Who doesn’t love a good scavenger hunt? These free activities will keep kids busy at home, on the road, or in the classroom. Teachers: Try assigning them as a fun homework alternative for families during spring break or for an unexpected snow day. They’re also awesome for sub folders and time fillers at the end of the day. This big roundup of scavenger hunt ideas works as well in kindergarten as it does with high school kids!
1. Start with ABC
Scavenger hunts like this one work for kids of any age and can be used in a bunch of different ways. Try having kids find items only in their room, around the backyard, or in their favorite book.
Learn more: The Many Little Joys
2. Move on to 123
Looking for scavenger hunt ideas that incorporate counting? Try to find items that come in a set of each number from 1 to 10. For instance, you might spot eight pencils in a jar or four drawers in the filing cabinet. For each one, have kids draw a picture of their find.
Learn more: Emma Owl
3. Scan magazines for place value
Pull out a stack of old magazines or newspapers and arm kids with scissors and paste. Then send them on a search to find numbers that fit the place value clues. (Get more fun place value activities here.)
Learn more: Primary Theme Park
4. Track down some animals
Taking a field trip to the zoo? This hunt is perfect to help little ones explore. For older kids, ask them to write one interesting fact they learn about each animal as they find them.
Learn more: Making Mom Magic
5. Find things to be thankful for
We love this sweet twist on traditional scavenger hunts. Kids search for things to be grateful for, like something that’s their favorite color or something that makes them laugh. These are things really worth finding.
Learn more: Natural Beach Living
6. Spot the shapes all around us
The world is full of shapes in all sizes and colors. When kids really start to look around, they’ll be surprised by just how many they can see. Free printable at the the link below!
Learn more: The Many Little Joys
7. Use the five senses
Our own selection of free printable scavenger hunts includes the Five Senses hunt. This open-ended activity challenges students to find items they can see, hear, taste, touch, and smell. Get all of our free scavenger hunt activities here.
8. Draw what you see
To complete this hunt, you’ve got to sketch pictures of each item. This is one of those activities you can use from kindergarten through high school, since kids are always building and refining their drawing skills.
Learn more: Buggy and Buddy
9. Go on a geography scavenger hunt
Who’s looking for geography scavenger hunt ideas? Travel the world from your classroom or living room! Pull out the atlas or use Google Earth to complete these free geography scavenger hunts. Explore the whole United States or just the state where you live, and learn while you have fun.
Learn more: Little Bins for Little Hands
10. Search for sight words
You’ll need to do a little prep work for this one. Hide letter cards around the room. Once kids find them all, have them use those cards to spell out the sight words they’re currently practicing.
Learn more: Hands On as We Grow
11. Take a road trip
Ready to hit the road? Take this scavenger hunt along for the ride! It’s got enough items on it to keep you busy for miles and miles and miles.
Learn more: Honest and Truly
12. Get out and move
Add even more movement to your hunts with this smart sensory adventure. Kids try to find something they can jump over, something they can roll, and more.
Learn more: The Inspired Treehouse
13. Search the bookshelves
Visit the library to search for a wide variety of book types. Maybe you’ll find a new favorite read! (This one works with online library catalogs too.)
Learn more: Scholastic
14. Hunt through the pages of a book
You can use this free printable for scavenger hunts over and over again with any books your kids are reading. It’s a fun way to encourage deeper reading.
Learn more: I Love 2 Teach
15. Locate creepy-crawlies
Bugs are fascinating when you get to know them. Take some time to learn facts about each one as you find it.
Learn more: Worth Writing For
16. Turn a muffin tin into a scavenger hunt bin
How cute is this? Get the free printable sheet for your child to cut out and color. Then, take the tin outside and find as many items as you can!
Learn more: Mama Papa Bubba
17. Explore the city
If you live in a big city (or are visiting one), use this free printable to look for items like street performers or someone hailing a cab.
Learn more: Lady and the Blog
18. Chase after colors
There are so many scavenger hunts you can do with this free printable. Hunt around the house or classroom, head outside to the playground or park, or try to find items of the right color in your favorite movie or video game.
Learn more: Rock Your Homeschool
19. Identify trees and leaves
You can use these hunts to look for different types of trees and leaves any time of year. Or break it out in the autumn to find foliage of various hues.
Learn more: 123 Homeschool 4 Me
20. Count and hunt
This simple scavenger hunt gets kids counting while they look. If you like the concept, it’s easy to make more hunts like this.
