22 Indoor And Outdoor Scavenger Hunt Ideas For Kids

A scavenger hunt for kids is a kid-friendly search activity where the hunt organizer prepares a list with hints about specific items, and the participants work to seek and gather them. You can play indoors or outdoors. These scavenger hunts allow your children to stay on their toes and not stare at the screen all day. Kids enjoy playing, while adults enjoy arranging a scavenger hunt. Father of two, Michael D. Elder, recounts how he set up an elaborate pirate treasure hunt for his children at the beach, complete with a wooden jewelry box full of trinkets. Describing his kids’ reactions to finding the treasure, he says, “Both of them were excited that there was really something they were about to find. The excitement of the unknown gave them focus to figure out where to dig around it, my daughter having realized what shape the box was from the top began shaping out the hole to expose it. When they were able to finally pull up both boxes and open them, their eyes lit up! It was so much fun (i)!!”

We can help you with interesting scavenger hunt ideas to keep your children occupied. These activities can be fun for a group of children and also increase social interaction and physical movement.

In This Article

Difference Between A Scavenger Hunt And A Treasure Hunt

A treasure hunt is an adventure activity where the child hints and uncovers a single treasure or item. It is a suitable outdoor game for a single child as it does not require a group of children to play. However, scavenger hunts provide a group of children or a single child with fun opportunities to find multiple objects using a quest-based format. A treasure hunt is less time-consuming as the only objective is to look for the treasure. However, a scavenger hunt can go on for hours, allowing the children to go on an expedition to explore and unearth different items.

22 Scavenger Hunt Ideas For Kids

Here are some fun ways to arrange a scavenger hunt.

1. Alphabet scavenger hunt

For this activity, you will need letters in upper and lower case. Arrange some boxes and write the name of a child on each. Now instruct the children to find the hidden letters and put them into their boxes. In the end, count the letters in each box, and the child with the maximum number of letters wins the game.

2. Neighborhood hunt

Neighborhood hunt, Scavenger hunt for kids

Image: IStock

Prepare a list of small items such as a pen, paper, fork, and flower that the children have to go around the neighborhood to collect. Fix a time frame and allow them to begin at the same time. Whoever gets the most items within the stipulated time wins the game.

Point to consider
Participating in scavenger hunt games helps teach children the value of teamwork and build problem-solving skills.

3. The nature explorer

Make a list of all the items that you can find outdoors easily. Such things may include a flower, stone, leaf, or feather. Once the list is ready, hand it out to the children. Let them run around and collect these items quickly. Whoever returns first with the maximum number of items will be the winner.

4. The sound hunt

For this activity, you need to prepare a list of sounds available around the locality, such as birds chirping, leaves swaying, and more, and mention such names in the list. Ask the children to go out and listen to their surroundings and mark the items on the list whenever they hear a particular sound.

5. Photo hunt

They can go around clicking pictures

Image: IStock

This activity requires you to step up the game a little as you need to arrange a camera for each child. Give the children a list of things that you want them to capture. They can go around clicking pictures of the items mentioned in the list.

6. Grocery scavenger hunt

You need to compile a list of items you need for the household. Give this list to the children and ask them to find the item in the grocery store. Instruct them to collect all the items and arrange them in a bag, and tick away the items they find in the list.

7. Costume-themed hunt

This dress-up game will have to hide the parts of the outfit in different areas. Ask the children to find the items with the help of clues and wear each item as they find it. They will have a completely different look by the end of the hunt.

8. Make-a-treat

Tell the child that you are about to make their favorite dish, and you need them to find the ingredients. Hide the ingredients carefully in different corners and give them some clues about where they can be found. Once all the ingredients are collected, you can begin making their favorite dish as a reward.

9. Puzzle hunt

You will need colored blocks and colored paper for this activity. Arrange the colored papers in a row adjacent to each other. Hide the colored blocks and ask the children to find and place them over the matching colored paper.

