Scavenger hunts are fun! They add something extra to ordinary events and make them memorable.

They’re easy to create and can be tailored to any theme, any age, any place. Scavenger hunts are usually thought of for parties or other large groups, but they’re just as fun for small families or even individual children.

A scavenger hunt adds an element of competition, urgency and excitement to any everyday event and makes it something special. 

Scavenger hunts start with a list of things to find (or do) and a time limit. There is no set path as players scavenge around and search for all of the items on the list. The player or team who finds everything on the list first or finds the most items before the time is up wins.

You Will Need

  • Scavenger hunt list (create your own using the ideas below)
  • Pen or pencil
  • Clipboard (optional)
  • Bag to collect items
  • Prize for the winning team/person

Preparation Time

  • Approximately 15-20 minutes to brainstorm and create your own list, print it and gather materials
  • Add 10-15 minutes if you need to “plant” some items for the players to find

Activity Time

  • Varies, but they’re usually over in 15 minutes


  • Varies

Ideas for your Scavenger Hunt

  • Find things beginning with each letter of the alphabet
  • Find things that are hard, soft, cold, warm, smooth, rough, beautiful, ugly, wet, dry, colourful, plain, heavy,  light, thick, thin and/or prickly
  • Find something - red, yellow, pink, green, orange, purple, blue, black, brown and white
  • Find things that are different shades of the same colour
  • Find things in the theme of numbers. eg. 1 flower, 2 leaves, 3 sticks, 4 rocks, 5 blades of grass, etc

Choose Teams

  • Divide the group into two teams (If you’ve only got one player, that’s fine. He or she can go on a solo scavenger hunt and have just as much fun).
  • If you’re planning a scavenger hunt for a birthday party or other large group, assign teams as evenly as possible. Avoid placing all of the big kids or more dominant kids on one team and all the little or more timid kids on another.

Explain the Rules

  • Look at your scavenger hunt list before gathering the kids to play. Think about rules you want them to follow during the hunt and be sure to explain the rules before you hand out the lists to your teams.
  • Once you hand out the lists, you’ll lose their attention, so be sure to run through the rules first.
  • Set boundaries. Establish clear areas and make sure all players understand them before you start. Where are the start and finish lines? What are the physical boundaries for the hunt? By what time must players return to the finish line?
  • Make sure everyone can read and understand what is on the list. Show examples or give clear descriptions of each item.
  • Define how to “collect” items on the list. Are players supposed to gather the items and bring them to the finish line, take a photo or video, obtain someone’s signature or initials or just check items off the list once they’ve been found?
  • Establish rules for hunting. Can items be gathered in any order or do players need to stick to the order on the list? Is it okay to collect multiple items from a single place, or is each location limited to one? Can the team split up, or do they need to stay together and collect everything as a group?
  • Explain how the lists will be confirmed at the end of the hunt. Who will check the lists and determine a winner? Is there anything that would disqualify an item?

But most all ensure that they have fun!