Learn more: Fun at Home With Kids
21. Investigate the art museum
If you’re looking for ideas to incorporate scavenger hunts into your next field trip, many museums have their own scavenger hunts available to help kids explore. But you can also take this one with you to give kids a real challenge!
Learn more: Summer of Funner
22. Two is twice the fun
With the two scavenger hunts at the link below, kids can compete to see who finishes first! Bigger groups can work in teams.
Learn more: The Pragmatic Parent
23. Listen instead of looking
Close your eyes and use your ears instead to complete this neat scavenger hunt! It really encourages kids to take notice of everything going on around them.
Learn more: Homeschool Share
24. Snap a selfie
Teens will definitely want to get in on this one! Little ones can borrow your phone as they have fun taking selfies in this incredibly cool scavenger hunt.
Learn more: iMom
25. Crack the code
We love this hunt for older kids. First, they track down all the code image cards. Then, they use the key to help solve the puzzle and read the secret message.
Learn more: The Dating Divas
26. Have a look around the house
Here’s a great scavenger hunt for a snow day or rainy afternoon. Have kids check each one off the list, or actually collect the items and bring them to a central location. (Be sure they put everything away when they’re done!)
Learn more: About a Mom
27. Search by flashlight
You can use this idea with any scavenger hunt—just turn out the lights and hand out flashlights for kids to use. It works inside and out!
Learn more: Life Is Sweeter by Design
28. Take a walk outside
Take this scavenger hunt to the playground or the backyard! This one has differentiated options, with picture clues for younger seekers and words for older ones.
Learn more: Homemade Heather
29. Seek while you shop
Keep kids occupied during a trip to the supermarket with these cute hunts. The basic version is free, plus you can purchase the others for a small cost. Teachers, use this one in the classroom by having kids explore grocery store newspaper ads instead.
Learn more: Fun With Mama
30. Look to the sky
Stay up late and turn your eyes to the sky with this fun nighttime scavenger hunt. Learn more about the phases of the moon and how to identify constellations.
Learn more: Real Life at Home
31. Wander through winter
Stroll through the winter wonderland and find all the treasures of the frosty season. This hunt encourages kids to draw many of their finds, making it even more entertaining.
Learn more: Thrifty Mommas Tips
32. Get the picture
Gather the family for a neighborhood stroll and work your way through this scavenger hunt together. The free printable lists 30 photos you need to take, capturing everything from a group yoga pose to a jagged rock. This one’s fun for class team building too.
Learn more: East Coast Mommy
33. Find a friend
Need scavenger hunt ideas for the first day of school? This one is terrific for back-to-school icebreakers or helping kids make new friends. Make it even more challenging by only letting each student initial one square on any one page.
Learn more: Polliwog Place
34. Leaf through the newspaper
Grab a Sunday edition and get ready to explore the pages! This is another one of those scavenger hunts you can reuse over and over with fresh newspapers.
Learn more: Playtivities
35. Take up bird-watching
Spark their inner ornithologist with this fun little hunt that you can do in your own backyard or on a walk through the neighborhood.
Learn more: Red Tricycle
36. Perform acts of service
This hunt was created to inspire kids to do acts of service around their neighborhood. You can also use it for household chores.
Learn more: One Creative Mommy
37. Discover a world of books
This scavenger hunt will take some time to complete, but it’s great for book lovers and reluctant readers alike. Kids read books that fit a variety of criteria, like one that’s been made into a movie or was written more than 20 years ago.
Learn more: Modern Parents Messy Kids
38. Bag it up
Looking for classic scavenger hunt ideas? Try this one. Kids love to pick up stuff like rocks and sticks, so this scavenger hunt gives them a little bit of purpose. Give each kid a paper bag with the list of items to find, then have them fill the bag and bring it to you when they’re done.
Learn more: How To Nest for Less
39. Page through the dictionary
Kids don’t necessarily spend much time with a dictionary these days since it’s easier to look things up on the internet. But, there’s still a benefit to knowing how to use a dictionary. If you don’t have a printed one, try using the Dictionary.com app instead.
Learn more: Moms and Munchkins
40. Seek out different emotions
This social-emotional learning scavenger hunt can be used in a variety of ways. Use it while observing others, whether out and about or at home watching TV. Check out the link for the printable and other ideas for using it.
Learn more: Mosswood Connections