My semester officially wrapped up today (minus lingering corrections — I promise I’ll get to you, final projects!). Kids being home for the holidays can only mean one thing: Mom and Dad’s living room replaces the classroom for the foreseeable future. It also makes for more visits with cugini and amici, playdates with neighbours and the children of Mom and Dad’s oldest friends. It can be really easy to turn to the television as the tried, tested, and true babysitter under these circumstances and while you get your last-minute shopping, wrapping, baking, and meal preparations done. That’s why we’d like to give you an alternative: an activity that will keep your kids (and their friends) busy for a while and that also doubles as a neat vocabulary review for your second-language learners of Italian. I’m talking about the Caccia al tesoro natalizia — the Christmas Scavenger Hunt.
In Italy, scavenger hunts are more of an Easter thing. Come April, egg-hunts abound in Italian cities. But what gets played at Christmas — Tombola — we played at Halloween. So it’s only natural that at Christmas, we play an Easter game. Who knows what we’ll come up with at Pasqua!
The rules are simple: first have your little learners match a vocabulary list with a series of corresponding images. They may not have seen certain words on the list before, but they will have seen others that can help guide their guess. Clues come in the form of colours, agreement between noun and adjective, or words that resemble their English and French equivalents. Encourage your little learners to guess wisely and, if necessary, cross-check their hunches using a dictionary.
The things on their vocabulary list are the items that will be hidden all around your house. They are simple holiday items that you’ll likely already find in your own decorations: a yellow star, elves, snowmen, chestnuts, snowflakes, bells (among others). Here’s the catch: there’s more than one of each of the items on the list. In fact, the list looks a lot like “The Twelve days of Christmas.” Your little learners will have to find one of the first item on the list and twelve of the last. So make sure you’re prepared! In case you aren’t, you can also use the printable cutouts you’ll find below.
They can play in teams, as individuals, or as a group. It’s Christmas, so why not encourage them to help each other out and share the rewards (spoiler: the last item on the list is also their recompense for their efforts!). But if you’ve got a competitive bunch, pitting them against each other might also make for interesting results.
Buon divertimento e buon Natale a tutti!