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20 Scavenger Hunt Ideas for Summer Adventures at Home

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Girl with pineapple slice
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Nature Scavenger Hunt

For: All Ages
A good nature scavenger hunt is about as basic as they come, but still fun for players of any age. The key is to make the hunt a challenge for everyone. A scavenger hunt printable from Alice & Lois helps kids that aren’t quite at reading level yet. To make it more challenging for older kids and even adults, add harder-to-find things like a specific bird species, an uncommon bug, a four-leaf clover (good luck!), a hard-to-spot berry, or a certain type of tree or leaves. You can also challenge hunters to draw a favorite rock formation they saw, the best cloud formation they spotted, and so forth.

Related: 18 National Park Webcams Where You Can See the Wilderness from Home

Color Scavenger Hunt
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Color Scavenger Hunt

For: Grades K-5
For this scavenger hunt, get a white paper bag and markers. Use the markers to color spots on the bag in each color you have. Give the bag to your child and have them find something that matches each color and put it in the bag. Once they have found items in all the colors, review their results together. This is an easy activity to do with a class, group of kids, or even as a party activity.

Kid playing with dinosaurs
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Indoor Scavenger Hunt

For: All Ages

This type of scavenger hunt is actually helpful to Mom and Dad, but don’t tell the kids. To disguise cleaning up as a game, come up with a list of things you want done and put it into scavenger hunt form. For example, collect all the dirty clothes you can find. Match three pairs of socks. Find all the broken toys. Bring me a toy with a missing part. Find a toy where the batteries need replaced. Collect all the Barbies. Find all the toy cars. The list can go on and on, and the options are endless. Whatever you need done, add it in.

Related: 11 Tips From Marie Kondo for Getting Kids Organized

Flashlight Scavenger Hunt
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Flashlight Scavenger Hunt

For: Grades K-5
Do your kids jump every time you suggest a nighttime activity with a flashlight? Maybe it’s just the novelty of staying up late and being outside at an odd hour, but this one is sure to be a hit with kids old enough to not be afraid of the dark. Equip everyone with a flashlight and either your own list or the one from EDventures With Kids. Things to include on a flashlight scavenger hunt are items found outside at night: the moon, an owl, a bat, something that glows in the dark, a constellation (have little ones draw it), and so much more.

Senses Scavenger Hunt
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Senses Scavenger Hunt

For: Grades K-5
Different from a seek-and-find style scavenger hunt, a senses scavenger hunt allows kids to touch, smell, and listen to nature. Think of items outside kids can explore with their senses. For example, walking on a log, listening to a creek, smelling fresh cut grass, or watching the leaves blow in the breeze. Make a check list or use the list from The Chaos and The Clutter and send them on their way.

Sketching Scavenger Hunt
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Sketching Scavenger Hunt

For: All Ages
You can make any scavenger hunt a sketching scavenger hunt to test out the drawing skills of everyone in the family. This instantly takes any hunt to the next level and makes it more of a challenge, even for an older age group. If you plan to do a sketch scavenger hunt, be sure to provide pencils and a clipboard, as it involves more than just crossing things off the list. In a sketch scavenger hunt, players draw what they find, so when you list out items make sure you give plenty of room for their drawings or use the printable, like one from Buggy and Buddy that already has boxes provided to draw in.

Road Trip Scavenger Hunt
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Road Trip Scavenger Hunt

For: Grades K-1
Road trips may be the new preference over flying to your destination this summer . While that’s all well and good, passengers can get a little bored after endless hours on the road. To make it fun for the whole car try a road trip scavenger hunt. Mom’s Minivan has not just one but three scavenger hunts that are split into what type of locale you’re visiting: city, suburb, or rural. As long as the kiddos can read, they can complete these scavenger hunts. If you don’t want to print these, create your own versions.

Beach Scavenger Hunt
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Beach Scavenger Hunt

For: All Ages
A beach day scavenger hunt is really fun for the whole family. There is so much to see and watch at the beach, the possibilities here are endless. You can make this as hard or as easy as you need to depending on the players. For younger players, consider printing out a hunt from EDventures with Kids, putting it inside a large Ziplock bag, and using a washable marker to cross off your findings. This will keep it waterproof if your little hunter gets in the waves. You can also use a beach scavenger hunt as a way to teach younger kids about water safety. For example, you can put “find a lifeguard” on the list so they know where help can be found. Many public beaches have a list of high tide and low tide times, as well as the current and riptide information. Have your kids find this and be able to understand it. If there are water markers marking how far out safe swimming is, you can also have them identify and talk about those.

Related: 55 Surprising Facts About America’s Beaches

Counting Scavenger Hunt
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Counting Scavenger Hunt

For: All Ages
A fun twist on the classic scavenger hunt, this one from The Many Little Joys involves counting items instead of just finding one of everything on your list. Adapt this type of scavenger hunt to any setting, but it would be ideal on the beach or on a road trip where people-watching and scenery-watching is plentiful. The goal is to tally the number of, say, red cars or police cars on a road trip, or at the beach to count how many umbrellas or lifeguards are spotted. Make this a fun game where the winner is the one who counts the most items on the list.

