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Scavenger Hunt Ideas for Kids this Summer

With the summer holidays on the horizon, now is the time to start planning some fun, family household activities to prevent any panic nearer the time. Outdoor scavenger hunt for kids are a great idea as they combine all the things kids need – problem-solving, fresh air, exercise and more.

What is a scavenger hunt?

A scavenger hunt is very much like a treasure hunt. The difference is: instead of a treasure map with clues to unravel and solve, they have a list of items they need to gather. It could be a stick from a specific tree or a purple flower – anything like that. They tend to be more straightforward for younger kids to get involved with since they’re less intellectually challenging. Instead, it’s all about exploring and sensory exploration which is ideal for their mental growth.

 There’s plenty to keep your kids occupied, so let find out more…


 Why scavenger hunts are a good idea

Scavenger hunts are versatile, fun and perfect for all age groups – to be honest, they’re almost the perfect afternoon activity.

Playing outside in the sun, rain and greenery of nature has loads of physical and mental health benefits for kids anyway, but a scavenger hunt can turn a simple search and find operation into an adventure around the wilderness. There are always educational opportunities and valuable life skills to gain along the way, and it can be a massive boost to their development.

Home scavenger hunt ideas

The Woodland Trust have some seasonal scavenger ideas online for you if you need some help, but making a home scavenger hunt is quite easy no matter where you live.

  • Step one: Start by writing up a list of easy items to find around the house, garden, or woodland where you’re holding your hunt. You can download ready-to-use lists, but we’ve got some easy ideas for you later on in the post.
  • Step two: Make a copy for every child and give them a non-permanent pen or pencil to check things off as they scavenge them. One handy idea is to give each participant a notepad with the list written inside and attach a pen to the pad with some string so they don’t lose it. You could even invest in clipboards for the same pen and paper security – no tantrums or upset children here!
  • Step three: Give each participant or team a designated box or bag to collect their items for you to check through at the end. That is if they can carry them – there are ideas and things to find which they won’t always be able to move, so maybe give the oldest child in each team a camera or tell them to come and get you when they find ‘it’.
  • Step four: Choose an excellent prize to encourage them to all try their best. It could be a treat or a toy or something simple like letting them choose what to have for dinner that evening.

It’s that easy to set up a scavenger hunt from your home, there’s no real fuss or anything – you could put it all together while you drink a cup of tea or coffee even.

Here are some things to find to help you get started:

In the woodland

  • Find a pine needle
  • Find an oval leaf
  • Find three stones with different colours
  • Find a purple flower
  • Find a yellow dandelion
  • Find a daisy
  • Find a feather

In the house

  • Find something colourful
  • Find a piece of litter
  • Find a thing with holes in
  • Find anything that is round
  • Find a healthy snack
  • Find something you find pretty

For anywhere

  • Find the longest piece of grass
  • Find something soft to touch
  • Find a smooth thing
  • Find something that makes an interesting sound
  • Find a footprint

Like we mentioned earlier, you could also go the route of not collecting things but finding something with certain qualities in nature that you can’t move. These kinds of items will help teach the kids respect for living things and the world around them. They can’t be moved or taken, but they can still be involved in the game. Things like:

  • The tallest stick
  • The prettiest flower
  • A birds nest
  • Something which looks like them
  • A piece of moss or fungi
  • The longest spider web.

Other holiday activities

If there are no woodlands or gardens to explore nearby, that doesn’t have to stop your scavenger fun.

 You could try an artsy hunt where the kids need to find things the make pictures with. Think big leaves for printing, flowers to press and stick on, or bits of bark and sticks to make rubbings. These kinds of activities only need a few outdoor items to create loads of indoor fun. 

There are also inside-only hunts you can do that turn into ‘Hide & Seek’ with items. You could go classic with a list of random home items they need to find, or you could be a bit more adventurous. What about a list of items but everything they bring back needs to be blue? Or how about they’re not allowed to bring back anything that is theirs? You could even do a measuring hunt to find the tallest item in the home (humans don’t count).


Scavenger hunts are great fun all year round as there are always opportunities to learn and for the kids to develop. The benefits of doing one in summer are that you have plenty of time to explore and get right into it while they’re away from school, and it’ll help them learn throughout the break too. We hope these home scavenger hunt ideas have tickled your fancy?