After-School Activities Keeping Kids Active, Healthy + Engaged Play/Outdoor

Scavenger Hunts for Kids: Fun Outdoor & Indoor Ideas

Whether you’re looking for kids’ birthday party ideas or ways to keep your crew entertained on a rainy day, our ideas for scavenger hunts for kids are here to help! Set up one of these scavenger hunts, and your kiddos will happily spend hours tracking down their treasures.

Scavenger hunts offer great entertainment for your children, but they’re more than just an activity to pass the time. These scavenger hunts encourage your kids to put down their game consoles and tablets and engage with the world around them. After all, to find their treasures, they must move around, search high and low, and more intentionally interact with their surroundings. 

Not sure where to start? Check out our list of the best indoor and outdoor scavenger hunts for kids below for some inspiration, and let the fun begin!

Indoor Scavenger Hunts for Kids

When bad weather prevents your little ones from playing outside, it’s always a good idea to have some free kids’ activities on hand to help keep boredom at bay. And that’s where these indoor scavenger hunt ideas can come into play! 

Around the House Hunt

This scavenger hunt idea for kids is possibly the easiest one for you to plan because it doesn’t involve you having to go around and hide anything in advance. Simply write up a list of items your kids can search for around the house. But instead of including specific items, you can choose more abstract categories that allow your little ones to get creative and use their imaginations. For example, instead of adding “hairbrush” to the list, you could say “something hairy,” in which case your kids might grab a doll, fuzzy stuffed animal, or even the family dog!

Color Scavenger Hunt

If you have a toddler learning their colors, create a color-themed scavenger hunt in which they search for items that match the colors you provide them. For this one, use markers or crayons to create blobs of different colors on a piece of paper, or if you want to get fancy, grab some paint swatches from your local home improvement store and tape them to the paper. So, if there’s a green spot on the paper, you can encourage your little one to find something in the room that matches that shade, like an apple or frog figurine, and if there’s a red spot, they’ll need to search for something like a cherry lollipop or fire truck toy. 

Five Senses Scavenger Hunt

This one is another indoor scavenger hunt for kids that doesn’t require much prep on your end. Simply write the five senses on paper and invite your kiddos to find three things that fall into each category. For example, for the sense of smell, they’ll need to search for three items that appeal to their sense of smell, such as a candle, a bar of soap, and a tube of toothpaste. Or, for the sense of sound, they may search for a squeaky dog toy, a baby doll that talks, and an alarm clock. 

Holiday-Themed Scavenger Hunt

Now, if it’s sometime around a holiday, design a themed scavenger hunt that urges your kids to find items associated with the celebration. For instance, if you decorate your home for Christmas, the list of items could include something with Santa Claus on it, something with bells, something red and white, and something with reindeer. Or, if it’s near Valentine’s Day, you might add items like something heart-shaped, something pink, and something related to love. 

Outdoor Scavenger Hunts for Kids

When your kids are tired of being cooped up inside all day, it’s time to take the fun outdoors. The following outdoor scavenger hunts for kids are perfect for getting your children out in nature and exploring new areas in your community. 

Nature Scavenger Hunts

Nature has so much beauty—it’s just a matter of finding it! That’s why we love outdoor scavenger hunts for kids; they entice your kids to search for all of nature’s wonders, from creeping caterpillars to blooming flowers. To create this scavenger hunt, list things in nature your kids can search for while exploring the backyard, hiking on a trail, or playing at the park. Just be sure to add things that make them search look high and low, from the birds in the sky to the flowers in the grass. 

Neighborhood Scavenger Hunts

Want to get all the neighborhood kids involved? Team up with the parents on your block to make a scavenger hunt of epic proportions. For this outdoor scavenger hunt for kids, hide trinkets and treasures all around your front yards, backyards, and porches for your children to track down and then make a legend with pictures of all the missing items. For example, you might hide an action figure in a flower pot, a basketball in the bushes, and a Barbie doll in the mailbox! 

Letter Scavenger Hunts

Are your kiddos working on learning the alphabet and piecing letters together to form words? This scavenger hunt is perfect for them! Design a scavenger hunt in which they need to find things outside that match the letters on their list. So, if you place the letter A on their list, they could find an acorn, and then, they might spot a butterfly or beetle if the letter B is on it, and so on. 

Geocache Hunts

If you’re trying to entertain preteens or teens, look into geocache adventures. Geocaching refers to organized treasure hunts, in which you use GPS to track down geocaches, or hidden containers, using location coordinates. With over three million geocaches placed in 190 countries, there’s a good chance there is hidden treasure near your home or at your next family vacation destination! Download the Geocaching app to find one in your area. 

Organized Scavenger Hunts

Want to take it up a notch? See if your local community hosts organized scavenger hunts for kids and their families. For example, Puzzling Adventures™ hosts self-guided city tours where you solve puzzles and answer questions to unlock the instructions, leading you to your next destination. But that’s not all; this scavenger hunt is also a race, so you and your kiddos need to be the first to cross the finish line to win!