Scavenger Hunt for Kids

Scavenger Hunt for Kids

I remember that when I was 5, I attended a party where they asked us to find certain things in the party venue. As a curious child, it was so exciting for me to run around and look for things. The adrenaline and excitement pushed me to look around faster.

The theme of the hunt was a “going to the city” theme. This includes looking for stickers, small objects, and relevant little toys that all point out the theme. It included toy buses, skyscraper stickers under the party tables and many others.

 I wasn’t as competitive as the other children but I enjoyed playing the game. This game has been part of my childhood every time I attended parties. 

It wasn’t until I became a teen that I realized how fun it was to organize a scavenger hunt for my little cousins. It was as fun as I remembered it to be when I was a game player when I was younger. It was an organizer’s dream to let the kids work hard for it.

Most of us have tried this game when we were younger. It would be nice that as now that we are parents, we introduce this game to our kids. I believe that they would experience the fun that we have when we were younger.

What is a scavenger hunt?

Scavenger Hunt for Kids

A scavenger hunt is a game in which organizers prepare a list defining specific things, which the participants seek to gather or complete all items on the list, usually without purchasing them.

In other variations of the game, players take photographs of listed items or are challenged to complete the tasks on the list in the most creative manner. A treasure hunt is another name for the game, but it may involve following a series of clues to find objects or a single prize in a particular order

Scavenger hunts evolved from ancient folk games. Elsa Maxwell who is a gossip columnist popularized scavenger hunts in the United States with a series of exclusive New York parties starting in the early 1930s.

It eventually became a popular kid’s party game and play game. However, scavenger hunting is not limited to kids. Scavenger hunts were regularly held at American universities. They usually are more difficult and challenging than what kids are used to.

Scavenger Hunt for Kids

Benefits of scavenger hunting for kids

This activity is one of the suggested physical activities for kids because it allows the kids to exercise their motor skills and bodily coordination. Kids usually are more flexible and sometimes more coordinated in their movements especially when they are trained to do so.

For example, kids who are running around for 30 minutes burn around 300 calories depending on their metabolic rate. This is a helpful idea especially that exercise is important for our kid’s physical bodies. Therefore, letting them run around is a part and should be a part of their experience as kids.

Another benefit is that it lets kids engage their mind in the game. It is not simply running around and looking for something but it also exercises the minds of the kids in thinking about the clues.

Scavenger hunting also allows kids to practice problem-solving in a tangible way. 

It helps to reinforce and act-out methods they have been taught by parents or teachers in a physical way, leading to increased retention of the lessons.

I remember the curiosity that I felt when I was younger. When the game master said that the theme would be “going to the city”, it made me think of all possible city related items I can see around the party venue. From cars, buildings, trains and noisy pedestrians- my thoughts were so fast together with the adrenaline of wanting to win.

Children are always curious. As they are developing physically, so as their mental capacities. By letting them learn to think outside the box, you let them learn about the world by themselves. 

In addition to that, as they are growing, they will be able to apply certain life skills they learn in these games to how they progress in life.

Another benefit of scavenger hunting is that it teaches kids the value of teamwork. Teamwork is an essential value that everyone must learn in life. Our kids will be able to learn it through a simple team scavenger hunt.

Even as parents, we still apply the value of teamwork, both in our personal lives such as to our partners, and family members, as well in our professional lives such as in our workplace where teamwork is an essential value to have.

As the times have changed, with the pandemic happening, our personal life as parents and our professional life are mushed up. The work from home set up gave us this inevitable mix that is sometimes good and sometimes not so much. 

As a solution, we need to give kids something to do especially when we are busy. Given that some of our kids are not attending physical school, they sometimes get fuzzy when they do not have our attention. So to give them something to do, scavenger hunting is a great idea. 

Indoor scavenger hunt 

The best idea, especially for safety purposes, is to play an indoor scavenger hunt. Generally, to play scavenger hunt is to prepare a theme and a list of items you wish your child should find. It would also be a good idea to put a time limit to the activity so they will be able to learn the art of time management. 

Toddlers are generally and more easily distracted and you should give them more time than when you play scavenger hunting with younger kids. So it is better if you prepare a prize or a treat for them so they will be able to get more motivated.

