Scavenger hunts can make an ordinary event such as an afternoon at home, a car trip, or a walk in the park, a fun journey of discovery. They’re ideal to keep curious kids busy and learning and make children more aware of their surroundings. Best of all, they are much easier to set up than a treasure hunt and can be done with things around you. You can tailor them to your child’s age and interests and create scavenger hunts for a single child or the whole family.
Take ‘I Spy’ to the next level with these free scavenger hunt ideas for kids. In this article you’ll find easy suggestions to get your creative juices flowing and free handy checklists to get you started.
What’s the difference between a treasure hunt and a scavenger hunt?
Both a treasure hunt and scavenger hunt send players on an exciting journey of discovery. In a treasure hunt, you’ll need to create and hide a series of sequential clues players follow to find the treasure. A scavenger hunt is much easier to set up because it starts with a list of things to find – no need to make and hide clues!
Teams vs solo scavenger hunts
You can set up a scavenger hunt to keep a single child busy, or as a competition with family and friends. If it’s a team effort, assign teams as evenly as possible so little ones don’t get left behind. And remember to award a prize – it’ll be a great incentive for everyone to keep their eyes peeled!
What you’ll need for your scavenger hunt
- Scavenger hunt list (download our free printables or make your own)
- Pencil or pens to tick off lists
- Bag or box to collect items
- Prize for the winning team (try these fun party bag fillers)
Try this: 50 things to find on a nature walk
Nature walks are anything but boring because there’s so much to do and see. Whether it’s finding a long piece of grass, an object shaped like a circle, or keeping your eyes peeled for spotting wildlife, this free printable has 50 objects to spot or collect, and tick off your list. Even if your child doesn’t find everything the first time around, keep it for your next nature walk. Download your free printable here and head out to the park, the woods or the beach.
Try this: Slash the rubbish scavenger hunt
Enjoy a walk through your neighbourhood while searching for rubbish to slash and trash. Participants earn one point for every piece of rubbish they find. Be sure to go prepared with gloves, a rubbish bag, and tweezers. Download your free list and take it along with you.
Try this: Arty outdoor scavenger hunt
Here’s a scavenger hunt with a fun twist that creative kids will love – go on an arty outdoor scavenger hunt. Children can either draw the items they find, collect leaves and flowers to press at home, or take rubbings of natural surfaces such as tree bark. Remember to pack a few sheets of paper and wax crayons if you plan on doing rubbings.
Try these: Stay at home scavenger hunt ideas
Rainy day or stuck inside? No problem. Set up an indoor scavenger hunt. Choose a theme and make a list of interesting items to find. Try a colour theme and send children on an expedition to find items of a specific colour around the home – or try multiple colours. Try a maths hunt, where children need to find examples of maths and measurements such as a number written in words, a unit of measurement, a coin, an object larger than 10cm, and so on.
If you liked our free scavenger hunt ideas for kids, check out our other fun ideas for the best free free ways to entertain kids.