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Scavenger Hunts for Kids

Updated on February 22, 2016
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FunScavengerHunts is here to try ind bring people together with scavenger hunts and photo scavenger hunts.

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Hosting a scavenger hunt for children is a great way to keep them entertained and out of your hair for a long period of time, all the while ensuring their happiness. However, you have to keep in mind that scavenger hunts for kids is nowhere near the same as adult scavenger hunts, because there are many things that adults have the capability of thinking about that children just wouldn’t understand. It’s important to consider these things while organizing scavenger hunts for kids so that you cover all your bases and everyone’s satisfied. Here are some things that you’ll definitely need to keep in minding when planning your event. Remember, these tips are suggested for younger children, not older kids or teens.

Age groups

Keeping your scavenger hunt ideas child-friendly and comprehendable is a tricky thing. Plenty of times, the themes that you may be thinking of for the hunt will make sense to you and you’ll end up arranging the entire hunt, only to realize much much later that they just don’t click in the minds of your youths.

For example, you might be planning a scavenger event and incorporating riddles and little hints to help your audience figure out what they are looking for and how to find them. The riddles seem fairly easy to you and those helping you to plan the event, but you have to remember that your scavengers’ youthful minds are going to have difficulty understanding what the riddles are referring to, or how the hints have anything to do with the things they are hunting for.

Be absolutely sure to keep everything simple enough that it can be comprehended by a younger child. If you have kids and are organizing the event, you may even put their knowledge to the test to see if they get what you’re trying to communicate in the hints.


The location that your scavenger hunt is built around can also be major factor in how entertained and interested kids are in your hunt. The location that you stage your scavenger hunt at really depends on your amount of participants.

The rule of thumb here is pretty much that the larger amount of people you have in your hunt and the greater their ages, the larger the area that the hunt is should be.

A scavenger hunt consisting of over 10 people in a few small rooms will end up being cramped, with people getting frustrated. Considering that this scavenging event is for youths, you’ll probably end up with quite a few minute brawls and “fights” over who found what first, and declarations that “that’s not fair!”

The best thing to do would be to spread out the scavenger hunt across a broader range where children would be excited to explore and discover the things that you have hidden. A large area also increases the amount of space you have to place the items being hunted for, making it easier on the ones organizing the event.

You also need to be careful not to use too large of a location. Little children have a tendency to sway in their attention very frequently. In other words, boredom is something that any adult has to think about when planning an organized event including kids. Having a too large area for kids to explore in their scavenger hunt can end very badly without the fun and interest that you hoped would be achieved.

Location needs to be somewhere between somewhat large and somewhat small. Too big or too small will result in either some very bored children (which is not something any parent wants to deal with), or some very angry children (which can be much, much worse).


Type of Scavenger Hunt

Scavenger hunts come in all different shapes and sizes. There are also plenty of ways to create, organize, and execute the hunt itself. The way that you will do your own hunt is your choice, but you should undoubtedly consider the fact that you are planning an event for younger children.

Complex riddle and clue based hunts will definitely not sit well with younger kids who aren’t extremely proficient readers. Most kids just want to get out there and start looking, so try to keep your riddles and hints to a humble level of simplicity.

You also have the options between photo scavenger hunts, technology based ones, or plain old pen and paper scavenger hunts that don’t require any knowledge of technology. More and more children these days have a reasonable knowledge of electronics such as smart phones and tablets, so all in all, a photo scavenger hunt may really not be a bad idea, depending on the ages of the kids you are targeting.

Another highly dependent idea that needs to be accounted for when it comes down to the type of scavenger hunt that you are planning, is how the hunt will actually happen. We know, you must be thinking, “if we’re only now getting to the ‘actually happen’ part, what was all that before?” Well the greatest part of the scavenger hunt that everything will depend on is planning, and that is what everything so far has been about. However, you also need to think about the ways that you’ll get the children to participate and how you’ll organize them.

Having teams will make your life and the lives of the individual youth scavengers much easier. You can potentially pair off a younger child with a somewhat older one that has a little more knowledge of what he or she is doing, reducing the amount of explaining that you personally would have to do. Distributing the workload across those who are able to take some of it on is actually pretty crucial.

Having adults around to supervise the endeavours of your young hunters will make sure that the entire process goes along smoothly, and the teams, if you so choose to use them, get along and assist each other in seeking the things on their lists. Adults will also be necessary to help the children with the various questions that they will undoubtedly ask, as well as to potentially help them with little hints and clues if the hunting proves to be hard for their young minds. Another reason to have an abundance of supervisory adults around would, of course, be to “keep the peace,” and make sure that you don’t end up with a bunch of upset young’uns running around.

Always remember, when organizing a scavenger hunt of any kind for kids, that they don’t always think the same way that you do, and you are responsible for catering to their needs. If you want a bunch of happy campers to have a wonderful time with your event (and therefore keep you and the other parents happy as well), you should definitely rethink your planning and verify that all your procedures, locations, scavenger hunt items, and scavenger hunt clues are child-friendly. The goal of the game is to keep everyone happy and make sure that all the participants and organizers of the event have a joyous experience with your scavenger hunt, so be careful not to leave anyone out. Careful planning and organizing can help prevent catastrophe in the forms of wailing children or exhausted adults, so make sure you cover all your bases. Good luck, and happy scavenger hunting!

