 3:5). Most homes have one spot – usually near a door – where all the shoes get left. Take a picture of yours.
- “Just like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand” (Jeremiah 18:5). Find a clay pot and take a picture of it.
- “Jesus walked this lonesome valley, he had to walk it by himself.” Take a picture of something that you usually do with friends, teammates or classmates that you have to do on your own now.
- “Then they said, ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower with its top in the heavens” (Genesis 11:4a). Using blocks, Legos or other things around your house, build a tall tower and have a family member take a picture of you standing next to it.
- “The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge” (2 Samuel 22:2-3a). Take a picture of yourself next to the biggest rock you can find in your house or yard.
- “Or what woman having ten silver coins, if she loses one of them, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found that coin that I lost’ (Luke 15: 8-9). Look around your house for something that you haven’t been able to find for a while. Take a picture of yourself holding it when you find it. (Or look in the couch cushions to see if you can find some loose change.)
- “A shoot shall come out of the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots” (Isaiah 11:1). Shoots or new plants are a sign that spring has arrived! Take a picture of a plant growing. You might find it outdoors or in your home.
- “All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small. All things wise and wonderful; the Lord God made them all.” Look out your window or in your yard for a “creature” that God made and post a picture of it!
- “Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white” (Matthew 17:1-2). Find something in your home that “shines like the sun” or is “dazzling white.” Take a picture of it.
- “Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened” (Luke 24:13-14). If you’re able to go outdoors, take a walk with your family and talk about your day. Take a picture of your family walking together.
- “Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people” (Acts 2:46-47). Take a picture of a meal that you and your family are about to eat together.
- “I have come down to deliver them from the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey” (Exodus 3:8). Take a picture of the milk that your family drinks or cooks with.
- “Jacob came to a certain place and stayed there for the night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place” (Genesis 28:11). While Jacob travels, he makes a bed on the ground and uses a rock for a pillow. Take a picture of where you sleep at night.
JOELLE BRUMMIT-YALE is the director of children’s and youth ministries at Chapel in the Pines Presbyterian in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. When not at the church, she can usually be found at home with her son and husband caring for their many animals and developing their family homestead.
BECKY D’ANGELO-VEITCH serves as the director of faith formation at Third Presbyterian Church in Rochester, New York. She is a certified associate Christian educator, and when not at church, she enjoys yoga, reading or doing anything outdoors with her spouse Robert and her two teenage daughters.