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How to Set Up a Fun Scavenger Hunt for All Age Groups

    Did you know that scavenger hunts have been around since the 1930s? This fun activity has stood the test of time and is still a popular pastime today.

    They’re a great way to make any event more entertaining for people of all ages. In fact, scavenger hunts can be an event on their own. 

    While scavenger hunts are ideal for keeping you busy, they also help family and friends build unforgettable memories. They may be fun, but they can also help you exercise and keep healthy. The best part is that scavenger hunts are adaptable – you can do them indoors, outdoors, or even online. 

    Keep reading to find out how you can set up an amazing scavenger hunt!  

    Scavenger Hunt Beginability Meter

    How to Create a Scavenger Hunt

    Creating a scavenger hunt of your own takes some thought and planning, but the results make all the hard work pay off. Seeing the joyful look on everyone’s faces is the best reward you an have.

    So, how do you create an amazing and memorable scavenger hunt? Follow these steps to find out.


    The first step is to plan your scavenger hunt. You need to consider where, when and how you will hold it. There are a few different ways that you can hold it, including in-person and virtually.

    Both can be a lot of fun, but you’ll need to consider who you will want to be there and if they can be there in person. It can also be a great pastime for when you can’t get together in person with friends or family.

    With an idea of how you’ll hold the scavenger hunt and a list of people that you will invite, you’ll need to pick a time that works for everybody. Don’t forget that you will need to have enough time to create the scavenger hunt and then consider a time where everyone can join.

    Lastly, consider the type of scavenger hunt that you’ll hold. Consider everyone’s interests and try to find a good compromise. You want to make sure that it’s fun for everyone!

    With planning out of the way, it’s time to prepare.


    Preparation for your scavenger hunt is crucial to your success. You’ll need to get ready with clues, item ideas, and a theme.

    Your theme will be very helpful when brainstorming the clues and items that the participants will need to find. Think about items that are important to that theme. To help you come up with clues for the items, think about rhymes and play on words. This can help you make them interesting and challenging.

    Set Up the Scavenger Hunt

    You’ve finished the preparation and the day is finally here. Now, you need to set up your scavenger hunt before you can hold it.

    Your set up process may differ depending on the type of scavenger hunt that you’re holding. An in-person scavenger hunt is going to require much more set up than a virtual one.

    If you’re holding it in person, start by gathering all the items that you need and hiding them. Then, gather up all your clues and hide those as well. Give yourself enough time to set this up before your guests arrive.

    The time that you need to set everything up will depend on the size of your scavenger hunt. Consider having some others to help you with the set up if needed.

    If you’re holding the scavenger hunt virtually, you may need considerably less time. Make sure that you have all the resources, clues and tools needed for your virtual scavenger hunt before the time.

    Get Started

    With the preparation and set up complete, it’s time to have an amazing scavenger hunt! Make sure that you’re around and on hand to help with questions or concerns for your participants.

    Keep an eye on what is happening and encourage friendly competition. Keep your participants engaged and ensure that they are having fun!

    Announce the Winner

    Every scavenger hunt has a winner, and once the hunt is over, its time to announce who has won to everyone. You may consider giving prizes or or awards to those who participated. Here are some ideas:

    Trophies or ribbons – Give your participants a trophy if they are the winner of your scavenger hunt. Or, consider giving other fun titles like “Best Clue Decipherer” or “Most Enthusiastic Scavenger Hunter.”

    Gift Cards – You can give out gift cards in tiers to your winners. The first place winner can get a $50 gift card, the second place winner can get a $25 gift card and third can get a $10 gift card.

    Grey map with magnifying glass

    What Makes A Good Scavenger Hunt? 

    An ideal scavenger hunt begins with selecting a location where participants ‘hunt’ for hidden objects. The primary idea is to develop a list of items that participants need to search for or photograph. Sometimes, these items may be straightforward, such as finding a pen, book, or certain animal. 

    Another idea would be to make the hunt more challenging, especially for older scavengers. This may entail giving them instructions for things to find in the form of clues for them to decode. For instance, people may need to locate “an item that changes color,” which may be a code for a leaf in the fall.

    Here are some great tips to keep in mind when setting up your ideal scavenger hunt:

    1. Keep items hidden (optional) – You can instruct those taking part to search for already existing objects, which means there is no need for an initial setup.
    2. Create and distribute a list of things people should locate – Specify if they should bring back the items, take a photo, or check them off their list.
    3. Specify the search area – Make sure your hunters know where the search area is.
    4. Tell participants how long it should take to find the items – Give them a clear idea of how difficult it is and if they’re on the right track.
    5. The person or team that locates the most objects first wins – Simple as that!

    How Long Should a Scavenger Hunt Be?

    The beauty of a scavenger hunt is that you can choose how long you’d like it to be.

