Free Scavenger Hunt Ideas

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Originally published December 12, 2019 and updated August 16, 2023.

These free scavenger hunt printables are a collection of game ideas for the entire year. There are more than 30 scavenger hunt ideas for kids you can download right away and start playing.

collage of 6 different colorful scavenger hunt game boards

Each of these activities for kids can be downloaded and printed immediately. They each contain a minimum of three different game boards, with many containing 4 or more.

Playing a game together is such a fun way to create memories. This collection contains scavenger hunts for kids and scavenger hunts for all ages and interests.

I love a good scavenger hunt ane remember playing them when I was a child. The neighborhood kids would get together and play for hours. We’d race around shouting and celebrating when we found an items. There was good-natured competition and lots of fun for everyone.

I used to set up these games for my own children when they were young. It still makes me smile to remember that they enjoyed the thrill of searching for and finding items on their list as much as I did. With this comprehensive scavenger hunt list, you’ll find that your kids love these engaging activitties.

What is a Scavenger Hunt?

A scavenger hunt is a game involving searching for specific items on a list. It is much like a treasure hunt.

Scavenger hunts are often, but not always, played outdoors.

With this list of scavenger hunt ideas you can set the parameters of the game to meet your specific needs.

Why Play a Scavenger Hunt?

  • It’s fun and a fun family activity.
  • It can be a distraction for bored child.
  • It’s perfect to get children up and moving.
  • It is a natural compliment or extension of many activities and events.
  • A scavenger hunt is a fun way to get children outdoors.
  • It encourages problem solving.
  • It helps kids develop the ability to focus.
  • It encourages exploration of the environment.
  • It can encourage teamwork.

How to Set Up a Scavenger Hunt

  • Determine where you will play the scavenger hunt. Set boundaries of the playing area if you want.
  • Determine how long the game will be played.
    • You can play until a player finds all the items on the game sheet.
    • You can play until all items in a row or column are found.
    • You can set a time period for the game.
  • Choose whether players will play individually or as teams.
    • Playing teams is a great way to have younger children, even toddlers, play by teaming them up with older kids or adults.
    • You can choose to play in groups as a team building exercise.
  • Choose how a player wins the game.
    • Finding the most items during a set time period.
    • Finding all the items on the game sheet.
    • Playing the scavenger hunt like a bingo game and finding all the items in a row or column.
  • You can choose whether the winner received a prize or whether you’re playing for bragging rights.
    • Hint – playing for the excitement and bragging rights is just as much fun, so don’t feel like you have to provide prizes.
  • You use the scavenger hunt games below again and again. You can switch the game sheets that players have. You can change the location of the game so that different items are available.

What is the difference between a scavenger hunt and a treasure hunt?

A scavenger hunt is a search for many different items on a list or game board. A treasure hunt involves solving clues that lead to more more clues and ends with finding a prize.

Tips & Tricks

  • Pair younger children with older children so that they can play, too.
  • Before the game, compare the scavenger hunt game sheets to the environment where you’ll be playing to make sure that each sheets contains items in the environment.
  • If there are not all the items needed to fill in the entire game sheet, play the game with bingo-style game rules. Finding all items in a row or column constitutes a win.
  • You can seed the environment with game items if you’d like. For example, with the Valentines’ Card Scavenger Hunt, you can purchase variety packs of Valentine’s cards to insure a great variety of cards to play the hunt with.

The Big Bundle of Scavenger Hunt Games – This big bundle contains 20 different scavenger hunt for kids games for indoor hunts, outdoor hunts and holiday-themed scavenger hunts. Each game contains 3 – 8 different game boards, with a total of 80 game board pages. 

collage of brightly colored scavenger hunt game boards

Free Printable Scavenger Hunt Ideas

As a kids’ activity, scavenger hunts encourage kids, little ones and big kids, too, to be active and having fun together. These games are a great way to keep your kids busy with a fun and engaging activity that can be done both indoors and outdoors.

With a variety of themes to choose from there is something for anyone looking for scavenger hunt ideas for every occasion.

Because these game sheets can be easily accessed and printed for free,  they’re convenient for parents or teachers to organize an enjoyable and educational experience for kids and adults.

Additionally, printable scavenger hunts can be customized to suit the age group and interests of the children participating. They provide a sense of adventure and a chance to explore the world around them.

All in all, these great scavenger hunt ideas are a fantastic resource for entertaining and engaging children in a meaningful and interactive way. 

