Ready for something new and exciting to shake up your routine? Scavenger hunts are great family entertainment! Plus, they get kids off the couch to explore familiar surroundings with fresh eyes. Whether you have tykes or teens, we have tons of ideas that bring adventure to your home, backyard or neighborhood walk. Who doesn’t love hunting for surprises?
DIY SCAVENGER HUNTS
In an alphabet scavenger hunt, kids hunt for objects beginning with a designated letter of the alphabet. Help kids get familiar with how to find books at the library by searching your own bookshelf. Look for books by authors whose names begin with the same letter; for older kids, have them put your books in alphabetical order by last name.
Teach kids the five senses (touch, sight, hearing, smell and taste) before launching a sensory adventure. Take a walk and look for natural objects that are soft, rough, smooth, sticky, wet or fuzzy. Listen for birds rustling leaves, laughter, chimes, a lawnmower, etc. Lie on a blanket outside and observe cloud formations. Finish up with a fun blind taste test at home with things such as cheese, whipped cream, olives, fruit, spinach, Nutella, frozen berries and marshmallows.
Go on a flag hunt. Look for the different types of flags your neighbors display or count the number of American flags as you stroll neighborhood streets.
Hunt for animals. Visit Mission Trails Regional Park or your neighborhood park to look for living creatures such as birds, insects, ducks, lizards, dogs and butterflies.
Search for the colors of the rainbow while walking through your neighborhood. Paint the compartments of an egg carton different colors and collect objects of each color. Or have kids take photos of each color when they find it. Print the photos and make a rainbow scrapbook, categorizing everything by color.
SCAVENGER HUNT APPS
Monkey Spot (free on App Store) offers storytelling and adventure with scavenger hunts that can be done anywhere. Designed for kids ages 6 & up.
Hunt for stars with Night Sky, an award-winning app that’s free on App Store. Simply open the app to easily find stars and identify constellations. Fun when camping in the backyard or in the mountains.
Imaginative littles love hunting for pirate booty with the Treasure Hunt - Scavenger Hunt app, free on iOS. Designed for ages 4+, each adventure follows a treasure map to find items in the yard, on a walk, even in the fridge. A clever camera recognizes when kids locate each item allowing them to proceed and earn loot.
Seedling Scavenger Bingo app offers free ready-to-play games, with the option to pay to create your own bingo style scavenger hunt and take photos along the way. Explore categories such as the alphabet, road trip, and holidays. Available on iOS.
MORE SCAVENGER HUNT ACTIVITIES
The Idea Box Kids (on Etsy) offers a Scavenger Hunt box that contains 180 items kids can hunt for indoors or outdoors. Clues such as find something the “same size as a sandwich” and “something with an O on it” get kids thinking creatively. www.TheIdeaBoxKids.com
Travel Scavenger Hunt for Kids by University Games is a deck of cards that challenges kids to find roadside items while on a road trip. Learn more at www.universitygames.com/scavengerhunttravel.
Geocaching is a fun scavenger hunt for real treasure. Using GPS, track down boxes hidden in local spots— maybe in a park or along a trail. Log your findings, collect “treasure”, and leave behind a surprise for the next participants. Use the highly rated Cachly app to find hundreds of geocaches near you.
Cherie Gough is a local freelance writer who is always hunting for fun, outdoor adventures for her two kids.