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Treasure Themed Scavenger Hunt for Kids

There is a whimsical lure of adventure that comes with the idea of a pirate’s life. Real piracy is awful, of course, but that’s not how we tend to think of it. We don’t think of shipwrecks and thievery when we think “pirates.” We think of something else – something shiny and gold – that is permanently entangled with the pirate mythos: buried treasure. For a kid with tales of adventure dancing through his head this fantasy can be powerful and important to the growth of their imagination. With this in mind, you might consider staging a treasure hunt for kids.

There are a lot of benefits – both physical and mental – to staging such an event. If done correctly it can go down as one of your child’s fondest memory, sticking inside of their mind for years as one of the best things you ever did for them. That alone is worth the effort.

Is Your Child the Right Age?

Before you start you need to decide if your child is of the appropriate age for a treasure hunt for kids. The youngest child involved should be no less than five years of age. This is for a couple of reasons:

  • Younger children and infants have trouble with a lot of physical activity and are more prone to tripping when outside.
  • Children younger than five can’t fully understand and appreciate the game, so it’s better to let them grow up a little bit before wasting your efforts.
  • Children younger than five also have more trouble communicating with you on what they’ve enjoyed and what they haven’t.

It’s best to just wait if your children are still infants or simply too young. It will be safer – and more enjoyable – to host the hunt when they’re older. Though, be careful about trying to host a treasure hunt for kids older than twelve or so. Once a kid becomes a teen this kind of thing can feel patronizing to them. Not only will they not appreciate it as much, but they’ll also benefit less from it.

The Benefits of Treasure Hunts for Kids

As mentioned, hosting a treasure hunt has a lot of benefits for your child, but those benefits have a window during which they will be most effective. If a child is too young – as discussed above – they won’t be able to fully appreciate the situation and they will not be able to participate as much physically. If your child is too old then their imaginations will have already developed fairly far and they will be too matured to get much of a physical benefit.

If your child is the right age – optimally, somewhere between six and ten – then a treasure hunt can be a fantastic tool for expanding their imagination. You can spin them a tale of pirates from days long passed that left treasure on what is now your property. You can produce a treasure map and claim you found it hidden away in some dusty old chest. You can even author a letter from the pirates that might have been left for anyone who finds the map.

A child at the right age will still be young enough to believe in such fantastic claims, which will allow them to let their imaginations run wild. They’ll fill in any gaps that you leave in the narrative and they’ll enjoy doing so. And – because they’re so young – they probably won’t notice any plot holes that pop up. This takes some pressure off of you, just in case you aren’t a great writer.

After the hunt you can keep the imaginative spark going by feeding them more pirate related materials, such as classic novels and films. You’re surely the best judge of what is and is not age appropriate, but you might also want to heed content ratings, too. They’re there for a reason.

As far as physical benefits go, you can’t go with getting your kids to exercise a little bit more. It’s good to start them off early with fitness, but it’s hard to get them interested so young. What’s not hard is to get them to go run around in the back yard and to pretend that they’re hunting for buried treasure. They’ll get a good workout and they’ll be none the wiser.

Deciding What to Put in the Treasure Chest

Fake gold coins are a popular choice, as are chocolate filled ones (but don’t leave them in the heat too long). Other good options include Styrofoam swords and eye patches. You can factor in your child’s other interests if you’d like. You likely know what they do and do not like by now, so use your best judgment.

Avoid putting fake hand hooks and other potentially sharp objects in with the treasure. You don’t want to give your child something that they might accidentally hurt themselves with! That would turn the fun afternoon into a nightmare.

“Burying” the Treasure

You can’t necessarily bury a wooden box in your back yard. Well, technically, you can, but it isn’t the best idea. To start, it’s hard to sneak out in the yard and do that sort of thing without arousing the suspicions of your children. Assuming you have a job, you likely don’t have much alone time in the house without your kids. Burying it at night might simplify things, but the neighbors might think you’re up to something nefarious. And – besides – what kid can actually manage to dig up a box? That means you’d be the one doing the heavy lifting, so don’t give yourself more work than you have to.

So, instead of ruining your yard with a hole, try placing the treasure chest in the bushes or in another similar area. Your child shouldn’t be able to see it immediately, but it also shouldn’t be hard to steer them towards when they’ve had enough of the hunt. It also shouldn’t be hard to access for your child. Otherwise they might get frustrated by it.


Funny Scavenger Hunts for Kids

Scavenger hunts are great ways to entertain large or small masses of people for almost any given event. They can generally be organized quickly and easily, making them particularly popular means of occupying parties, gatherings, and dedicated events. However, you may sometimes want to organize an event that can keep youths with developing senses of humor busy, and you may like making the children in question laugh. Ensuring laughter is a surefire way to make sure that all of your participants are happy and well-entertained throughout the entire event and also postpone the amount of time before the kids taking part in your event lose their patience with the predefined rules and regulations. Adding humor to your scavenger hunt will undoubtedly set your event apart from any old scavenger hunt, and also make the event a complete show stopper when it comes to the participants.

