Scavenger Hunt Clues for Children

Susie McGee
Searching for clues

Scavenger hunt clues for children can be puzzles, riddles, or simple drawings. Whatever clues are given should be age appropriate, however, so children don't get too frustrated trying to decipher the clues they receive. Whether you copy clues from another source or create your own, scavenger clues will motivate kids to use their investigational skills and hunt down the listed items as quickly as possible.

Creating Scavenger Hunt Clues for Children

Children love participating in scavenger hunts or treasure hunts, and this activity is a great option for birthday parties, school field days, slumber parties, family reunions, and holiday get-togethers. Before you design a scavenger hunt, however, consider the following about the ages of the intended participants:

Preteens and teens - If the treasure hunt will include preteens and teens, go ahead and make up some head-scratching clues. Older children love the challenge of solving a riddle just as much as they do finding the actual items, so give them clues that make them think. If the riddles are particularly difficult and several kids are playing, allow participants to work in teams or with a partner. Cryptograms and word searches are great clue options for this age group.

Preschool and elementary school children - Scavenger hunts should be fun, and clues that are too confusing for young minds to understand will just leave children frustrated. Create riddles that are suitable for children who can't read by using pictures, drawings, pictograms of the objects they need to find.

Sample Riddles to Solve

The following scavenger hunt clues for children can be modified according to the number and age of the participants.

  • Take a digital picture of a hidden toy - Be sure to pan out just enough in the picture to give visual information of other items in the room so the child knows in which area of the house or classroom to look.
  • Create a trail - Using a series of small toys or candies, hide items throughout the area with a picture of the next area as a clue. As children find each item, they move on to the next item and clue. If several children are playing, be sure there is enough of each item to ensure that each child can take one before moving on to the next.
  • Create cryptograms - Print out a list of items designed like a cryptogram. Kids have to spell out words based on the cryptogram meanings before they can begin their scavenger hunt.
  • Create word scrambles or word searches - Give each participant a list of items in which the words are scrambled. Kids have to work quickly to unscramble the words before they can begin searching for the items. Use word searches this way too.
  • Historical clues - Teach a history lesson and design a fun scavenger hunt all at the same time. For example, "The Boston ______Party is still talked about in history books today." Of course the missing word is "Tea", and once children figure this out, they head to the cabinet to grab a tea bag.
  • Puzzle clues - Make your own puzzle clues by taking a digital picture, printing it out, and cutting it into several pieces. The number of pieces you cut the picture into really depends on the age of the child. Too many pieces will be too difficult for young children to work with. Hand the pieces to children, and tell them they must put the picture puzzle together to see the clue for the item they must find.

Planning Hunts

Whether you are hosting a scavenger hunt for the neighborhood kids or planning some birthday party entertainment, a well-planned treasure hunt will provide lots of fun for kids of any age. Don't forget to have prizes on hand to distribute among the winners. Prizes could include gift certificates, candy, award ribbons, and small toys. Scavenger hunts are great activities for just about any party or get-together, and creating your own clues will give you the advantage of designing an activity that is perfect for the participants.

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Scavenger Hunt Clues for Children