Scavenger Hunt Ideas for Tweens

tween scavenger hunt illustration

Illustration: The Spruce / Alison Czinkota

There probably isn't an age group that's better suited for scavenger hunts than tweens, and if you're going to throw or host a hunt, you'll need a few good scavenger ideas. These scavenger hunt ideas will help you organize a great expedition, and keep your tweens on the move, finding all the things they need to win. Keep these tips in mind for a birthday party, or any event that requires a few planned activities, such as a classroom party or even a scout meeting. Be sure to keep safety in mind as you plan your hunt. And, happy scavenger hunting to all!


To host a fun scavenger hunt, you need a little background. Usually, the group is divided into equal teams, and then each team is handed a list of items that they must find and either bring back or document. The group that finds the most, wins the prize. Be sure you offer fun prizes for your scavenger hunt, and it's always nice to have a consolation prize for the other teams.

Tweens are very good at scavenger hunts, so don't be afraid to provide them with a lengthy list of items they need to find. Just be sure the items on the list can be found, without sacrificing safety. Tweens are great problem solvers, so be sure your list isn't too easy for them, give them a few "reach" items to find so that they work together and think outside the box.

Keep the weather in mind when planning your hunt. In the summer, have water, sunscreen and bug spray available if the hunt takes place outdoors. If you opt for an indoor hunt, be sure your space is big enough to accommodate your party.

If you're throwing a scavenger hunt for a tween birthday, it might be fun to fold the hunt into the theme of the party. For example, if you're hosting a pool party, you could have your guests search for pool-related items, such as diving sticks, sunscreen, floaties, beach towels, bug spray, a lifeguard's whistle, etc. Other themes could include:

  • An alphabet search: Guests search for items from A through Z, such as apples, beach balls, coffee cups, etc. until they've worked their way through the alphabet.
  • A glow in the dark scavenger hunt: This is a great activity for a sleepover party, just hide glow in the dark toys, jewelry and other items around the backyard, until your teams have found everything on their lists. If it's a clear night, add a constellation or two to your list, so that the tweens have to search the skies for their items as well as their surroundings.
  • A senses search: Make guests touch, see, feel, hear and smell the items on their list. For example, on your hunt list, you could require that the scavengers "Smell a Flower" or "Hear a Dog Bark" or "Feel Something Squishy" in order to finish their list. Be creative, and have fun with it.
  • Shopping mall hunt: This is another birthday party favorite. Divide up your teams and give them a list of items you can find in the mall. You can have them take pictures of the items (with the store manager's permission) or they could ask clerks for items that are free, such as business cards, hangers, bags or price tags. Make sure each team has adult supervision, to keep everyone in line and to avoid disturbing other shoppers.
  • A photo hunt: A photograph scavenger hunt is a fun idea and easy to do. Offer each team a digital camera, and then have them take pictures of the items on their list. They can upload their photos, and then arrange them into a short presentation. A great activity for kids who like projects and working on the computer.
  • A nature hunt: Nature hunts are probably the most popular of all scavenger hunts, and they're fun if you live near a wooded area, or are having an event or a party at a park. Just come up with a list of fun things to find and then let the kids go. Think out of the box: for example, the kids may be required to "Ask the park ranger three questions about the history of the park," or something else that encourages them to think and learn, not just gather items. A nature guidebook might help you assemble a list of items for your tweens.