Camping Scavenger Hunt Ideas

I hope it isn't this cold when you do your camping scavenger hunt!
I hope it isn't this cold when you do your camping scavenger hunt! | Source

I am sure that you remember the days when your entire family packed things up and headed out of town for the weekend camping trip during the summer months, right? Up until you were about 15 or 16, you thought it was the best thing in the world to be out in the middle of nowhere camping your weekend away while your friends were stuck at home doing whatever it was kids did in the summer. Kids usually have little problem finding things to do when they are camping and if you plan a trip to the same place each summer, getting to know the place helps as well. As a parent, the first thing on your mind was making sure you have everything packed, even the 2 year old. The last thing from your mind until you got everything settled was how am I going to entertain my children.

When you are camping, depending on where you are, the main activities are usually something like fishing, hiking or swimming. Getting around the campfire at the end of the night is also a great family activity that is quite common on the family camping trip. When the children are all wandering around the last part of the day with “nothing” to do, why not set up a camping themed scavenger hunt for them to do? Often times it will take up a good amount of time, give the kids something to do and in the end, you might even be able to teach them a few things about the woods or animals you can find there. Scavenger hunts are a lot of fun for children and adults and because they can be made custom to fit just about any event, a scavenger hunt is even fun to plan. There are two different types of scavenger hunts that work very well on a camping trip. One includes riddle type clues that will lead the players to an item that should be collected, while the other is one that includes a camera that players can use to take photos of the things they are supposed to be collecting.

The riddle type scavenger hunt for children or adults can consist of different clues that might be related to camping. Have the players team up, if you have enough for equal teams and have them find different types of leaves that fall from trees. This is a good way to get used to the forest areas and to be familiar with what trees produce what leaves. Sneaking a little education into the mix has never been an issue in the long run! If you are leaning more towards having the participants look around for items based on clues and photographing items when they find them, you will have to plan things a little differently. You will need to make sure that you have a camera that each team can use, figure out if you are going to just give the list of items to the teams or lead them around based on clues. Either way, the main goal is to collect or find each item that is on the list.

Camping can be very fun. You get outside to enjoy the fresh air with the entire family and if you plan it yearly, you might even get to use this time to meet up with family members that you do not see very often. Travelling out into the peace and quiet is good for the soul and gathering around the campfire for a little story time has never hurt anyone either. Plan a scavenger hunt for the day time and that is likely to be the conversation when the children come around the campfire later on in the day. Other things that are popular with camping in the woods include cooking over the fire, which produces a different, but better flavor many times, shooting off fireworks as long as they are permitted in the area and even learning to survive outdoors. That brings up the different themed camping scavenger hunts that you could have. You could have the teams seek out things that would help them survive in the deep woods. For instance, you might have the teams looking for a way to build a hut. If they can find a picture of a place out of the elements or a pile of wood they could use to build a roof, that would be perfect for the hunt. Having the children find things that could aid in survival will also teach them how to live in the wilderness if it were to ever happen to them.

Setting up the camping scavenger hunt for children can be quite easy, but really the complexity is going to be up to the person doing the work. Make a list of all the things you are going to need, how many people you would expect to play along, what riddles you are going to use if you go with that option and cameras for the teams if you decide to go that route. If you are expecting the children to be collecting things, you should remember a few bags they can put the items for safe keeping and easy to carry. This coincides with making the scavenger hunt suitable for all ages. If you have very young children, you are not going to want them lugging around heavy items that even a bag will not help that carry the whole day. Also, plan for the weather and make sure you are prepared for either good or bad weather. This might include the fact that you stop when it is raining or if it too cold to be wandering around looking for items on the list.


Did you think about the rules that you will need to set forth for the game? The rules are going to keep people from cheating and are a good way to set the groundwork for a very fun and good time with the family. If you do have rules in place, did you think about whether or not you will have set a time limit to find the number of items that you have on the list. This keeps the game moving and allows you to add an element of challenge because the teams will have to hustle so they can get as many points as possible. Because you are going to have a few teams of children running through wooded areas and possibly around other people, you should also talk about safety. It would not be a good ending if someone were to get hurt while playing in the camping themed scavenger hunt that you set up for the weekend.

Planning and participating in the scavenger hunt for kids that are camping is such a great way to make memories for the entire family. Remember that all of the aspects of this type of game can be custom fit to your liking and that is the best part. You know exactly how your family is and what they will like to do and that puts you in the driver’s seat. If you are not sure where to start, a good place would be to look online for websites that can help you when planning the event. Clue packs are sold online and for a small fee they can give you a good head start with pre-made clues for the event that can be cut from paper and passed out to the teams that are playing. Many times the clues do a good job of heading you off into the right direction and you can continue down the path to create your own scavenger hunt adventure with your children.

Some things you can do to put a twist on the event is to have it at night, give the same clues to each team so they are racing to be the first to collect the item or even hold a photo judging contest at the end to see who captured the most creative photo when collecting the items on the list. One way that I think is fun would be to add point values based on the difficulty of finding the item from the clue list. This allows everyone the same chance to score some points, even if they had no chance of completing the entire list.

© 2014 Brett Caulton

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