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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Time for a Scavenger Hunt

There are days when I feel like the worst mom in the world (or perhaps just the laziest), and then there are days when I feel like a Mom Genius. This was one of the genius days. It's getting toward the end of summer, and most of my good ideas had already been used up, until I started thinking about birthday parties. One of the things my kids love to do at parties is have a scavenger hunt.

Step One
I grabbed two brown paper bags and decorated them with some stickers, and each of my boys' names. This took about 45 seconds. If you don't have brown paper bags, you could use:

  • pails from the sandbox
  • used gift bags
  • plastic grocery bags
  • shoeboxes
  • trick-or-treat buckets
  • plastic food storage container
  • anything!
If you want to prolong the time this activity takes, give the kids the bags/boxes/containers and some sheets of stickers and have them do the decorating.
Step Two
Make a list for the scavenger hunt. Will your hunt be indoors or out? This will help shape your list. Indoor items could include:

  • Something you use to eat your food
  • A shoe
  • A toy block
  • A piece of paper
  • A magnet
  • Something hard
  • Something soft
  • Something with wheels
  • Something round
  • 2 things that are red
  • Something that moves
  • Something you like

Outdoor items could include:

  • Something fuzzy
  • A seed or nut
  • Something straight
  • Something round
  • Something smooth
  • Something rough
  • 2 types of leaves
  • Something that makes noise
  • A rock
  • A pinecone
  • Something green
  • Something that you like

Step Three
Explain that we are going on a scavenger hunt to find the items on our list. When we find something that is on the list, we will put it inside our bag/box/container. Then we will keep going until we have everything on our list.

We used an outdoor list, so we headed to a playground. My older son rode his bike while my younger son got a ride in his covered wagon. We brought the list and our bags, and we got down to business as soon as we reached the playground.

Something rough: wood chips!
Something round: the bicycle wheel! (not quite something that would fit in the bag, but they were so excited, I didn't want to ruin their fun)
They had a great time finding everything on their list, and then we played at the playground for a while. Once all the objects are found, there are a endless possibilities for the activities the kids could do with them.

One option is to do a rubbing of the objects, if possible. To do this, place the object under a piece of light-colored paper. Next, remove the wrapper from a dark crayon - dark blue, purple, black, or brown work best - and use the long side to rub the paper (where the object is underneath). The texture of the object will be transferred to the paper. This works best with relatively flat objects, such as leaves, coins, hair combs, or small toy figures. Use different areas of the paper for each object until you have a collage of scavenger hunt items.

Another option is to take a digital photo of each object, print the photos, and help your child make a simple photo book or scrapbook with them. This would be great for an alphabet scavenger hunt (finding something that starts with each letter), a numbers scavenger hunt (find one leaf, two rocks, three sticks, etc.), or a colors scavenger hunt (find one thing that is red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, brown, black, and white). Then the photo book becomes your child's own learning tool.

You could also have your child pose for a photo with all of the found objects. Have them decorate a paper plate, then attach the photo to the center and hang it up as a "trophy" from the scavenger hunt.

I hope these ideas inspire you to have a scavenger hunt with your child, grandchild, niece, nephew, or the kids you babysit. They'll have a blast, and you won't hear "I'm bored." At least for ten minutes out of the day.

Be sure to Post A Comment and tell us about your scavenger hunt. As always, thanks for reading.


  1. Great post! I was looking up kids indoor activities when I came across your post. I am taking my niece and 2 nephews for a week while my sister goes on vacation. I don't have kids so I am a little nervous. I just want them to have fun. This is a great idea! Thanks so much for sharing Kim. I will have to add this to my list of things.

    1. Lauren, thanks again for stopping by. A scavenger hunt is always a big hit with my kids; I hope your niece and nephews enjoy it, too. Best of luck during your week as Super Aunt.

  2. Aww, aren’t they just the cutest? I always ask my husband for help to organize a treasure hunt for my kids because my kids are very energetic just like those bunnies with batteries on them. We had them do a treasure hunt all over the house including our backyard. The prize was a pack of chocolates that they love. It took them an entire day to finish the hunt and they both deserved a reward, so we had them share the chocolates. Hehe!

    Rosalinda Hone

    1. Rosalinda, that sounds amazing! I'm sure your kids had a great time, and that they appreciated the chocolates at the end. Thanks for stopping by ROCmomma.


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