Scavenger hunts are an activity that is enjoyed by not only children of all ages but adults as well. While we know there is a certain adrenaline rush that comes with scavenger hunts, did you know that there are a number of different benefits of the active? Especially for the developing child. So before we look at a few scavenger hunt ideas for kids, let’s take a few minutes to talk about all the good these activities do.
Why Are Scavenger Hunts Good for Children?
Besides giving kids something to do to keep them busy and off the iPad, scavenger hunts have a number of different health and development benefits as well, and no, we aren’t talking about the benefit of some quiet time for you while they are off on the hunt, though that is a tantalizing perk of its own!
Besides getting kids up and moving, there are a number of vital developmental benefits to these activities, a few of which we have listed below.
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This is one of the most obvious benefits of having kids to regular scavenger hunts, simply for the exercise. These hunts make kids not only get up but get moving and keep them on the go until they have found every last item on their list. Many times, they get so excited to move onto the next clue or the next item, you’ll see the little ones running from point A to point B just to try and beat their competition.
Building teamwork skills is another big benefit of having regular scavenger hunts. These sorts of activities help to not only bring a group of kids together but to have them commit to the same goal. It also teaches children that everyone has their own unique skill sets to bring to the table. Some may be better at leading the team while others may be a more creative thinker, which allows them to decipher clues easier.
Stimulates the Mind
Scavenger hunts are a great way to stimulate young minds. As children get older, providing clues in the form of riddles will help them think more creatively while also putting their knowledge of different topics to work.
Enables the Exploration of Their World
As your child grows, they will need a healthy way of exploring the world around them, and scavenger hunts are a perfect way to do it. Even young children can participate in basic hunts by learning to look for colors or shapes in the world around them, and as they age, they can start hunting for more complex items.
10 Scavenger Hunt Ideas for Kids
When it comes to fun scavenger hunt ideas for kids, the sky truly is the limit!
Depending on the age of the child and their friends or siblings, you can do any number of different ideas. As mentioned earlier, younger kids can begin by looking for shapes or colors, while older kids can start looking for more specific items.
Below, we have compiled a short list of scavenger hunt ideas for kids that are sure to be a big hit for children of all ages.
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1. Dollar Store Scavenger Hunt
A dollar store scavenger hunt is truly a wonderful idea for children of a little more advanced age unless of course, you plan to work through the scavenger hunt with the younger ones. Put together a list of riddles that will lead your kids to a specific item in the store, and as they find it, have them put it in their shopping basket.
Example: If you color, you’ll need these. Finding them will be a breeze! Answer: Crayons/Markers/Colored Pencils
2. Grocery Store Scavenger Hunt
Much like the dollar store scavenger hunt, a grocery store scavenger hunt is a great way to get your older kids more interested in the weekly shopping trip. These are better suited for older children because you can present them with more specific riddles and tasks.
Example: Something with water as the first ingredient
Example: Something that is listed as 1 pound (1 lb)
3. Nature Scavenger Hunt
Nature scavenger hunts are a great idea for children of almost all ages, not only because they can be tailored to the child’s age and overall knowledge, but because it helps them to get out and discover different things in the world.
Example for a Younger Child: Something colorful
Example for an Older Child: An Animal Hole
4. Spelling Bee Scavenger Hunt
A great way to practice spelling with your child is to turn it into a game. Try taking plastic Easter eggs, or something of a similar nature, and hide individual letters in them. Have your child go on a treasure hunt for the eggs, and as they find them, see what words they can spell along the way.
This is a scavenger hunt aimed at older kids but can be tailored to younger kids as well. Instead of having them spell out words, have them do letter recognition and have them give you a word that the letter starts with.
5. Alphabet Scavenger Hunt
Fun with letters doesn’t have to be only for the older kids, oh no. Instead of hiding letters around the house, give your child a checklist with all the letters of the alphabet. As they find things around the house, have them fill in which letter that item starts with.
Example: A – Apple, B – Bathtub, C - Cat
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6. Zoo Scavenger Hunt
Is your family heading to the zoo? Instead of going just to look at the animals, why not turn it into a fun, teachable moment between you and your child?
Have them either look for animals that begin with certain letters or even create a list of different riddles and tasks for them to “find” throughout the day.
Example: Baby Animal, Endangered Animal, Animal Taller Than You
7. Treasure Hunt
Turn a scavenger hunt into a treasure hunt and have the kids looking for special prizes at each stop.
This is a great way to help motivate your child into participating to the fullest extent. Well, because who isn’t motivated by a little treasure?
For the little ones, why not try a rainbow treasure hunt to help them learn their colors? Print out a sheet of colors and have them find different items that match those colors. The items can be individual treasures found along the scavenger hunt, or they can be led to a final treasure after they have found all the pieces of the puzzle.
8. A Photo Scavenger Hunt
For the older kids, why not take them on a photo scavenger hunt? Instead of simply finding things, have them find and get photo proof of different things or of them doing certain things. This is a great way to get the kids out of their comfort zone and learning about the environment around them.
Example: Make Yourself Look Really Small
Example: Strike a Pose
Example: Capture Your Reflection/Shadow in an Unusual Place
This is an ideal scavenger hunt to involve the entire family in, and never let children wander away from you during the game such as this.
9. Back to School Scavenger Hunt
While back to school season may be a parent’s top holiday of sorts, many children despise the idea. So why not make a game out of back to school shopping? This scavenger hunt can be done with children of all ages and can be presented with simply photos of items the children need to find, or more advanced riddles that they need to crack.
Example for Younger Kids: Photo of folders, a calculator, watercolors, a backpack
Example for Older Kids: Rulers for measuring a line super straight – Quick, it might be by the place you last ate!
10. Scavenger Hunt Around the House
Need to occupy the kiddos on a rainy day? A simple “find items around the house” scavenger hunt can be a simple cure to boredom.
For younger kids, simply supplying them with a checklist of items is enough, but the older kids may need something more challenging, so maybe try some riddles that they will have to decipher.
Example for Younger Kids: Find something soft, find something smelly
Example for Older Kids: Finding the first clue will be a treat! Look for it where you get something to eat!
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Include the Whole Family
While many of these scavenger hunt ideas for kids seem, well, rather childish, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get the entire family involved!
Depending on where the location of the scavenger hunt will be, it is quite simple to set up a hunt that the entire family can take part in.
That being said, put your thinking cap on and get right to it, and make sure the clues aren’t too hard, so the kids don’t quit!