If you’ve never heard of a Where’s Waldo youth activity, then you are in for a treat. This large group activity is so much fun! It’s perfect for a high school dance activity, LDS youth group, birthday party or family reunion. Check it out!
As an LDS youth leader for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I’m always trying to think of fun activities to do with the youth in our congregation. That’s why we throw a Where’s Waldo youth activity every year. The teenagers love it! But you don’t have to be a member of my church of do this activity. It’s perfect for any large group gathering. Here’s how to do it.
How to play Where’s Waldo in Real Life
We’re all familiar with the classic search and find children’s book, Where’s Waldo. So … Where’s Waldo in Real Life is basically large group activity in which teams of 3-4 people search a large shopping area—such as a mall or grocery store—to find disguised Waldos walking around. The first team to locate all of the Waldos and return to the designated meeting place is the winner.
Step #1: Find your Waldo participants
Depending on the size of the group playing the game, you’ll want to ask about 4-8 people to disguise themselves. We had a group of about 20 youth, so I asked 4 adults to disguise themselves. You can let them disguise themselves however they would like but here are just a few ideas:
You can also get more specific and ask them to dress up in a theme like Harry Potter, Marvel, etc. Here’s a little video I made of the fun activity and an up close look at our disguised Waldos in action:
Step #2: Print your instructions, Waldo Stamps and Waldo Sheets
I designed an all-in-one Where’s Waldo printable that you can use the night of the activity. It includes a helpful instruction sheet, Waldo Stamps and Waldo Sheets.
Each of the disguised Waldos need to give each group of youth a Waldo stamp as proof that they were discovered.
Each group of youth will receive a Waldo Sheet that includes character names and a space for a signature under each name. Each group will need to gather signatures AND Waldo stamps from each of the disguised Waldos.
Step #3: Divide into groups and explain the rules
The key to making this activity a success is organizing small groups of 3-4 youth. If there are too many people per group, it gets to chaotic. We ended up with four groups with four youth and one leader per group.
Before you start, explain to each group that they will need to gather signatures AND Waldo stamps from each of the disguised Waldos. They need to ask each Waldo, “Are you __?” by choosing a name from the list on their Waldo Sheet before the Waldo is allowed to sign their sheet and give them their stamp.
The first team to gather all of the signatures/stamps and then return to the designated rendezous point is the winner. If a team(s) is unable to find all of the Waldos within a specific amount of time (30-45 minutes) they should return to the rendezous point even though their sheet is not complete. Other rules to keep in mind:
- No running
- No yelling
- Be respectful of the other customers
in the shopping area
Step #4: Play the game
Decide where you want to have the activity. Any large shopping area such as Walmart or a shopping mall will work. During this Where’s Waldo youth activity, make sure that an adult leader stays with their assigned group for the entire activity. Since you’ll be in a very public place, you want to make sure everyone behaves themselves and doesn’t get kicked out.
Instruct your disguised Waldos to arrive at the location and get into position with plenty of time before everyone else arrives. Tell all of the participants to meet at a specific location when they find all of the Waldos. The first team to finish wins.
Bonus: Random winners
To make the activity even more fun, you draw a star or symbol on the back of one or more Waldo stamps. Then, when everyone comes back to the front, whoever has a star on their stamp gets a prize too.
This activity is such a hit every time we play it with our youth group. Let me know how your activity goes in the comments below. Here’s a link one more time to the printable Where’s Waldo youth activity instructions, stamps and sheets:
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