Indoor playing is also a great way for them to avoid screen time. Technology has been a helpful tool to all of mankind but it is also harmful to kids especially when they are used for too long. 

Studies have shown that kids born during the time of the rise of iPad, tablets, and iPhones are more prone to eyesight and attention problems than those who were born generations before.

A simple scavenger hunt is usually the go-to for parents. On some holidays, a scavenger hunt is usually played. For example, a common game at Easter is the egg hunt. This is where players search for concealed eggs. During Halloween scavenger hunts have been moderately replacing trick-or-treating

Things for your kids to look for could be inside your house. Some examples could be crayons, toy trains, little trinkets, legos, as well as their favourite stuffed toys. There are a lot of possibilities and the only limit that a parent must remember is the safety and enjoyment of the kids.

Google classroom

With the children adapting to online and virtual learning, gaming like scavenger hunting could also be held online. Google Classroom is one platform that can be used.

To those who are not as familiar, Google classroom is a free web service for schools that aims to simplify creating, distributing, and grading assignments. Its primary purpose is to streamline the process of sharing files between teachers and students. This allows a co-working space for both kids and their teachers.

Other than Google classroom, there are other platforms available online. Some even offer an interactive list in which the kids can update the list in real-time. So whether there is a race on who finishes first or the teacher just wants to track the kid’s progress, having an interactive tool is very helpful.

Teachers in this case will serve as the game master for the scavenger hunt. It is their duty to make the list and make the kids engage in the activity even though it is held through an online platform.

With the help and support of parents, kids playing virtual scavenger hunt will be a success. It is important that both school and parents cooperate in the development of the children.

Treasure hunt

Treasure hunt is another variation of the scavenger hunt. A treasure hunt tends to present a series of clues, each of which leads to a specific mystery location. In general, the scavenger hunt tends to offer a list of items that you need to go out and pick up.

So that would be the difference. A clue is presented every step of the way in a treasure hunt. This presents a lot of opportunities and challenges for our kids. 

So to kick start a treasure hunt game, parents must think of a theme for the treasure hunt. For example, the Pirates theme is a good idea for young kids to play with. They would have a general knowledge of things to associate pirates with. For example, treasures, seawater, eye patches and sharks.

Internet scavenger hunts invite participants to visit different websites to find clues and solve puzzles, sometimes for a prize. Participants can win prizes for correctly solving puzzles to win treasure hunts. The first internet hunt was developed in 1992 by Rick Gates to encourage people to explore the resources available online.

Photo scavenger hunt

One kind of scavenger hunt that is getting more popular in the past years is photo scavenger hunting. With the access of kids and children to a camera and a camera phone, this activity is a lot more fun.

A photo scavenger hunt is where a list of things is given to the kids. They have their own gadgets to take a photo of the things on the list. Professional photographers sometimes call this a photo walk. This is where they take photos of the things they pass by.

In the case of kids playing photo scavenger hunt, it would be interesting for them to learn how to take good photos. In addition to that, as young as toddlers, they would be able to recognize certain things in the list and their photography skills would be enhanced.

Printable scavenger hunt

If you do not have any idea what things your kids should look for, there are a lot of free printable scavenger hunt lists online. It is the most simple and most creative idea that would not need your brains to be pushed to its limits.


To end, scavenger hunting is a fun game both for kids and adults. There are a lot of opportunities for parents and children to play this game. Parents are encouraged to be as creative as possible to be able to maximize the goal of scavenger hunting for kids. Some benefits include that it’s a physical activity; it enhances problem-solving; and learning the value of teamwork.

There are a lot of variations for scavenger hunting that a parent should take note of for ideas. Some examples are

Even though all of these variations are available, the most important thing to keep in mind is that the kids enjoy the hunt.


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Todd VanDuzer

Co-Founder & CEO at Student-Tutor
Hello! My name is Todd. I help students design the life of their dreams by ensuring college, scholarship, and career success! I am a former tutor for seven years, $85,000 scholarship recipient, Huffington Post contributor, lead SAT & ACT course developer, host of a career exploration podcast for teens, and have worked with thousands of students and parents to ensure a brighter future for the next generation. I invite you to join my next webinar to learn how to save thousands + set your teenager up for college, scholarship, and career success!
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