Scavenger hunts are a fun way to keep kids busy this summer. And thankfully, they aren’t too difficult to pull off. All you need is a location, theme, and prizes and to craft solvable clues. This article offers a step-by-step guide on how to create a scavenger hunt from scratch:
1. Consider Integrating Technology
What comes to mind when you think about a scavenger hunt? Probably a group of people using a physical list of clues to find specific items, right? While that’s one example, a scavenger hunt doesn’t have to be that traditional. You could try a digital scavenger hunt and integrate technology.
Instead of getting together in person, you could plan a virtual scavenger hunt where kids have to use clues to find items around their house. Or you could have a “whoever can Google it fastest” type of scavenger hunt. With that, you ask children a question, and they have to use Google to find the answer. The first person to answer the question correctly wins.
If you don’t like the idea of a virtual scavenger hunt, you can have one in person and still use technology. For example, one of your scavenger hunt items could require the children to walk 5,000 steps. A kids phone or smartwatch for kids can easily track their steps and help them complete this task. There are no fixed rules for scavenger hunts, so don’t be afraid to think outside the box.
2. Know Who’s Participating
The first step in holding a scavenger hunt is figuring out how many children will be attending. While you might not have the exact number, you need a general idea before you start planning. After all, how can you pick an appropriate place for the hunt if you don’t know the guest list?
Whether you’re planning this scavenger hunt for your child or another family member, make sure you send invitations. You should include how long the event will last because that can determine how many kids are able to attend. It’s a good idea to request that the guests RSVP by a certain time. That way, you have a guest list sooner rather than later.
You should also know how old the children are. That will help you choose age-appropriate clues that will be tricky but not impossible to solve. Knowing their ages can also help you pick the right prizes for the scavenger hunt winners.
3. Pick a Location
Depending on where you live, there are probably several places worth holding your scavenger hunt. You could set it up at home, in a park, in a mall, or museum. You could even create a road trip scavenger hunt, requiring kids to move throughout their neighborhood (with adult supervision, of course).
If you’re struggling to pick a location, you might want to start by choosing a theme. For instance, let’s say your child is obsessed with dinosaurs. That might inspire you to create a dinosaur-themed scavenger hunt and hold it in a museum. Let’s say your child is obsessed with the great outdoors. That might influence you to hold the scavenger hunt in a park or in your backyard.
It’s a good idea to ask your child for their input. While you don’t want them to dictate everything, their interests could make it easier for you to plan and ensure they’re happy with the outcome.
4. Decide on Prizes
It’s important to remember that you’re dealing with children, and they like to win. Because of that, you might consider having smaller rewards for everyone or those groups that came closest to winning. Then, dedicate the biggest prize to the winner.
When it comes to gifts, you want to find fun prizes that don’t break the bank. Before shopping, sit down and set a budget for your prizes. Based on the guest list, determine exactly how many prizes you need and how much you’d like to allocate. More often than not, kids are happy to receive anything — regardless of the price tag.
If you need help deciding on prizes, consider using the theme to help guide you. Using the dinosaur theme example above, your prizes could include dinosaur figurines, a dinosaur Lego set, and a dinosaur puzzle. If you don’t have a theme in mind, ask your child what they think their friends would like and go from there.
5. Create the Clues
Scavenger hunt clues are a crucial part of the process. While the clues shouldn’t be too difficult, you also don’t want them to be too easy. This is especially true considering you’re hosting a hunt for children. Think about when you were a kid and use that to help you write the riddles.
If you’re struggling to come up with clues, consider going online for inspiration. Based on the location, you can probably find sample clues available. For example, here’s a list of clues if you’re planning a hunt in your home. Here’s another list if the location is in a park. Even if you don’t use all the clues listed, they can help you write your own.
There’s no denying creating the clues is one of the most difficult parts of planning the scavenger hunt. However, using pre-made riddles and keeping them simple can help streamline the process.
6. Go Through It Yourself
After you’ve nailed down a location and created your clues, double-check everything. It’s a good idea to run through the scavenger hunt yourself to make sure it works. You should also consider having a friend do it with you, so you can have a different perspective. After all, just because the clues make sense to you doesn’t mean they’ll make sense to your intended audience.
Make sure to time yourself while you’re doing the scavenger hunt. That way, if you find it’s going over the allocated time, you can reduce the number of clues. The opposite is also true. If the scavenger hunt takes only a few minutes, you might want to consider adding more clues or making them more challenging.
Going through the scavenger hunt yourself can also help you determine whether it should be done individually or in groups. If the clues take a while to solve, you should consider pairing the kids up rather than having them fly solo.
The tips above will help you devise the perfect scavenger hunt. Just remember to start planning early, and don’t be afraid to ask other adults for help. Having adult supervision is key to holding a safe and fun scavenger hunt.