Why "Funny" is the Way to Go

Laughter is a proven way of getting people into better moods and relieving stress. The simple act of laughing is known to stimulate the production of two chemicals in the human brain: serotonin and endorphin. Serotonin is known to be a relaxant; one of the main neurotransmitters in you body that relieves stress and allows for relaxation. The ability to relax is a crucial element in any game, including scavenger hunts. This helps to make sure that your participants don't get bored or lose focus on the goal of having fun when taking part in your scavenger hunt. Youths and younger children are quite reputable indeed for being quick to lose their tempers and throw tantrums. That addition of humor into your scavenger hunt will definitely help them keep their patience and stay entertained, which should always be something that you take careful precautions to attain to when planning any kind of event for youths or kids, sometimes even including adults.

Endorphins are also chemicals that are released upon laughing, and these are sometimes considered the most important chemicals in the human body when it comes to having fun. This is generally so because endorphins are usually regarded as the very source of that wonderful feeling we know very well as "fun". Our brains work in a way that upon detecting endorphins, the rest of the body is signaled to react in a more energetic and stimulating method. By including laughter and comedy in your scavenger hunt, you are ascertaining that your scavengers are having the times of their lives!

How to add Comedy to a Scavenger Hunt

Now, we've discussed why it is that making your scavenger hunt funny and incorporating laughter is most certainly a wise idea, but the actual details on how such a thing would be arranged might still seem just a little bit shady. While adding humor to a child scavenger hunt may seem complex and overly complicated, it really doesn't have to be.

The funny thing about humor (please excuse the pun) is that it truly can be added to nearly every single thing that can be thought of. Comedians have quite the reputation for taking a very gloomy and somber (and sometimes rather controversial) topic and somehow spinning it into a vast field of belly-aching laughs and chuckles. While you may or may not be a comedian and your scavenger topic is probably not gloomy or controversial, the same theory applies.

All it takes to make something funny is a little bit of creative imagination. This coupled with some decent effort and you will undoubtedly have an excellent product in no time.

Scavenger hunts are more or less modular. They have separate, individual parts that can each be modified by themselves in order to achieve customization and differentiation from all the other sections. Thing is, each one of these customizable units have their own ways of adding humor to them. This opens up hundreds upon hundreds of possibilities for you to make your scavenger hunt hilarious and fun.

One of these customizable things that should be the beginning of the things you plan should be the theme. These can vary from honed upon one object or idea to spread out across a broad spectrum of a subject or thought. Some scavenger hunts don't even have a theme, but the ones that do can manipulate their theme to incorporate a funny idea or subject. Your theme could be something silly or pointless if you want to appeal to a youthful audience of kids or small children. For example, some people choose funny cartoons or TV shows that many kids watch, like Spongebob Squarepants or any of those other somewhat ridiculous kids shows that are widespread. Theme is not the only thing that can be made funny, though, as the many other sections of scavenger hunts also have much potential.

Clues are the next things on our list of things that can be made funny. A good joke is even better when hidden inside of a riddle or obscure clue. Nobody can deny the satisfaction of figuring out a riddle, not even a child. One that has some hidden meaning to it that gives you a good laugh is a million times better than something that was already good to begin with. Your funny scavenger hunt clue list can be a certain way of making your scavengers laugh until they ache.

One of the most interchangeable and still amazing parts of a scavenger hunt is the list of things that have to be found in order to win. Your objects being hunted have the capability of being anything that the human eye can see. Keep in mind that this is closely coupled with the hints and riddles that we went over earlier. Your object or subjects of the hunt can be odd or unusual, which is often a generic way of making things funny. The unexpected is usually a pretty hilarious thing, especially when irony in it is a compliment to the humor being aimed at. Making your funny scavenger hunt list in such a way that your objects are ironic and somewhat odd is a definite "do" rather than a "do not" when it comes to planning a scavenger hunt event for children.

While planning a funny scavenger hunt can be a fairly easy and simple thing to successfully accomplish, there are some things that are very important for you to consider while planning your event for kids. You have to keep in mind that children often do not operate on the same mental policies as we do, meaning that adult thinking and youthful thinking can vary quite severely. Plenty of the things that would throw us to the floor in a fit of uncontainable laughter would have zero effect on children at all. This also works in the exact opposite way, as sometimes what seems pointless and confusing to us would be laughing gas to a small child. Humor is something that changes depending on the person being targeted by it, and a funny scavenger hunt would have to be careful to aim particularly at all the various types of children participating in it.

After taking into account the fact that "what's funny" really depends on the person and age group, you should be able to manage pulling off a comical scavenger hunt with ease, and little to no difficulty. There is so much in every single scavenger hunt that can be changed that adding jokes and funny topics to them should be a piece of cake to any mind with even the slightest bit of creativity in them. Your hunt will undoubtedly be a hit with all the kids, as "funny" is exactly the way to go!

© 2014 Brett


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