Scavenger hunts are so much fun and really do not take much preparation. Sure, you can go online and find pre-made lists, but I tend to just make up lists based on the age of the children and the environment we are in (as in backyard or in the house, at school or out in the community somewhere).
If your children are young, do not make them complicated! Pick 5 (or up to 10) easy things they can find. You can make a list, or draw the pictures, or let them find something and come back to you for the next thing.
FOR YOUNGER CHILDREN
Here are some examples of things I will have younger children find, and I will list them under the “inside” and “outside” categories. Usually I make the scavenger hunts for younger children things they can actually pick up and put in a bag, rather than just something to check off. But you can do both.
- A red block (or Lego brick)
- A cup
- 3 socks
- A picture of the family
- A green crayon
- Something that is smooth
I like to use colors and numbers because I like to reinforce these concepts (yes, this is a great teaching tool). But as you can see, it really is easy to put a list together.
- A smooth leaf
- A pinecone
- A stick
- 4 pieces of grass
- A really tall tree
Similarly you can go for a walk and have a list of letters and numbers they can find on mail boxes, car license plates, etc.
As you can see, it really is easy to put a list together.
FOR OLDER CHILDREN
For older kids you can make it more challenging. Up the stakes and have them measure, count, check off. It doesn’t have to just be collecting things. Use a phone and have them take photos. You will find that the teacher in me comes out with older kids. I like to reinforce learning – without the kids realizing this. You can do a digital hunt – getting them to find information online, but I like to get outside when I can. Make your clues into riddles. This is an extra level of challenge! It does a bit more brain work from you but it can be worth it.
Here are some simple riddle clues I quickly came up with from just looking around outside:
I live in the ground, I wiggle and squirm.
Can you find me? I am a _________
You see me up high or there on the ground
I can be quite prickly and my shape isn’t round. I am a __________
It can hurt if I’m in your shoe or sock
I can be big or small. I am a ________
Bees like me. You can see me all over.
I’m not a flower per se. I am __________
I gather up food from ground or plant
Marching in line. I am an _________
Here are some examples of things they can find:
- A stick that is 4 inches long
- A tree with a trunk that has a circumference over 15 inches
- Someone wearing glasses
- A child riding a bike
- A leaf that has more than 2 colors
- A flower
You can also make chore scavenger hunts (always good for cleaning up), people hunts (things you can see on people), shopping hunts. It really is up to you. These are good for all ages. You just make the list according to the age. I do these all the time while shopping with the girls or when out on walks.
Don’t forget to provide a pen or marker to check off the list and a bag if they are collecting things. If you have a larger group of kids, put them into teams so they have to work together (I have been known to be a little mean (Ha) and have the team all connected together at their wrists by string so they can’t just separate and each person just run and find something. This means teamwork!!) Don’t forget prizes if you want to have them.
THE SKY’S THE LIMIT
Honestly, the sky’s the limit when it comes to making a list. Look around you. Write down things you see. Here is a good list of ideas. But, be inventive. Just don’t forget to have fun!