Sending your kids on a scavenger hunt is an easy way to keep them entertained while sneaking in some educational lessons at the same time. At home, on vacation, at the park, or while running errands, choose one of these easy scavenger hunt ideas for a memorable and special day with your kids.
A nature-themed scavenger hunt is an ideal choice for your next hike, beach vacation, or trip to the park. Have your kids look for items they might not be able to find in their own yard: certain kinds of leaves and flowers, animal footprints, seashells, pinecones, bugs, and creeks or bays. You can make the lists in advance, either by researching your destination for items you know your kids will see or brainstorming on your own, and then hand out pre-printed lists (include photos or clip art to let kids who can’t read join in the fun).
Textures and Colors
Use pictures or words to list a variety of textures (smooth, rough, fuzzy, soft, thick, spiky) and colors – from basic red, blue, and green to more specific turquoise, tan, pale pink, and other harder-to-find shades. This is a hunt your kids can do in the grocery store, at Grandma’s house, in the doctor’s office, or anywhere else you need to keep them occupied for a few minutes.
Can your kids identify the people, places and things they see in their neighborhood? Help them get familiar with their surroundings by putting together a scavenger hunt they can play in the car. They can look for police cars and fire trucks, their schools and their favorite playground slide, crossing guards, stop signs, the post office, the vegetable stand, and other common sights on your usual route around town.
While you really can look for items that start with different letters no matter where you are, this is a great hunt to do at home. Take 26 index cards and letter them Aa-Zz. Then lay them out in one room and have your kids find an item from your home that matches each letter – a mitten for M, a diaper for D, an apple for A, and so on. (This is an especially good idea for rainy days or snow days, since you can put it together quickly and it’s easy to play inside.)
Easter Egg Numbers or Puzzles
Trying to put those leftover plastic Easter eggs to good use? Try this number puzzle scavenger hunt. Use a marker to write a number on the top half of each egg and put the same number of dots on the bottom half. Then either hide all the halves separately and have your kids match them after they find them, or hide just the halves with the dots and have the kids use the halves with the numbers to figure out what they’re looking for. If your kids are too old for numbers practice, take a favorite puzzle and put one piece in each egg so that after they’ve found all the pieces, they can put the puzzle together.