Keep your kids entertained at home with these exciting home scavenger hunts. There are endless variations on this classic activitiy that kids love; and you never even have to leave your house to create a memorable adventure. Here's everything you need to know to elevate your indoor environment and outdoor space to accommodate thrilling endeavors that will keep kids engaged and having a blast.
The Classic Scavenger Hunt
Holding a scavenger hunt is a fun activity for kids of all ages to enjoy while at home. To start, create a list of items to find. Kids need to race around, finding each item listed, before an allotted amount of time runs out. The team or person with the most objects found before the clock runs out is the game-winner. Use a blank scavenger hunt template to create interesting and exciting hunts for your kids.
Home Scavenger Hunts to Do Outside
Get the kids outdoors and into the fresh air. When they begin to protest, saying that outside is boring and there is nothing to do, hand them one of these scavenger hunts to complete.
Get in the Garage Scavenger Hunt
It's windy and rainy, and the kids are sick of being cooped up indoors. The garage is a perfect place to hold a scavenger hunt because it is packed with items to find. This hunt can be done in any weather element since the garage offers a bit of shelter from the rain, snow, and wind. Include the following items on a garage scavenger hunt list:
- Jump rope or hula hoop
Because many of these items are large and heavy, tell kids to check the box on their list when they locate the item. There's no need to drag the actual objects out of storage to prove they were found.
All That Is Brown Scavenger Hunt
No matter the season, you are likely to see a few brown objects in the yard of your home. This hunt is perfect for younger children who are learning their colors and working to enhance their general vocabulary skills. See if your child can find the following brown items in the outdoors.
- A stick
- Brown animal (squirrel or bird)
- A piece of wood
- A mushroom
- Leaves or acorns (for fall hunt)
- A rock
- A car or truck
- A brown garbage can
If your child is particularly interested in this type of scavenger hunt, see if they can also find several green items. What about red? Or white?
Outdoor Toy Scavenger Hunt
How many times have you told your kids to go outside and play with all those toys you bought them? Probably at least three times today alone! If you really want the kids to play with their outside toys, make them find them first! Head outdoors and hide their sand trucks, squirt guns, scooters, rollerskates, chalk, basketballs, and any other toy you paid good money for that they don't actively play with. Write the objects you hide down on a list and tell the kids to get outside and find them.
Nature Scavenger Hunt
If you live in an area surrounded by nature, then you will have no problem creating a nature-based scavenger hunt for the kids. Use what you see in your yard to create a list of items that kids have to locate. This list can be simple and include things like sticks, rocks, a yellow flower, four different kinds of leaves, a bug, and something green. Older children can be given more challenging items that include riddles for the items or scientific names for objects like flowers and plants.
Winter Wonderland Scavenger Hunt
Once the weather turns cold and the snow begins to swirl, kids often retreat indoors. But consider making a winter wonderland scavenger hunt for the kids to try outside. Bundle them up in warm gear and send them into the crisp winter air to challenge them to find items they may have never looked for before. Search for:
- A cardinal
- A shovel
- Seed pods
- Animal tracks
- Pine needles
- A leftover lone leaf
Home Scavenger Hunts to Do Indoors
Just because the kids are stuck indoors doesn't mean they have to stare at screens and veg out all day long. Get them moving and active with a few scavenger hunts that will have them searching for items all throughout the house.
Shape-Based or Letter Based Hunts
If your younger children are learning to identify letters and shapes, use this knowledge base to create a developmentally appropriate scavenger hunt for them. Go on a shape hunt where kids find:
- Something in the shape of a triangle
- Something rectangular
- Three things that are round
- Something square
- An item that is shaped like a cube
- A heart-shaped object
You can also make a letter-inspired scavenger hunt where young children must roam the home looking for things that begin with a particular letter. A letter "A" hunt might include:
- An apple
- Aluminum foil
- Alarm clock
- Antibacterial soap
Name Based Scavenger Hunt
See if your children can race through the house, finding an object for each letter in their name. Consider adding middle names onto shorter names if that will even out the number of things kids have to find. An example of this might be:
- Marc - (Mittens, apple, robe, and can)
- Hazel - (Hamper, armchair, zebra print, earrings, lamp)
For an added challenge, ask kids to work together to do a letter hunt with their last name.