10. Book hunt

Book hunt can also improve their reading skills

Image: IStock

For this activity, prepare a list of books, including magazines, biographies, or storybooks. Then, ask the children to find the books you mention in the list from each category. Once all the books are found, the children have to read the first line of each book. This is a fun activity to improve their reading skills.

11. Memory game

Arrange some toys in a tray and show them to the children. Ask them to remember each toy and show them the place where you plan to hide the items. The children have to see the list with the toys and remember where they have been hidden.

Trivia
May 24th is observed as National Scavenger Hunt Day, which marks the annual celebration of solving clues or hunting various items to win the game.

12. Field trip

This could be a picnic or a visit to the zoo and can be a fun way to engage children in a public space. Make a list of things you know the children can find in that area, such as a pebble, pine cone, or a particular flower of that region. Ask them to find them and whoever finds the highest number of the things marked on the list wins the game.

13. Zoo-themed hunt

Hide stuffed animals and prepare a list. Ask the children to go around looking for the animals mentioned in the list. Whoever comes back with the maximum stuffed animals will be crowned as the king of the jungle.

14. Gratitude game

This is a simple game that does not require you to arrange anything. Ask the children to go around the area and pick up things around them that they like and are thankful for. For instance, it could be a book that always makes them laugh, a color that brightens them up, or their favorite chair.

15. Hunting the five senses

For this activity, you need to explain to the children about their five senses. After doing so, ask them to find items they can see, smell, feel, taste, and hear. Whoever completes this task first will be the winner of this hunt.

16. Hunt through the book

Hunt through the book, Scavenger hunt for kids

Image: IStock

Give the child a book and ask them to spot different words such as a noun, pronoun, or adjective and write them down on a piece of paper. This will improve their reading and writing skills.

17. Chase the color

Prepare a list of colors and ask the children to gather things from their surroundings that match the color. For example, if the color is green, they can bring a leaf; if it’s pink, they can look for a pink flower, and so on.

18. Counting game

Note some items such as twigs, flowers, pens, pencils along with the numbers, for example, three pens, two twigs, and so on. Ask the children to look for that many numbers of that item and collect them. It can be a great way to practice numbers.

19. Newspaper hunt

Grab a couple of newspapers

Image: IStock

Grab a couple of newspapers and distribute them among the children. Take the name of any item, such as a car, a bird, or a letter, and ask the children to circle it as soon as they find it.

20. Shapes

Mention different shapes on a piece of paper and give them to the children. Ask them to look for things of similar shapes in their surroundings and collect them.

21. Music scavenger hunt

Start by drawing a large circle with chalk, divide it into ten sections, and assign each section a different color. Play your favorite song on your phone and ask children to move within the circle. When the music stops, they quickly stand on a color. The challenge for each child is to find an item that matches the color they landed on.

22. Number challenge

Hide numbered cards in a designated area to play the number scavenger hunt. Instruct children to search for and collect the cards and organize the numbers in sequence. Make it more interesting by giving children puzzling clues.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do I plan a scavenger hunt with clues?

When planning a scavenger hunt,

  • Choose the location and time for the game depending on the players’ age
  • Decide the theme of the game.
  • Create the lists of items you need.
  • Prepare the clues, map out the trail, and discern interesting places to hide them.
  • Give the list of clues written as riddles to each team and track the clues.
  • Get ready to play.

2. What is a virtual scavenger hunt?

When the traditional scavenger hunt is played online, it becomes a virtual scavenger hunt. In the virtual game, every participant finds objects or observes, solves the puzzle at home, and interacts with others through the screen. The host keeps track of the time and the winners.

3. What are good scavenger hunt prizes for kids?

Scavenger hunts can be fun and exciting for kids, and offering prizes can make it even more enjoyable. Consider giving away age-appropriate toys that match the theme of the scavenger hunt. For example, you could provide small pirate figures or toy treasure chests if the hunt is pirate-themed. Foster creativity by providing art supplies as prizes. Bring sticker sheets, notebooks, pens, or other fun stationery items as prizes. A sweet or savory treat can also be a delightful prize.

