Have you exhausted your wheelhouse of ideas for entertaining your kids? Is screen-time getting out of hand? If you're on the hunt for ideas to beat cabin fever, consider sending your kids on a scavenger hunt.
The great thing about scavenger hunts is they require very little planning, almost no supplies, and many can be embarked upon in a moment's notice. They are perfect for a fun day of play or for filling an unanticipated void in your child's schedule. Whether they are stuck at home during quarantine, our just complaining of garden-variety boredom, these creative scavenger hunt ideas for kids will pique your child's curiosity, and get them thinking outside the box.
1. Color scavenger hunt
There are so many ways to conduct a rainbow scavenger hunt, and Inspiration Laboratories has them all. Preschoolers will love learning their colors while older kids will enjoy hunting for and organizing the rainbow of colors all around them. A fun project for afterwards is creating rainbow art with all the colors they've collected.
2. Sound hunt
If you're able to take a walk outside, this scavenger hunt by Buggy and Buddy is a way to heighten auditory awareness and get kids thinking about the noises around them. The best part is there are no treasures to clean out of their pockets at the end of this hunt.
3. Number hunt
A lesson in quantity and sorting, this hunt from Makeovers and Motherhood is made to be played outdoors by drawing chalk numbers on sidewalks, but could easily be translated to numbers written on construction paper taped to your living room floor. This scavenger hunt is fun for little ones and a great collaborative hunt where siblings can work together to get it accomplished.
4. Indoor scavenger hunt
It's possible that just about every scavenger hunt you're going to do will have to be indoors, but we love this one by Hey, Let's Make Stuff that turns typical household items into game-winning treasures.
5. Movement hunt
If your kid has some wiggles, this hunt by Inspired Treehouse is a great way to keep them moving with fun activities like balancing on their heads and crawling under something. It was created by a school-based occupational and physical therapist, and while it was made to be played outside, it works just as well indoors.
6. Gratitude hunt
At this point, everyone is getting kind of cranky and we could all use a reminder of what we have to be grateful for. A gratitude scavenger hunt, like this one from Simple Acres, has kids tasked with finding things that make them happy. It's a perfect project to take on during difficult times—and just might open the door to important conversations about being thankful.
7. Five senses scavenger hunt
Right now everyone is tired of experiencing the same surroundings day in and day out. It's been a pretty sensory-dulling experience. Let your kids give their five senses a jump start with this multi-sensory hunt by Primary Playground that asks to find things that are smooth, crunchy, sweet, sour, and more.
8. Zoom hunt
Bring a bit of excitement to your kids' video chats. This one by Craftson Sea is meant to be enjoyed with friends, and is such a cute way to get them reconnected with their buddies. It's also a perfect ice-breaker if your child is normally Zoom-adverse.
9. Site word scavenger hunt
It's pretty universal: Kids love Post-it notes. This site word hunt from This Reading Mamma, which uses Post-it notes to hide words around the house, is a fun way to sharpen site word recognition with early readers.
10. Treasure map hunt
This is another take on a site word hunt, but what we really like is that it's a way to turn your house into a treasure map. Kids love maps and this one will help them learn some map-reading skills as they hunt for hidden treasures or clues. You can hide letters around the house, or you can hide other items that you draw on a similar house map.
11. Mandala making
Add some mindfulness to your kid's play time. This nature mandala from Little Pine Learners is a wonderful way to acquaint kids with the relaxing qualities of mandala making after they hunt down their supplies in the backyard.
12. Photo scavenger hunt
This hunt by Mother's Niche is a cute combination of I Spy and a neighborhood scavenger hunt. We love that you can introduce kids to the observation-building activity of a photo safari and teach them some photography skills while they are are enjoying a neighborhood walk.
13. Football hunt
Does your kid miss playing sports with their friends? Cue up a game from seasons' past and let them hunt for the touchdown, interference, and more with this cute printable from Celebrate Every Day with Me as they watch.
14. Drawing hunt
Your little artists will love this hunt by Buggy and Buddy that gets them sketching flowers and trees and items blowing in the breeze.
15. Shape hunt
Get some pre-math skills going with this shape-finding treasure hunt. Kids will love looking for the hidden shapes in things with this printable. We love any game that gets kids analyzing the world in which they live.
16. Reading scavenger hunt
If you have a bookworm at home—or just wish you did—this is a fun motivator to get through their summer reading list in record time. This free printable reading scavenger hunt map from Modern Parents Messy Kids will keep your children’s heads in books and might inspire a love of reading that will last even after social distancing is over.
17. Alphabet hunt
The creative momma over at Many Little Joys developed this alphabet scavenger hunt for a visit to a museum, but it's just as fun at home or on a neighborhood walk.
18. Learn-to-write hunt
If you liked the last scavenger hunt but are looking for something a little bit more challenging for kids learning to write, we love this idea from How We Learn. Have kids pick a random word and then find, sound out, and write items from around the house that start with the same letter.
19. Rhyming riddle scavenger hunt
Cryptic riddles will keep kids on their toes! This free printable from Celebrate Every Day with Me sends kids on a hunt where they need to solve the secret meaning of the rhymes to find common household items.
20. Flashlight hunt
It's the end of the day and you never got around to having the fun scavenger hunt you promised your kids. Have no fear: This hunt by Life is Sweeter By Design is meant to be done at night with a flashlight. It's perfect for backyard campouts or just getting outside after a hot day spent indoors beating the heat.
21. Fairy princess hunt
Glitter and tiaras are optional for this princess-inspired scavenger hunt. What makes this one nice is that the princess items, like a mirror or flower, are probably already available in your home.
22. Leaf hunt
There are so many leaf scavenger hunts out there, but this one is nice because it's works for any region. Get your little botanist a magnifying glass so they can put their sense of observation to work on this nature-loving leaf hunt created by a science and art teacher. It's perfect for hikes or walks around the neighborhood.