If you are considering throwing a scavenger hunt party or creating a scavenger hunt just for a fun adventure for your kids on the weekend, you’ll want to take a few things into consideration beforehand. Here is an ultimate guide to the scavenger hunt that will help you decide which style of the hunt is best for you.
Whenever you’re hosting a hunt, you’ll first need to get a game plan together. A previous post has covered these bases really well, walking you through the who, what, when and how of your scavenger hunt planning. Other than the what, deciding which hunt is best for you and your kids, and the specifics of creating age-appropriate riddles for a scavenger hunt, everything else can be pretty straightforward and just needs a level of consideration so that you can overcome any hitches or bumps in the road before game day.
Know Your Audience
A crucial step in your pre-planning is to consider who your scavenger hunt participants will be. The age of your hunters must always be considered so that you create a fun hunt that is challenging while still being manageable. The goal, or win, must always be achievable. You want to ensure that frustration can be avoided and also that the hunt moves at a good enough pace so that you finish in the time you’ve designated.
Clearly, if the scavenger hunt will be for pre-readers, the clues will have to be pictorial or some alternate method so that they are able to complete the tasks. For older children, you’ll want to add an element of fun and excitement. If you create something too basic, a pre-teen or teenage participant can easily lose steam to finish the hunt. And, for adults, well you’ll have to amend the hunt accordingly and decide the overall purpose. It’s always important to know your audience and create a fun scavenger hunt event that captures their imaginations and creates a fun scenario.
The Early Learners
As mentioned before, early learners or young children who do not yet have a proficiency with reading will need an alternative method of delivering their scavenger hunt clues. One idea that works very well with young children is to create pictorial lists that offer a visual hint of what they are looking for. This style of hunt can be done in both the collectible list, where each child receives a list of the items they must find to complete the hunt, or in a staged hunt, where the children must first find a given object before advancing to their next visual clue that points them in the direction of the next object they must find.
For both styles of hunts, you can let the world be your playground.
Here are a few ideas for scavenger hunts for the little ones in your life.
Match a Pair: Take all the freshly clean socks from the laundry. Hang one of each pair along with a small ‘clothes line’ and hide its mate somewhere in a specific room of your house. Instruct your little one to take the first sock down and hunt around the room to find its specific match. Once they successfully find the first match, have them take the second one down and carry on. This won’t exactly help get the chores done any faster, but it will get your youngsters engaged in a stimulating event.
Find These Treasures: Using a list of items which are easy to create through Riddle Me software, head out into the great outdoors to find their list of items. As they find each item, they get to check it off the list. This treasure hunt can really happen in any environment: along the beach, in the forest, in a garden, at school, or even just in your house or backyard.
Color Spotter: On your next trip to the home improvement store, grab a couple extra paint sample strips for a color spotting adventure. Put the color squares into a list for your child, and then have them search your home to find an object of the same color. They can either return with an item or call out to you for verification if they’ve found the color in some wallpaper or stationary home object.
Kids Just Want to Have Fun
For kids who have reading proficiency, the primary factor in creating a memorable scavenger hunt experience is to make sure your hunt has challenging fun. The scavenger hunt clues can certainly be used to your advantage with this age group, but themes and other intriguing venues can also enhance their overall experience. Try out one of these fun hunts to engage this crowd.
The Fear Factor: Setting up a scavenger hunt in a graveyard offers plenty of interesting clue opportunities and a bit of the spooky factor that makes school age kids cringe and squeal. Send groups out with clues that lead them to specific headstones. Once they find the correct stone, they’ll spot their next clue. A group chaperone and some flashlights are probably a good extra step to take when the fear factor gets involved.
Nighttime Hunts: Along the same lines as the graveyard hunt, hunts that use the darkness of night can certainly add a bit of intrigue for kids. Most kids just like the opportunity to stay up past their bedtime, so adding in some challenging riddles for scavenger hunts are a great way to provide an added layer of fun. Use glow-in-the-dark props or camping scenarios to create fun nighttime adventures.
The Good Ol’ Treasure Map: A classic hunt for buried treasure can also be an exhilarating event for children. Set two groups out with a treasure map and a series of clues and riddles they must solve to see which group reaches the treasure first. Arm them with shovels and buckets and once they reach the final destination, have them actually dig to find a buried treasure.
Good, Clean Fun for Teens
Even teens can get engaged in scavenger hunt activities with ease. It might seem like a challenge to get them interested in anything at all, but creating a challenging hunt that uses things in their world can work to create a rewarding experience for this age group. Remember, just because teens get a bad rep, they do like to have a good time too.
Technology Reigns Supreme: Remember, when it comes to scavenger hunts, technology can be your friend. Teenagers seem to be addicted to screens, so weave their beloved technology right into the scavenger hunt. Create a list of subjects that they must find a solid video on YouTube about, like ‘how to make maple syrup’ or ‘the funniest cat video you’ve ever seen’. Set up a big outdoor hunt where they must solve riddles that lead them to certain landmarks around town. Once they find the landmark, have them take a selfie confirming that they have in fact matched the correct landmark to the correct clue. Alternatively, you can have them record various sounds or people’s responses to clues using their smartphones. There are plenty of clever ways to get their favorite technology devices to take center stage in their scavenger hunt.
Promote Community Activism: People are always trying to get teens to be more active in their communities. Set up a scavenger hunt that leads them on an information gathering adventure to some of the local outreach organizations in your community. Arm them with a list of questions that must be answered by the organizers as part of their clue solving operation. This way they can engage these organizations in a fun and friendly way and can see if they could play a larger volunteering role at some point in the future.
Don’t Forget the Adults
While scavenger hunts might not appear like the type of event that adults would find all that amusing, you should never underestimate the amount of fun that a scavenger hunt can bring to anyone of any age. Here are a few ideas to get adults in on the hunting action.
A Business Affair: If you run a local business and are looking for an interesting way to get some added promotion and fun, you can look to other businesses to create a scavenger hunt for would-be customers. Create riddles and clues that point them in the direction of the local businesses. Reward participants with a special discount or a freebie when they correctly solve the riddle that leads them to your business and encourages them to come back in the future.
Meet the Neighbors: Set up a list-style scavenger hunt that gets you and a group of your fellow neighbors to knock on some doors. Once you get a neighbor to answer their door, ask them if they have one of the items on your list to contribute to your successful completion of this friendly neighborhood scavenger hunt. Make sure you introduce yourself and get to know the people in your community (and always be safe and tell the participants to have 2-3 in their group and to never enter the home of a person you just met).
With a little bit of advanced planning, it doesn’t matter what your reading level or age is, there’s definitely a scavenger hunt out there that can give anyone an afternoon of challenge and fun. Sign up now to create a fun and adventurous scavenger hunt this summer!