Stay at Home Family Fun: Scavenger Hunts

By Jan Pierce

Photo by Alexander Dummer on Unsplash

Most of us have spent a great deal of time in our homes during the pandemic. We long for the days when we can roam our neighborhoods and take part in normal social activities, but unfortunately we are nowhere near that point.

Families need diversions to keep the days fresh and fun, like a family scavenger hunt. About half of the fun of doing a scavenger hunt is the hype you create to go along with it. Once you determine the kind of hunt you’ll do, figure out the best scenario for your group: Will you work individually, in pairs, as a whole-family free-for-all? 

Then find ways to engage the kids. Maybe you’ll decide on an outdoor nature hunt and you can ask the kids to help brainstorm the items to be hunted. Or select one child to be your helper and keep the others in the dark about the hunt to come. You can then create multiple hunts and rotate through helpers if you have more than one child. 

For younger children, think of ways to use picture clues or have them work with an older partner. Be sure to think of a big pay-off for both participants and winners. The reward might be control of the remote control on the television for an evening, a movie pick, or a particular favorite meal/treat.

Now it’s time to decide on the type of scavenger hunt you want to do. Kids love to hunt for treasure, and so the more you can make the hunt seem like a noble quest, the better. You may even spring for costumes or other props to make the hunt more legit.

Here are some great choices:

  • Muffin tins with pictures of the items to be found in each one. Fill the tins to win.
  • Hunt for things that are certain colors, shapes, or patterns. For example: “Find something red. Find three things that are round, or find something with polka dots.” Tech savvy kids can take screenshots, or you can have hunters draw their findings.
  • Create a bingo-like card with items to be found in the neighborhood. Hunters can X off their findings. You might want to play black-out.
  • Compete with other households in a set amount of time. Gather on a Zoom call to report your successes.
  • Create a grid on a piece of paper, creating ten or twelve spaces. Use this as the place for hunters to draw their findings.
  • Use the letters of the alphabet. “Today’s hunt is finding things that begin with vowels” or “Today we’re finding things that begin with the letter ‘S.’”
  • Make a list of things around the house, such as salt and pepper shakers, stuffed animals, and whatever you don’t mind being moved around the house in a mad hunt.
  • Go on a hunt for items found in books. You may include certain characters, settings, or objects.
  • Hunt for things each family member is thankful for. Create a list with a fill in the blank format. I’m thankful for _____(a food item). The hunters can draw a picture of the item or you might use phones to take selfies of each hunter with their item.
  • Hunt for Something that rhymes with ____.  Draw it. Create fifteen or twenty clues and set a timer. Hunters may not be able to find all of these.
  • Spend a little time online searching for free printables of scavenger hunt games. You’ll find some good ones at Buggy and Buddy. Search printables.

Scavenger hunts are great fun for all the family. Remember to get into the spirit of the fun with good clues and prizes.