Kid Activity: Spectacular Scavenger Hunt (2024)

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.

Kid Activity: Spectacular Scavenger Hunt (2024)


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