A Parent’s Guide to Designing Scavenger Hunts For Free Family Fun


A scavenger hunt is a great activity that promotes family fun and bonding time. The following tips will show you just how easy it can be to plan an indoor or outdoor hunt to celebrate a special occasion or provide some good old-fashioned entertainment.

General Guidelines for Scavenger Hunts

1.Explain the game to your kids. Let your kids know how a scavenger hunt works. You can list the items to find or write riddles to describe the items. Then, you divide into teams. The winner is the team that finds the most items by the end of the time limit.

2.Create a prize.  Select a prize to award to the winning team. For younger children, some good options include a baked treat or a coloring book and crayons. Older kids might like a book or movie tickets. 

3.Give each child a role. Provide children with the opportunity to pitch in. They can help pick a theme for the scavenger hunt or help brainstorm items to locate.

4.Tie in other activities. Plan some additional activities to go along with your hunt. For example, you can serve a dinner menu that goes along with your theme. Around Halloween, require all the players to dress up. 

5.Celebrate special occasions. Scavenger hunts are great for ordinary days as well as special celebrations. Compete during birthday parties or holiday gatherings.

6.Lay down the ground rules. Create a list of rules and share them with the participants. Appoint an adult to supervise each team. It is most important to ensure everyone's safety. Rehearse the correct way to respectfully approach people and ask for items. 

Planning an Indoor Scavenger Hunt

1.Go online. Internet-based scavenger hunts can come in handy for days when the weather is bad or your kids are home sick from school. Browse together to find your treasure.

2.Use books and magazines. If you’d rather stay off the computer, use books, magazines, and newspapers. You can search for pictures of items on your list.

3.Relate it to family. Bring your family history to life. Collect household items while sharing stories about family or reasons why these items are special.

4.Make grocery shopping more fun. It’s easy for kids to get bored while grocery shopping. Turn it into playtime by challenging them to look for the product that’s white and gets poured on cereal.

Planning an Outdoor Scavenger Hunt

1.Liven up your next road trip. Travel is another time when parents are looking for diversions. Collect receipts, maps, or post cards from each place you visit. You can even try to spot a sign without any numbers on it or "hunt" for license plates representing each state.

2.Go camping. Generate a list of items you want to collect during your daytime hikes. Enjoy family evenings at your campsite without television. Sneak some strange items into your backpack before you leave home and hide them at the campsite. 

3.Take photos. Record your outdoor scavenger and treasure hunts by taking pictures of the items you collect along with action shots of all the players. Your kids will enhance their photography skills. Creating memories without disturbing natural settings will teach a valuable lesson in ecology.

4.Glow in the dark. Everything is more exciting when it glows in the dark. Head out to your backyard in the evening with glow sticks and special stickers. Attach them to the items you’ll be searching for. Watch your children’s faces light up when they discover the twist.

Treat the whole family to a scavenger hunt. Mix it up with different places, formats, and themes. You'll have endless possibilities for new games and good times both indoors and out.

User login