If you're stuck at home on a school vacation or snow day, create your own treasure hunt with some unique scavenger hunt clues for kids. This fun activity gets kids moving as they search for a location that has an item (or another clue) waiting in its spot. The first clue leads to the next spot, and so on, with a treasure, like a toy or a treat, residing at the final destination. A self-directed scavenger hunt empowers kids to complete a task independently (or cooperatively, if playing with others). At the same time, they learn the skills of sequencing and following steps in order. Our list of ideas for scavenger hunt clues (complete with answers) gives you the inspiration you'll need to transform your home or space into a full-fledged stay-at-home game mecca.
Types of Scavenger Hunts
The type of scavenger hunt you create is dependent on the age of the kids involved. Increase the level of complexity and scope of the search appropriately. Determine the type of hunt that is right for you and your kids, and then create and print out clues.
- Indoor Hunt: Indoor hunts are best for smaller kids with shorter attention spans. Easy clues can take them from room to room with a final treasure waiting at the end.
- Backyard or Neighborhood Hunt: If your kids are old enough to tackle a scavenger hunt without supervision, open it up to your backyard, or get the neighbor kids involved in a neighborhood-wide search. Bigger hunts can be tackled in teams, making sure to always use the buddy system.
- Themed Hunt: Holidays and birthdays make great opportunities for you to plan a themed hunt. Match the theme of the scavenger hunt to that of the party or holiday, and then let multiple treasures be the party favor for guests.
- Photo Hunt: Older kids can engage in a timed photo scavenger hunt where all clue items need to be photographed on their phone in a given timeframe. You can also create a hunt where clues are given as photos.
Clues Ideas for Indoor Scavenger Hunts
Scavenger hunt clues should provide a workout for the brain with hints that require thinking. These rhyming clues have built-in kid appeal for little ones. You can even create a hunt for preschoolers who can't read yet, with picture clues you draw or print from the computer.
This ready-made list of scavenger hunt clues contains answers that can be found around the house. (See answer key below.):
- I have four legs, but I don't have feet.
I come in handy when it's time to eat.
- My job is to put an end to sleep,
Which I do with music, a buzz, or a beep.
- For fast heating or cooking, I am tops.
And, oh, that good smell when my popcorn pops!
- I'm packed really full of boxes and cans.
I may hold a broom or a mop or a dustpan.
- Flour and sugar and coffee and tea,
I keep these handy but hard to see.
- I can take you to places you've never seen,
But first, type your password in on my screen.
- I'm loaded and unloaded, but I'm not a truck.
Having a helper like me is a great piece of luck.
- I rain on you when you need a scrub.
I'm very much like my friend the tub.
- I make it possible to have fresh food.
Everyone agrees I'm one cool dude.
- Watching your favorites is lots of fun.
But don't watch too much! Kids need to run.
- I never get angry, but I do get hot.
I'm the perfect place for a pan or a pot.
- It's my job to give all your clothes a tumble,
Which I do while making a bit of a rumble.
- I have a round knob and also a lock.
Visitors and salesmen may give me a knock.
- I'm one part chair and one part bed.
Up with your feet and down with your head.
- I take your clothes for quite a spin.
But first, they get wet. That's how I begin.
- I'm filled with feathers or other soft fluff.
To sleep without me can be quite tough.
- Turn me on, and I'll give you a light.
I'm used some in the daytime but mostly at night.
- A story, they say, can take you away,
But a book still needs a place to stay.
- I have drawers and also a nice flat top.
For homework I'm helpful—keep working, don't stop!
- I'm hungry! I'm hungry! Please feed me a slice.
I'll spit it back out all brown and nice.
- I'm not a selfie, but I do show faces.
Find me in bathrooms and a few other places.
- Adults go here when they first wake
And at other times when they need a break.
- Most every day, you step on me.
All I require is a bend of your knee.
- I go round and round and get really hot.
In larger families, I'm used quite a lot.
- I'm paper, but I'm not used for writing a letter.
The spot by your potty suits me much better!
- I have hands but no arms and also a face.
And my hands always move at the same steady pace.
- I may have eyes, but I really can't see.
People love to make fries out of me.
- The more I dry, the wetter I get.
A little one can be used for soaking up sweat.
- I hold all the words you need to know.
Use me to make your vocabulary grow.
- I'm never wicked, but I do have a wick.
I come in all sizes, from skinny to thick.
Answers: 1. Kitchen or dining table, 2. Alarm clock, 3. Microwave, 4. Pantry, 5. Kitchen canisters, 6. Computer, 7. Dishwasher, 8. Shower, 9. Refrigerator, 10. Television, 11. Kitchen stove, 12. Clothes dryer, 13. Front door, 14. Recliner, 15. Clothes washer, 16. Bed pillow, 17. Lamp, 18. Bookshelf, 19. Desk, 20. Toaster, 21. Mirror, 22. Coffee maker, 23. Stairs, 24. Clothes dryer, 25. Toilet paper, 26. Clock, 27. Potato, 28. Towel, 29. Dictionary, 30. Candle
Making Your Own Scavenger Hunt
Create your own hunt by editing the scavenger hunt clues list to incorporate items specific to your home, backyard, or neighborhood. If your space contains more than one of the answers, have the kids check more than one location before getting the next clue. Ambiguous clues can make the game last longer, and it gives the children more brain and body exercise, which adds to the fun. You can also make the hunt more challenging by assigning each answer a point value based on difficulty. Tweens, especially, enjoy this type of challenging hunt.
Outdoor Scavenger Hunts
Treat the kids to an outdoor treasure hunt when the weather is nice. Similar to the indoor hunt, use clues to point to items or locations in the yard or outside the house. If the kids are old enough to do a neighborhood hunt, have them form teams and make sure traffic isn't an issue. You can even consider an enclosed park as a safe location, and create clues that point to different features and structures within the park.
Photo Scavenger Hunts
A treasure hunt involving a camera is a fun way to incorporate technology into the mix. Plus, tweens love using devices, like phones, to augment their daily experiences. There are two ways to tackle a photo scavenger hunt: 1. Take pictures of odd nooks and crannies in and around your home to use as "photo clues." Then, print out the images and place them in specific locations, directing the child to the next spot. 2. Create a photo-only treasure hunt by incorporating clues in which the answer needs to be photographed. Give the kids a set period of time to find the objects and take their photographs. They can work in a team or on their own. (This hunt is best suited to those old enough to use digital cameras or smartphones).