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Outdoor Scavenger Hunts; make Treasure Hunts more Interesting with Outdoor Scavenger Hunt Riddles as Clues!

Updated on May 15, 2017

In a past life I used to work in marketing, this has put me in the frame of mind where I am constantly trying to drum up new ideas to promote companies. Recently I wanted to get more people involved in using English in an interesting way, but was at a loss on how to do it. Then suddenly it hit me, I had to deliver fun to people, but on the lowest possible budget. An outdoor scavenger hunt was the perfect idea for this. I ended up having over many people take part, which is no mean feat of organization. I therefore needed a pretty decent plan in place in order to fully cater for everybody. I am going to talk a little about how you can yourself plan a large scale outdoor scavenger hunt. It might not be as large as mine, it may even be larger, but the planning is going to be a lot of fun!

Getting the Idea

Generating outdoor scavenger hunt ideas is half the battle, especially if you are attempting to plan a scavenger hunt for kids outdoors, where the locations you can go to are fairly limited. Here are a couple of ideas that I have used in the past when I have either run or taken part in a scavenger hunt:

  1. Nature Hunt. This is one of the best hunts there is for a child, not only is it fun, but it is also fairly educational. Just supply an outdoor scavenger hunt list with various insects, plants and leaves that can be found in the area (although you can get slightly more creative than that!). You will probably want to leave a camera with the children for this event, that way they won’t be ‘disturbing nature’.

  2. If you live in a city then you may find it difficult to run a nature hunt. In that case you may want a ‘photo tourist’ scavenger hunt. This will involve people going to various locations and grabbing photos of different things perhaps tourist locations, or something fairly unique, like a photo with a smiling person in a convenience store. You have the opportunity to be really creative here, and it makes a pretty fun day out.

  3. You may want to create a riddle based scavenger hunt. This is one of the outdoor scavenger hunt ideas for kids that really does come down a treat. The benefit of this is that it can take place in a very small area, and is therefore is ideal for children’s parties. The idea is that ‘riddles’ will guide the child from location to location, until they reach the final place which gives a ‘reward’. Ideally you would want to have many rewards, after all, all the children should take part. This is also an ideal game for a family.

  4. When I ran my large outdoor scavenger hunt, I had teams running all over the area I lived in. They then got information fed to them by various businesses in the area, all of the combined made up one big clue about where the ‘ending point’ for the scavenger hunt was.

These are just a couple of ideas that you can use. I hope they will spur some interest in you. All you need to remember is to get as creative as possible! The more creative you are with your outdoor scavenger hunt ideas, the more fun people will have.


The location is going to make a huge difference to the format of the scavenger hunt. It is recommended that you choose a smaller location if you are attempting to run an outdoor scavenger hunt for kids, although if you are running one for adults or families you would be better splitting it over a much larger location. Honestly though, it doesn’t matter really too much about the location, only what you make of it.

Developing your Lists

The most important part of your scavenger hunt will be the list of things that people need to find. A lot of thought will need to go into this if you want the day to be ‘action packed’. A scavenger hunt that is too easy will be over too soon, one that is too difficult will cause people to become frustrated. You therefore need to develop a careful balance between the two.

Your Outdoor Scavenger Hunt riddles will need to be tailored to the people that are using it. My preference is to pack the pages full of ‘riddles’ that will lead to a location if you are running a hunt for adults or families. If you are preparing an outdoor scavenger hunt list for kids, then you might be better off giving specific items. For example if you were running a nature hunt, you might include the following:

  1. A Green Leaf

  2. A picture of a lake

  3. A Picture of a Blue Butterfly

  4. Photograph of you enjoying a picnic.

This should give you a general idea of what you are after. Planning a riddle based hunt is a lot more difficult, however there are plenty of websites out there on the internet that should be able to help you out.

Equipment Needed

You won’t need too much equipment in place in order to run the perfect outdoor scavenger hunt. Depending on the plan that you made in the first stage you could need any combination of the following:

  1. Notebook and Pen

  2. Camera

  3. Print Outs of the Clues / What People need to find

  4. Bags to collect the items.

  5. Prizes!

Pack everything the night before the event. Don’t forget to consider how many people might be turning up to the scavenger hunt. That way you can be assured that you have the everything in place to ensure everybody has a fantastic day out!

Running the Event

Running a Large scale event outside, even if you only have around twenty participants is quite an undertaking, especially if nobody knows what they are meant to be doing.

First things first, you are going to have to split everybody down into teams. How you do this is your own choice. I wouldn’t suggest sending out people individually though, this isn’t very fun! And the whole point of a scavenger hunt is to have fun. If you are running an outdoor scavenger hunt for kids, you may want to get an adult to go with the children, not to assist with the finding, but merely for safety purposes.

You will need to hand every team a list of what they need to collect, or if your outdoor scavenger hunt ideas included a ‘riddle based hunt’ then a list of the riddles. If the hunt is slightly different to what people would normally expect, then make a note of any ‘special instructions’ on the page. In addition to this, you may want to supply the participants with any equipment that they may need in order to complete the hunt. E.g. a camera.

Finally, let the participants know the time limit and the finishing location and then let them get to it. You can now grab a book, sit back and relax knowing that your job is done. All that remains is the handing out of prizes when the teams return!

I hope you have been able to take something from this outdoor scavenger hunt plan. I have covered every single stage of the process that you need to. All you will have to do now is work out what items you want people to collect, devise your list, and get ready to go.

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© Copyright 2012. Brett.Tesol - Full terms available on Brett.Tesol's profile page (click the blue link for profile, failure to read the Copyright Contract could be expensive. The act of copying this work means that you accept the full terms of the contract, regardless of whether or not you have read it).


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    • torrilynn profile image


      5 years ago

      outdoor scavengers hunts are loads of fun. especially, if you were to make an adult version of an outdoor scavenger hunt. overall, cool hub.

    • alocsin profile image

      Aurelio Locsin 

      7 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Another great idea, Brett. This might be a fun thing to do for the neighborhood kids on Halloween night. Voting this Up and Useful. SHARED.


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