    For an in-person scavenger hunt, we would recommend around 1 hour. This is a good benchmark to allow everyone enough time to find all the items and have sufficient time to search.

    However, don’t be afraid to amend the time once you start. Your participants may need more time depending on how challenging you’ve made it!

    For a virtual scavenger hunt, you can take it task by task. You can give everyone 5 minutes to do each task. Or, if you’d prefer to conduct it more traditionally with a list, you can give a set time limit that is longer to find it all.

    The former would be more interactive for your participants which is encouraged when it comes to an online scavenger hunt, however.

    Virtual scavenger hunt

    What Are the Different Types of Scavenger Hunts? 

    Before you can set up a scavenger hunt, you need to know the different types. While these are some standard options, you can modify or get creative with them as well.

    Scavenger hunts are supposed to be fun, so make sure to tailor them for your audience!

    Nature Scavenger Hunts

    As the name suggests, nature scavenger hunts are outdoor activities. They involve trying to locate objects or using provided hints to find hidden objects. These types of scavenger hunts are ideal for all age groups. The best part is that you can design a nature scavenger hunt in any form you like. Some activities participants may indulge in include: 

    • Find sticks and leaves for use in a nature craft
    • Search for animals like mice, beavers, dogs, squirrels, and more
    • Locate and photograph plants or flowers
    • Hunt for a variety of birds, including their nests

    Neighborhood Scavenger Hunts

    This could be a great way to interact with some neighbors, especially if you’re new to the neighborhood. When designing a neighborhood scavenger hunt, it’s crucial to consider safety. It would be best if you also met those participating in the hunt in advance to notify them about your plan. Another vital aspect to consider is the need for enough adult supervision if children are involved in the scavenger hunt.

    One variation is instructing participants to go door-to-door. They will let the neighbor they visit know they are on a scavenger hunt. Participants will then ask the neighbor for a specific item from their list and request to photograph it. Examples of such items include pens, toothbrushes, cups, and more! 

    Other variations include:

    • Searching and locating hidden objects in the neighborhood
    • Locating particular landmarks 
    • Using hidden hints to locate a prize

    Virtual Scavenger Hunts

    These are usually online games where participants rush to locate different objects or achieve specific milestones before time elapses. Virtual scavenger hunts utilize objects in the participants’ environment. This is why they are perfect for remote participants who can’t attend an in-person scavenger hunt.

    For instance, participants may need to retrieve their favorite cup or photograph a specific item to earn points. The objective of these games is to enjoy and encourage players’ engagement. 

    The following are some quick tips on virtual event activities for your treasure hunt: 

    1. Decide where you’ll be hosting the virtual scavenger hunt. It may be on your event website or a third-party service dedicated to running virtual scavenger hunts. 
    2. Choose a mission list with tasks for participants to complete. Tasks may include photo or video challenges or trivia questions they may need to answer.
    3. Decide whether the scavenger hunt will entail playing live games. The fastest answer or photo submission should be the winner. 
    4. Specify exactly when the scavenger hunt will end so participants can have their answers ready on time.
    5. Finally, tally the scores and announce the winners.

    A Virtual Scavenger Hunt with a Twist

    Another fun way to conduct a virtual scavenger hunt is to conduct it completely online. Instead of having your participants find things in real life, you can have them search online.

    A fun way to do this is to build a website and hide elements for your participants to find. Another great way to do this is to use an app or website that has already done this for you.

    One last thing to consider is to create a scavenger hunt on Google Maps. You can have prompts such as “find a yellow car on the map.” The first person to find a yellow car on Google Maps gets the point!

    Themed Scavenger Hunts

    Does your friend group share a common interest? You could create a themed scavenger hunt.

    This could be centered around a video game, a musician, a sports team or a hobby. The possibilities are endless, and you can tailor this to fit your niche interests and make it that much more fun.

    Here are some ideas of themed scavenger hunt ideas to consider:

    • Your favorite musician (Find a certain album or poster)
    • Your favorite game (Find a figurine)
    • Your favorite sports team (Find a jersey)
    • Knitting (Find orange yarn)
    • Music (Find a flute)
    • Gardening (Find a glove)
    Brown map

    Begin Your Scavenger Hunt in Style

    Scavenger hunts are a great way to make any event more entertaining for people of all ages. You need to realize that an ideal scavenger hunt begins with choosing a location where participants ‘hunt’ for hidden objects. The hunt should be entertaining but, at the same time, challenging. 

    Some of the different scavenger hunts you may engage in are nature, neighborhood, and virtual scavenger hunts. All you need to do is choose the one that suits you more, and you are ready to go! 

    Do you want to begin your scavenger hunt today? Let us know in the comments! Don’t forget to check out the beginability of other fun activities on our blog!

    Will you give what you learned in this article a try?

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