Color Scavenger Hunt
Little kids know their colors and can find things in the house that are red, blue, green, yellow, black, orange, and purple. Older kids can still enjoy a color scavenger hunt but include more complex blends and hues of colors like lime green, turquoise, lilac, emerald, and navy. With older children, you can also include prints such as florals, paisley, checkered or plaid, and polka-dotted patterns.
In the Kitchen Scavenger Hunt
If you have a long evening of cooking ahead of you but want to spend quality time with your kids, ask them to come into the kitchen and go on a scavenger hunt. Can they find:
- A tablespoon
- Mixing bowl
- Evaporated milk
Football Game Scavenger Hunt
So the big game is on, and the adults want to tune in, but the kids want attention too. Bring them into the fun with a football scavenger hunt. They will be glued to the television, trying to find the clues they need to complete their hunt, and you won't miss a single play or touchdown. Everyone wins. Include items to find like:
- A yellow flag
- A player wearing a jersey with a number 2 on it
- A fan dressed up silly
- The team mascot
- Field goal
- Someone in the stands eating a hot dog
- A team trainer
Holiday Inspired Scavenger Hunts
A holiday is a wonderful time to play family games. Set up a scavenger hunt for your gang for every season or major event. If you have family visiting for Christmas, Thanksgiving, or Easter, you will be able to keep the cousins busy with a few well-planned scavenger hunts.
Thanksgiving Day Scavenger Hunt
The family is gathered, the game is on, and the kids are bored. Thanksgiving Day is far too busy a day to have kids whining at your heels. Keep the little ones occupied with a Turkey Day scavenger hunt. Can they find:
- The Thanksgiving Day Parade
- A football game
- The word "thanks"
- A pie plate
- A gravy boat
- A pumpkin
- Pinecone or acorn
- Five leaves
- Something brown, something orange, and something yellow
- Something that starts with "T" (for Thanksgiving)
- Something that begins with "f" (for fall)
Halloween Scavenger Hunt
Halloween is a favorite holiday for children because the day is all about dressing up and sugar. Work a spooky hunt into your Halloween activities and see if the kids can find all the items on your list.
- A ghost
- A carved pumpkin
- Something black
- Something orange
- Something sweet
- The word "Halloween"
- A skull
- Spider web
- The words "trick-or-treat"
Easter Scavenger Hunt
Celebrate this special season with a scavenger hunt. Eggs and Easter baskets won't be the only things the kids go looking for this year.
- Bunny ears
- Five items in pastel shades
- An egg (plastic or real)
- A flower
- Something chocolate
- A baby chick decoration
- Fake grass
- A cross
Christmas Scavenger Hunt
Christmas is a time for togetherness. Enjoy one another's company with a fun holiday-inspired scavenger hunt. How many Christmas-related items can your family find?
- An ornament
- Christmas tree
- Wrapping paper
- A gingerbread man
- Candy cane or peppermint flavored item
- Christmas lights
- Santa decoration
- Something red
- Something white
Back to School Scavenger Hunt
Heading back to the classroom isn't a holiday per se, but it is a significant event in a child's life. Kids are sometimes excited about returning to school, but are also often apprehensive. Ease their nerves with a fun back-to-school scavenger hunt. See if they can locate these key items that will make their school year easier.
- Alarm clock
- Pencil and pen
- Lunch box
- A toy school bus
To make this activity even more fun for kids, purchase the items that the school has requested they bring with them in the new school year. Hide these items all over the house and then have kids find them all before packing them into their bags for their first day of school.
Varying a Scavenger Hunt
A scavenger hunt works for just about any family because you can tailor it to kids' interests, developmental levels, and the space you are playing in. Little kids can play in a small space, working to find objects they are familiar with, or older kids can run the property, hunting for complex or minuscule items that really make them think. Create scavenger hunts for different holidays, or center them around certain learning concepts. The sky truly is the limit when it comes to creative scavenger hunts for kids.