4. Why do kids like scavenger hunts?

Scavenger hunts offer an element of thrill and excitement. The anticipation of searching for hidden treasures or solving clues can be quite engaging for children. Completing a scavenger hunt successfully provides a sense of accomplishment for kids and aids in cognitive development. This active engagement can be both fun and beneficial for their physical development. Playing with friends or siblings provides an opportunity for social interaction, cooperation, and teamwork.

5. What are some common mistakes to avoid when organizing a scavenger hunt for kids?

Ensure the clues you provide are age-appropriate and not too difficult for the kids to understand. Keep the language simple and clear, and avoid using complex riddles or puzzles that might frustrate or confuse them. Ensure the scavenger hunt location is safe for children, free from potential hazards, and supervised by responsible adults. Explain the rules, boundaries, and any specific guidelines they need to follow and ensure everyone understands what they should and should not do during the activity.

6. What types of items or clues can be included in a scavenger hunt for kids?

Provide picture clues of specific objects or locations the kids need to find. This can be especially suitable for younger children who may not be able to read yet. Create riddles or rhymes that lead the kids to different locations or objects. Incorporate natural elements into the scavenger hunt, such as specific types of leaves, rocks, flowers, or shells the kids need to collect or identify. Give written clues that describe a particular item or location.

7. How can a scavenger hunt be adapted for different age groups of children?

Adapting a scavenger hunt for different age groups of children is a great way to ensure the activity is engaging and age-appropriate. For preschoolers, instead of written clues, provide pictures or simple drawings to help them identify the items they need to find. Use written clues and riddles for children between six to ten years of age. Create themed hunts and include physical activities for teens.

8. What safety precautions should be taken when organizing a scavenger hunt for kids?

Ensure that the scavenger hunt activities are suitable for the age group participating. Choose a safe and controlled location for the scavenger hunt with proper parental supervision. Provide clear and concise instructions for each task or clue, and consider providing safety equipment such as reflective vests, helmets, knee pads, or other protective gear. Ask parents to inform you of any allergies or medical conditions their children may have and have a first aid kit readily available in case of minor injuries.

9. Can a scavenger hunt be a team-building activity for kids?

Yes, a scavenger hunt can be an excellent team-building activity for kids. It promotes collaboration, problem-solving, communication, and teamwork among the participants. It encourages children to work together, share ideas, and support one another to achieve a common goal. It also allows them to develop critical thinking skills, enhance creativity, and foster a sense of camaraderie.

Therefore, a scavenger hunt can be a great way to switch a boring day to a fun and entertaining one. But remember, when you arrange a scavenger hunt for a group of children, ensure you prioritize their safety. Avoid anything that might be dangerous and unsafe so they can play safe and enjoy to the fullest. Also, try to make it age-appropriate to avoid boredom.

Infographic: How Is Scavenger Hunt Different From Treasure Hunt

Scavenger hunt not only engages children away from screen time but also promotes skill development. However, sometimes, people get confused between treasure hunt and scavenger hunt games. So scroll through the infographic below to learn about the differences between these two games.

how is scavenger hunt different from treasure hunt (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Get high-quality PDF version by clicking below.

Download Infographic in PDF version Download Infographic
Download Infographic in PDF version

Key Pointers

  • Get your child off their screens and engage their mind by organizing a scavenger hunt.
  • A scavenger hunt involves finding multiple objects using a quest-based format and is great for group activities.
  • Let your child use all their senses to solve clues with different types of scavenger hunts like alphabet, neighborhood, sound or photo hunts.
  • Even if your child’s friends live far away, you can organize a virtual scavenger hunt where participants find objects or solve puzzles at home.


Let’s go on a nature scavenger hunt! Explore the outdoors and see what you can find! Have fun and be creative!

Personal Experience: Source

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