** identifies games particularly suited to playing with children. These games also work for teens and adults, but don’t have to be adapted to be played with school-aged children.

Scavenger Hunt Template ** – Use this free template to create your own unique scavenger hunt game. This printable pdf is blank so that you can fill in the items you want to include in the game you create.

close up of 8 scavenger hunt template pages with text overlay

Birthday Hunt** – Free 3-page printable birthday scavenger hunt game boards. Perfect for a family birthday or a birthday party game for any number of players.

close up of 3 birthday scavenger hunt printable sheets with blue and orange title overlay

Decluttering Scavenger Hunt – Make decluttering fun when you use this free 4-page printable that has you choose from 28 different items that commonly need to be to decluttered.

top image - blue organized dresser, bottom image - 4 brightly colored decluttering checklists

Superhero Scavenger Hunt ** – If you’re a fan of comic books and super heroes, then you’ll love this free superhero scavenger hunt. Each of the 4 game boards have different items to find. It’s a great reading activity, superhero party activity and movie watching game.

child in superhero costume and images of superhero scavenger hunt sheets

Photo Scavenger Hunt – Six different photo scavenger hunt game boards for both indoor and outdoor play. These free printable sheets are ideal for kids of all ages.

top image blue Polaroid photos on table, bottom image - 6 photo scavenger hunt sheets

Free Indoor Scavenger Hunt ** – There are so many situations that are perfect for an indoor game for kids. This free 4-page printable pdf is ideas for a family to use to keep children happily occupied when they’re stuck indoors. Simply print out your copy and start looking through your house to find items on your list.

collage of indoor scavenger hunt game boards

Football Game Scavenger Hunt – A free 3-page printable football game scavenger hunt that is perfect for watching the big game, a game watching party, a football-themed party and more.

text title with images of 3 scavenger hunt printable game boards for football watching

First Day of School Scavenger Hunt – This free printable first day of school scavenger hunt is an easy way for moms & teachers to distract nervous children and make the first day fun.

4 colorful game board with black text overlay title.

Scavenger Hunt for Kids – Summer Olympics – Make memories and have fun with this free 4-page pdf for kids when you watch the summer Olympics together as a family.

Olympic torch and 4 colorful scavenger hunt worksheets

Outdoor Games

This kids activity is an exciting and interactive game that is a great way to get kids outside, encourage exploration, problem-solving, and teamwork. Participants use their observational skills, critical thinking abilities, and creativity to locate the next clue or hidden item. These hunts can be organized for various occasions such as birthday parties, team-building events, or family gatherings.

Nature scavenger hunt ideas offer numerous benefits. They promote physical activity as participants move around and explore their surroundings. They also enhance problem-solving and critical thinking skills as participants analyze clues and strategize their search. Additionally, a hunt is a great way to foster teamwork and cooperation as participants collaborate to accomplish common goals.

Neighborhood Scavenger Hunt ** – Take a walk  with your family or a big group and bring this free neighborhood scavenger hunt for kids with 4 different game boards. Search to find items on your list of items to find in your own neighborhood. 

colorful scavenger hunt boards for a neighborhood game

Backyard Scavenger Hunt – Free 5-page printable backyard fun nature game, includes 2 different game dice and game sheets. Perfect for any outdoor location and 3 years and above.

top image- bright green yard, bottom image - 5 backyard scavenger hunt pages

Printable Scavenger Hunt – Amusement Park ** – This game is a great way to distract kids are are waiting while other group or family members ride a ride. It’s also a perfect distraction while waiting in line or for a show to start.

Collage of roller coaster and 4 scavenger forms sheets with text overlay

Nature Scavenger Hunt in the Summer ** – A slightly structured way to encourage outdoor play. This scavenger hunt works in the backyard, on a nature walk in your local park and hiking on nature trails.

Top image of large tree on hill & bottom image is collage of 4 sheets for nature scavenger hunt with text overlay

Beach Scavenger Hunt ** – Looking for a break from playing in the water? This scavenger hunt designed for the beach is your answer.

4 Children holing hands and jumping at the beach with images of beach scavenger hunt sheets below

Fall Scavenger Hunt ** – Use these game boards to get outdoors and explore nature, either on a nature walk or in your backyard.

Autumn trees with yellow leaves and 4 fall scavenger hunt sheets with text overlay

Camping Scavenger Hunt ** – Explore the campsite and have fun with the free 4-page printable camping scavenger hunt. Perfect for a variety of ages and camping locations.

top image of yellow tent and lower images are 4 worksheets for scavenger hunt while camping

If you want easy access to printable fun games and activities (no signing up for email newsletters), the Fun & Activities Vault is for you.

collage of colorful game and activity sheets.

