Teach Youth Gratitude with a Service Scavenger Hunt

I had the best time serving with the young women from my church a few weeks ago. We were looking for a way to serve others in our neighborhood (and have a little fun at the same time), so we hosted a service scavenger hunt. It was a complete success! Not only did the girls have a great time, but we met new neighbors, and we got to think about others instead of about ourselves.

Help teens and youth learn gratitude with a Service Scavenger Hunt! {OneCreativeMommy.com} Tips for organizing and free printables

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, it’s time to start focusing on gratitude. With the craziness of daily life, it’s easy to get caught up in ourselves and our problems and forget about our many blessings. I find that serving others is a great way to get a new perspective on life. When we help others, we often discover that our problems seem lighter. As a result, we find ourselves happier and feeling more positive about life.

A service scavenger hunt is a fun way to get youth (or your family) out of the house and serving others.

Service Scavenger Hunt Logo {OneCreativeMommy.com}

How to Organize a Service Scavenger Hunt

Before the event:

  1. First, gather ideas for service that will work in your area.

Keep in mind the safety of your kids. If the area in which you live is not very safe, plan only outdoor service, and make sure kids are well supervised. If possible, serve in an area in which you are familiar with most of the neighbors.

I searched the web and found ideas for scavenger hunts here and here. I took my favorite ideas from their lists and then added more ideas of my own. (Your list will probably vary depending on the time of year and the area of the country in which you live. While we’re raking leaves in Southern Utah, others may be ready to shovel snow!)

  1. Next, divide the jobs by difficulty, and assign a point value to each job.

Assign the highest point value to the most time-consuming jobs. (I kept it simple and just had two different point values.)

  1. Finally, create a chart listing the jobs, the point value, and a place for the home owner to sign off the job.

On my chart, each job can be done twice. (I wanted everyone the youth visited to be able to find something that the kids could do for them.)

Take the easy route:

You don’t want to go to all that trouble? Don’t worry! I’m sharing my chart with you to save you the work. You can download my completed chart in pdf form or download my excel spreadsheet to edit the way you like.

How to Organize a Service Scavenger Hunt (with free printables) {OneCreativeMommy.com}

At the time of the event:

Now that it’s time to serve, simply divide the youth into groups (4 or 5 to a group is about right), give them some instructions about appropriate behavior in other people’s homes (don’t skip that part!), and send them out to serve! Be sure to send a leader with each group to make sure the youth stay safe.

Don’t forget to tell the youth what time they need to be back at the starting point. You can also offer bonus points to teams who pick up more youth along the way to join their team. The more the merrier!

Have fun and enjoy serving!

Help teens and youth learn gratitude with a Service Scavenger Hunt! {OneCreativeMommy.com} Tips for organizing and free printables

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  1. What a wonderful way to keep the focus on what truly matters most. I plan to share this idea with my tween so she can pass it on to her community service club!

  2. Oh wow these are so great. Thanks for sharing!!

  3. I love this idea. Our girls have become friends with a group of girls and boys in middle school and I somehow became the planner for finding things for the whole group. This would be great for all of them.

  4. This is brilliant! While the youth at my Church have no difficulty completing the required service hours for high school graduation, this activity would be just plain fun too!

    • Thanks, Cathi. That is so cool that your kids have required service hours for high school graduation. I’ve never heard of that, and I think it’s an awesome idea!

      • The required service hours for graduation went into affect after my first two kids graduated but caught my youngest. He already had all the hours he needed because of Church service projects. It is excellent that it’s required for graduation because some kids never have the opportunity to serve others. I also think all teenagers need to visit an intensive care unit in a Children’s hospital. I saw how it affected my nieces when they came to visit my daughter, who was hospitalized for 5 weeks at age five. It gave her teenage cousins a whole new outlook on life. *wink

  5. I love this idea so much! I am still trying to figure out ways to encourage my children to give and think of others. This is a way for my little ones to get used to the theme but still have fun with it.

    • Thanks, Emily. Any chance kids can have to serve–at any age–is great! I’m glad you are starting them young. I remember helping my mom take meals to people when I was little.

  6. I wonder how long it would take my kids to figure out that this scavenger hunt is really a chore chart in disguise!?! Hopefully never!

    • Chores are so much more fun when you’re doing them for someone else. Maybe it’s something about knowing your’re helping someone else. (Somehow helping your mom just doesn’t give that same excitement. Wish it did!)

  7. I’ve never heard of a service scavenger hunt before. I do believe children should learn how to help others, parrticularly be helping certain specific organizations.

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