Who doesn’t love a good scavenger hunt? These free activities will keep kids busy at home, on the road, or even in the classroom. Teachers: try assigning them as a fun homework alternative for families during spring break or for an unexpected snow day. They’re also awesome for sub folders and time fillers at the end of the day.
1. Start with ABC
Scavenger hunts like this one work for kids of any age and can be used in a bunch of different ways. Try having kids find items only in their room, around the backyard, or in their favorite book.
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2. Scan magazines for place value
Pull out a stack of old magazines or newspapers and arm kids with scissors and paste. Then send them on a search to find numbers that fit the place value clues. (See more fun place value activities here.)
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3. Find things to be thankful about
We love this sweet twist on traditional scavenger hunts. Kids search for things to be grateful for, like something that’s their favorite color or something that makes them laugh. These are things really worth finding.
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4. Use the five senses
Our own selection of free printable scavenger hunts includes the Five Senses hunt. This open-ended activity challenges students to find items they can see, hear, taste, touch, and smell. Get all of our free scavenger hunt activities here.
5. Go on a geography scavenger hunt
Travel the world from your classroom or living room! Pull out the atlas or use Google Earth to complete these free geography scavenger hunts. Explore the whole United States or just the state where you live, and learn while you have fun.
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6. Take a road trip
Finally ready to hit the road? Take this scavenger hunt along for the ride! It’s got enough items on it to keep you busy for miles and miles and miles.
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7. Search the bookshelves
Visit the library to search for a wide variety of book types. Maybe you’ll find a new favorite read! (This one works with online library catalogs too.)
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8. Hunt through the pages of a book
You can use this free printable for scavenger hunts over and over again with any books your kids are reading. It’s a fun way to encourage deeper reading.
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9. Turn a muffin tin into a scavenger hunt bin
How cute is this? Get the free printable sheet for your child to cut out and color. Then, take the tin outside and find as many items as you can!
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10. Chase after colors
There are so many scavenger hunts you can do with this free printable! Hunt around the house or classroom, head outside to the playground or park, or try to find items of the right color in your favorite movie or video game.
Learn more: Rock Your Homeschool
11. Count and hunt
This simple scavenger hunt gets kids counting while they look. If you like the concept, it’s easy to make more hunts like this.
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12. Two is twice the fun
With the two scavenger hunts at the link below, kids can compete to see who finishes first! Bigger groups can work in teams.
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13. Snap a selfie
Teens will definitely want to get in on this one! Little ones can borrow your phone as they have fun taking selfies in this incredibly cool scavenger hunt.
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14. Have a look around the house
Here’s a great scavenger hunt for a snow day or rainy afternoon. Have kids check each one off the list, or actually collect the items and bring it to a central location. (Be sure they put everything away when they’re done!)
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15. Take a walk outside
Take this scavenger hunt to the playground or the backyard! This one has differentiated options, with picture clues for younger seekers and words for older ones.
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16. Look to the sky
Stay up late and turn your eyes to the sky with this fun nighttime scavenger hunt! Learn more about the phases of the moon and how to identify constellations.
Learn more: Real Life at Home
17. Get the picture
Gather the family for a neighborhood stroll and work your way through this scavenger hunt together. The free printable lists 30 photos you need to take, capturing everything from a group yoga pose to a jagged rock. This one’s fun for class team building too.
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18. Leaf through the newspaper
Grab a Sunday edition and get ready to explore the pages! This is another one of those scavenger hunts you can reuse over and over with fresh newspapers.
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19. Take up bird watching
Spark their inner ornithologist with this fun little hunt that you can do in your own backyard or on a walk through the neighborhood.
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20. Perform acts of service
This hunt was created to inspire kids to do acts of service around their neighborhood. You can also use it for household chores!
Learn more: One Creative Mommy
21. Discover a world of books
This scavenger hunt will take some time to complete, but it’s great for book lovers and reluctant readers alike. Kids read books that fit a variety of criteria, like one that’s been made into a movie or was written more than 20 years ago.
Learn more: Modern Parents Messy Kids
22. Bag it up
Kids love to pick up stuff like rocks and sticks, so this scavenger hunt gives them a little bit of purpose. Give each kid a paper bag with the list of items to find, then have them fill the bag and bring it to you when they’re done.
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23. Page through the dictionary
Kids don’t necessarily spend much time with a dictionary these days! It’s just easier to look things up on the internet. But, there’s still a benefit to knowing how to use a dictionary. If you don’t have a printed one, try using the Dictionary.com app instead.
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24. Seek out different emotions
This social-emotional learning scavenger hunt can be used in a variety of ways. Use it while observing others, whether out and about or at home watching TV. Check out the link for the printable and other ideas for using it.
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25. Do you wanna have a scavenger hunt?
When your little ones beg to watch Frozen for the ten-thousandth time, just let it go and give them this scavenger hunt to complete while they watch. It’ll improve their observation skills and keep them busy while you grab a much-needed cup of coffee … in another room.
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Clipboards are a must for scavenger hunts, but there are lots of other clever ways to use them in the classroom and beyond. Learn more here.
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