Father and Son Basketball
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Fitness Scavenger Hunt

For: All Ages
Make a list of fitness activities that must be completed for this scavenger hunt. For example: find a basketball hoop and make three baskets. Find monkey bars and complete five pull ups. Find a log or balance beam and walk back and forth across it twice. Locate bleachers and run up and down them three times. Run the length of a track one time around. A park, school, or playground are great spots for this hunt, but it can be done, with some creativity, in your on backyard, too.

Fourth of July Scavenger Hunt
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Fourth of July Scavenger Hunt

For: All Ages
With the absence of parades and typical Independence Day activities, a lot of people will be staying home to celebrate this summer holiday. Spice things up with a scavenger hunt all about the 4th of July. Use the printable from EDventures With Kids or create your own – the key is to make it all 4th of July themed. Find a red, white, and blue balloon; find someone wearing patriotic sunglasses; take a picture with a flag; watch fireworks; and more. See who can find everything the fastest. Make it more challenging by having players take pictures with the items they find.

Kid and dog selfie
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Photo Scavenger Hunt

For: Grades 7 and up
Kids and adults alike can enjoy this technology-based scavenger hunt. First, take pictures of the objects to be found. Text players pictures and, using their phones, they must identify what the picture is, find it, and take a matching picture of it. You can make this even more of a challenge by taking the pictures at creative angles so matching it isn’t so easy.

Girl with pineapple slice
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Shapes Scavenger Hunt

For: Grades K-5
A shapes scavenger hunt is a great way to help little ones learn about shapes. Use a printable to help kids match the shapes they find to those on the paper. They can trace the shape once they find a match to cross it off the list. For older kids who already know their shapes, they can draw the shape instead. For example, if they find a stop sign, they can draw an octagon shape to knock it off the list.

Letter Scavenger Hunt
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Letter Scavenger Hunt

For: Grades K and up
This is a great scavenger hunt for preschool age kids learning their letters. Using a free printable from No Time for Flash Cards, print out lowercase letters to cut out and hide. Then, print out the uppercase letter sheets. As children find the lowercase letters, they can match them with the uppercase letters on the bug jar printout. If you don’t want to use the printable, this can easily be done without any supplies. Simply pick a handful of letters your child is working on (maybe start with the letters in their name) and have them find those letters around the house.

child dressed as doctor
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Princess and Other Themed Scavenger Hunt

For: Grades K-5
If your younger child is into princesses, this is a fun one. First, let her dress up as her favorite princess, then give her a list of princess items to find. These could include a mirror, a pretty flower, a wand, a diamond, a heart, and more. The princess theme could easily be changed for a different child. If you have a child into “Paw Patrol,” for example, let them dress as their favorite character and have them hunt for a dog, a dog bowl, a leash, and anything dog related.

child at grocery store
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Grocery Store Scavenger Hunt

For: Grades 6 and up
Make grocery shopping a little more fun for kids and adults alike. Split up your grocery list and hand out lists to your family members. Have them each grab a cart and go hunt down your specific grocery list items. Anything to get your grocery shopping done quickly and without complaints, right?

Asian mother with kids shopping in market fresh foods
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Farmers Market Scavenger Hunt

For: All Ages
This is the same concept as the grocery store, but perhaps a little more challenging. When you go to a store you pretty much know what you’ll be able to find, but at a farmers market you never know the exact goods that will be offered that day. Make a wish list of things you hope to find, such as honey, fresh eggs, lettuce, tomatoes, corn, and handmade soap, and challenge your helpers to find the items on the list. For a bonus you can even throw in a special treat to find and enjoy. Homemade baked goods, anyone?

Related: 22 Unique Farmers Markets Where You Can Still Get Fresh Produce Safely

Librarian and kid
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Library Scavenger Hunt

For: Grades K and Up
A library scavenger hunt like this one from My Kids Adventures is a great way to show kids just how cool the library is and to also point out that not all information is found on the internet. This scavenger hunt is best for kids who have a good grasp on reading and writing. Younger kids can also participate if you pair them with an older player and let them work together. Challenges can include finding the librarian and asking a question about the library, finding a book from the children’s section of the library, looking up a book by title and author using the computer or card system, identifying the meeting rooms in the library, and so much more.

Zoo Scavenger Hunt
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Zoo Scavenger Hunt

For: Grades K-6
While the zoo hunt suggested by Planning Inspired is aimed at younger kids in the preschool to elementary school range, there are ways to make this harder for the preteen age group too. Instead of making the hunt solely about identifying animals, add in other elements of the zoo. Older players are challenged to spot a zookeeper, an animal being fed, a baby and mama pair, a recycling bin, an animal swimming, an animal bathing, a pack animal, and more.

Family in living room
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My Favorites Scavenger Hunt

For: All Ages
A great way to get to know your kids better and learn special things about everyone in your family, this scavenger hunt focuses on the players themselves. Create a list of favorites for everyone to find. For example, items could challenge players to find something that makes them laugh and then writing about it, something in a favorite color, something that smells good, and more. Once everyone completes the hunt, sit down and compare what was found.