Every kid loves a treasure hunt. For kids, the thrill of finding stuff extends to even the most mundane stuff. Things that are right under a kid's nose take on a new luster when "found." Scavenger or treasure hunts are a great way to capitalize on this desire and keep your children busy and active.
So what exactly is the difference between the two? A treasure hunt is when a series of clues leads kids to a "treasure," like the "Blue's Clues" game. A scavenger hunt, on the other hand, is a search for a list of items.
Either way, a parent will likely have to do some advance work the to set it up. For kids who can't read yet, use pictures to illustrate what they are supposed to find or chalk to point them in the right direction. These types of activities not only keep kids busy in the short term, but they teach children the resourcefulness they need to play independently. So, parents, don't jump in with hints too soon!
One thing to keep in mind about scavenger or treasure hunts is that, without proper instruction in advance, kids may make a mess. In their zeal to find stuff, kids will ransack drawers, overturn baskets or even dig holes in the yard. So just be sure to set the ground rules in advance. You could even use a scavenger hunt, a clean-up game, i.e., find a pair of shoes that it not where it belongs, and put it away. This is definitely not as popular (especially the older they get) as a true scavenger hunt, but it's more fun than just picking up!