Learning Games

Printable scavenger hunts for kids also come in learning scavenger hunt games. They make learning fun and help kids get excited to learn and put skills they’re developing to work as they search for things on their list.

Rhyming Scavenger Hunt ** – Have fun while reinforcing learning rhyming words and patterns with these free 4 pages of a rhyming game.

4 brightly colored scavenger hunt printable game pages

Dr. Seuss Books Scavenger Hunt ** – These printable game boards are designed to be used in conjunction with 4 popular Dr. Seuss books. Children can play while reading the books themselves or having the books read to them.

images of 4 Dr. Seuss scavenger hunt game cards with text overlay

Measuring Scavenger Hunt ** – Learning can be fun with this game. Use a tape measure and it’s over-the-top fun!

top image ruler on yellow background, bottom images are 3 colorful scavenger hunt game boards

Library Scavenger Hunt – Encourage a love of reading and the library with this free 4-page printable Library game. Each game board is unique.

top image - row of library books on shelf, bottom image - 4 scavenger hunt pages
Library Scavenger Hunt

Scavenger Hunt for Kids

In planning a scavenger hunt for kids, you should consider their ages and abilities in deciding which scavenger hunt to choose and how to set the game rules.

Many games can be tailored for children of different ages, but games specifically designed for children are identified with 2 asterisks.

Teaming younger children with older children or adults makes it possible for children of all ages and abilities to play along in a group scavenger hunt event.

Road Trip Scavenger Hunt Printables

Road Trip Scavenger Hunt ** – Keep everyone entertained and happy with this free 4-page road trip scavenger hunt game. Designed for children ages 4 and up.

Top image of blacktop road winding ahead with bottom 4 images of road trip scavenger hunt game boards

License Plate Game ** – This game has been a family favorite for decades. I updated it a bit by making a travel scavenger hunt with 4 free printable game boards.

images of 4 license plate game scavenger hunt boards with text overlay
License Plate Scavenger Hunt

Scavenger Hunt Games for the Holidays

Valentine’s Scavenger Hunt ** – A fun game to play at home or at any Valentine’s party – this free printable Valentine’s game has players looking for images from cards.

top image conversation heart candy, bottom image 3 scavenger hunt game boards

Easter Scavenger Hunt ** – Looking for a fun activity for Easter day or an Easter party? This free 3-page Easter Scavenger Hunt is perfect for children of all ages.

top image - Easter eggs in a row, bottom image 3 Easter Scavenger Hunt Game boards

Halloween Scavenger Hunt ** – This game is perfect for classroom parties, family parties and even just one or two children.

2 jack o'lanterns and 4 printable Halloween scavenger hunt sheets

Halloween Costume Scavenger Hunt – Make trick-or-treating or your next Halloween party even more fun with this free 4-page printable Halloween Costume Scavenger Hunt.

4 images of scavenger hunt sheets for Halloween and image of children in costumes

Thanksgiving Scavenger Hunt ** – Keep the kids entertained while waiting for the big meal with this scavenger hunt.

4 images of Thanksgiving scavenger hunt game boards with text overlay

Christmas Scavenger Hunt **- Perfect for Christmas parties and to keep kids occupied while impatiently waiting.

8 different Christmas scavenger hunt sheets with text overlay.

Hallmark Christmas Movies Scavenger Hunt – Make watching your favorite Christmas movies even more fun with this watch game that contains 10 different games boards with clues from your favorite Hallmark movies.

images of Hallmark Christmas Movies scavenger hunt cards with text overlay

St. Patrick’s Day Scavenger Hunt – Add to the festivity of the holiday with this free printable 3-page St. Patrick’s Day activity. The game is appropriate for children or adults.

images of 3 scavenger hunt game boards with text title.

New Year’s Eve Scavenger Hunt – Looking for things to do with kids on New Year’s Eve (or even for adults)? This free printable 3-page New Year’s Eve activity has themed things to find and is perfect for all ages.

Top black and gold text, bottom 3 scavenger hunt sheets for New Year's Eve

Find all our best kids’ activities, games, and printables in the table below. You can scroll though the table and look for ideas or search for specific ideas with the magnifying glass in the upper right-hand corner (on desktop). Click on the topic and then click through the specific article.

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