Scavenger Hunt Ideas for Kids

Two of my children have asked me recently for scavenger hunt ideas for kids because they both were going to arrange a scavenger hunt, or treasure hunt (I find it difficult to differentiate completely between these two kinds of games, so  bear with me if I mix them together sometimes).

Also I  took part in an outdoor scavenger hunt for kids aged 3-5 a week ago, made for a 4th year birthday, so on top of having arranged lots and lots of treasure hunts through the years, I have a lot of recent experience and so many ideas that the almost pop out of my head 🙂


Overview of Pages about Scavenger Hunt Ideas:


Ideas for Scavenger Hunt for Kids aged 3 to 7:

3 General Tips to make these preschool treasure hunts work well:

treasure chest for treasure hunts1st Tip: As a general rule I would say that you should start making treasure hunts and scavenger hunts for birthdays and other arrangements when the kids turn 4, but as there are often kids of different ages invited as guests, 3 year old kids can join in. Although then I would recommend one of their parents to take part in the game.

2nd Tip: Another general tip is: Let the scavenger hunt consist of as many posts as the birthday child is old, maybe one more, but not more than that.
We as adults often overestimate how much these children can cope with, because if we have them on their own, they can normally handle more than this. But when they are in a group and excited about finding the posts and in the end the treasure – well, these normally concentrated kids tend to focus totally on running fast to the next post even before they have really found out where it is – they forget everything about working together and wait for the whole group to go together – and most ot the children run out of concentration really fast.

3rd Tip: This is also the reason why I strongly advice that every group of children participating in the scavenger hunt is accompanied by an adult, who can help them wait till they actually know where to go next, help them stay together and take care of the not so fast children, and help the ones who get tired in the middle of it all.

drawing-of-post-for-treasure-hunt-for-kidsEasy Picture Scavenger Hunt for Preschool Kids:

Picture scavenger hunts are great for kids who haven’t learned to read yet, or not read really well, anyway.

I have made a lot of these treasure hunts in small appartments, in houses with gardens, and even in summer cottages, where the treasure hunt took place outdoor in the surroundings.
It’s so fun to arrange, and if you take into consideration the three tips above, it will be even more fun for the kids and their parents and a thing all the birthday guest will remember and talk about for a long time.

You make drawings of where to find the next post (or take photos, if you can’t draw, althoug the drawings certainly don’t have to be masterpieces, as long as they are recognizable).

Outdoor Scavenger Hunt Ideas for Preschool Kids:

older sister for live postYou can use drawings to mark the next post, but you can also use a treasur map to show the way to the treasure.

If you make it as a scavenger hunt the children shall collect certain items before they can claim the price, which will often be candy, or popcorn.

What I have done most of the times I have made an outdoor scavenger hunt has been using older brothers and sisters, or other parents, uncles and aunts to be “live” posts. They can give the kids a riddle, or a clue for the next post, and tell them a little story that goes with the bigger story, if there is one.
Using “live” posts really adds to the scavenger hunt.


Ideas for Scavenger Hunt for Kids aged 7 to 99:

When the children have learned to read and are so old that they can remember things like staying together, not leaving any member of the team behind and such things, even when they are aggitated and just want to jumb for the next post – then it really gets fun arranging treasure hunts and scavneger hunts for birthdays and other occations. And when the children are learning math you can bring that into the treasure hunt.

Take a look at the ideas below, they are described in details on the pages, and even if they don’t fit totally what you need, I am sure can either be altered to fit, or give you ideas of new stories.

Pirate Treasure Hunt

Birthday Scavenger Hunt

Secret Codes to Use for Treasure Hunts

Help the aliens to go back to their planet

Help, the future has been changed!

Detective entrance exam

The birthday candy has been stolen!


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