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Kid Activity: Spectacular Scavenger Hunt

Apr 8 | What Different Can Do

Scavenger hunts are a simple way to create a day’s worth of entertainment for children of any age—from preschoolers to teens. With a little imagination and some common items, you can design your own scavenger hunt for kids. Not sure where to start? No worries! You can download our ready-made outdoor scavenger hunt (thank you to CSG campers Lael and Cade!) or below are some ideas to keep your hunt interactive, engaging, and enjoyable for the kiddos!

Find a Purpose or Theme

Your first step in planning a fun scavenger hunt for kids is to come up with a purpose or a theme. You can make this as simple or creative as you would like, but keep the ages of the participants in mind.

For younger kids, something as simple as a nature scavenger hunt will be enough to keep them active and happy. For older kids, however, a more elaborate theme might be needed to keep them engaged – and off their phones!

If you have a variety of ages, split the kids into teams to include both younger and older team members. The younger kiddos will love teaming up with older friends or siblings, and you’ll be surprised at how patient the older ones can be when paired up with preschoolers!

Ready to get started? Here are some of our favorite scavenger hunt ideas.

Outdoor Scavenger Hunt:

This one is perfect for the little ones! For a nature scavenger hunt, the items to look for should be easy to find outdoors, such as a pink flower or a smooth rock. As they get older, you can make it more challenging by adding a scientific touch: a leaf from an oak tree, for example. You can combine this one with Earth Day for a scavenger hunt that is exciting and educational.

Birthday Party Scavenger Hunt:

For an interactive, hands-on party game, a scavenger hunt is the way to go! Forego the typical birthday goodie bags and hide their prizes throughout the house, instead.

Holiday Scavenger Hunt:

Holidays make for an excellent scavenger hunt theme: Halloween, Christmas, or any other holiday would work. You can even turn a classic Easter egg hunt into a scavenger hunt with some clever clues and challenges. On St. Patrick’s Day, searching for “gold” and shamrocks makes it even more festive.

Indoor Scavenger Hunt:

A DIY indoor scavenger hunt is an easy, fun way to brighten a rainy day. Since these are usually last-minute ideas, look online for a free printable scavenger hunt list. Keep things simple by focusing the hunt on common household items.

Photo Scavenger Hunt:

This one is fun for all ages. Instead of having them gather items, have the kids take photos with items. You can award bonus points for photographic creativity. After the hunt, print or upload all the silly photos you’ve collected, so the kids can get a belly laugh all over again.

Write a List of Items

Once you’ve decided on your theme/purpose, you can start working on a list of items for the kids to find. For the most part, you won’t want to purchase supplies, so stick to common household or nature objects such as paper clips, pebbles, and so on. Of course, if you’re using a holiday as your theme, picking up some inexpensive holiday goodies or toys will keep the theme going and add a little extra pizzazz to the hunt. Think special Christmas ornaments or little Halloween-themed pencil packs, nothing too expensive or difficult to hide! As with everything else scavenger hunt-related, keep it age-appropriate.


Your little ones won’t always remember where you keep things. What might seem obvious to you might prove to be too challenging for them. Items such as a yellow bouncy ball or a purple crayon will be just their speed. You can also direct them to find “something shiny” or “something you use for eating”—keep it at their level.

On their list, print pictures instead of words. This will allow them to feel independent yet keep them on track while they hunt clues.

Younger Kids

Kids just learning to read will have a blast doing the scavenger hunt on their own. Give them a list using sight words from school. If they don’t have enough sight words, mix words and pictures with a special list just for them.

Tweens & Teens

Keep the older ones engaged with some brain teasers. Try scrambling the letters in the word, for example, to make them figure out what they’re hunting for. Or use a simple code (A=1, B=2) for them to decipher the list on their own.

Add in Some Clues

If you want to step it up a notch, get their brains involved by using a few clues. These can lead to a “prize” (stickers hidden inside the tub, a Starbucks gift card in the pages of a book) or to point them in the direction of the next clue.


The little ones love rhyming clues!

“If you turn the knob, I get hot.
I’m where you put a pan or pot.”
“This is what you use when it’s time to scrub.
I usually hang out with my friend, the tub.”
“Flick my switch if you need some light.
I’ll help you read when it gets to be night.”
“This is where you go to get a drink.
I’m next to my buddy, the kitchen sink.”

Younger Kids

As the kids get older, use progressively more difficult clues, riddles, and brain teasers.

“I have no head, but I have a face.
My hands move at a steady pace.”
“The more I dry, the wetter I become. What am I?”
“I can smash scissors, but paper covers me. What am I?”
“I never leave the corner, but can travel around the world. What am I?”

Tweens & Teens

Now it’s time to really flex that brainpower! Here’s your chance to try to stump the older kiddos. You can add holiday-themed trivia, messages written in numeric code/Morse code, clues in a foreign language, or more difficult riddles.

“I have a head and a tail, but no body in between, what am I?”
“Look in the 19-9-14-11.”

Of course, not all of your items should have clues. Add in just enough to keep it interesting, but not too many so the kids don’t feel overwhelmed.

Get Them Moving and Grooving

The kids will naturally be running around as they figure out clues and race from room to room on their treasure hunt. But you can always add in some extra physical challenges, too. These can be things they do on their own—and maybe take a video to show you later—or things that they have to demonstrate to one another, the opposing team, or even to you.

Ideas for Physical Activities:

  • Teach a teammate your favorite dance moves.
  • Do 10 jumping jacks for mom & dad.
  • Walk across the living room like your favorite animal.

Other Fun Activities:

Tap into your kids’ creativity or let them show off their hobbies!

  • Write a poem.
  • Draw a picture.
  • Learn how to say hello, please, and thank you in another language.

Snap Silly Selfies

If your kids are like most, they love any chance to pose! Keep them engaged by using selfies (or selfie videos) as part of the scavenger hunt experience.

  • Hit up the dress-up clothes bin to create a costume—you can ask for themes (dress like a pirate!).
  • Using a roll of toilet paper, have the youngest team member turn the oldest into a zombie.
  • Holding a self “portrait” they’ve drawn.
  • Have kids take pictures posing as the letters in their name (YMCA-style).
  • Use items around the house to dress up as a favorite celeb.
  • Older kids can pose as their favorite meme!

And of course, you can’t miss some video action!

  • Playing an instrument—or air guitar!
  • Dancing
  • Reenacting a scene from a favorite movie or play

One word of advice here: ask the kids to stay off social media and not text during the event. The whole point of a scavenger hunt is to enjoy the activity and bond with your fellow participants. Have fun, take some pictures and let us know how it went by tagging us on social media @campsouthernground!