Finding ideas for a scavenger hunt is not that difficult. However, you should keep in mind that fun and teamwork are in the foreground and that the tasks must fit the time frame and the participants. To avoid boredom or frustration, the participants should neither be over- nor under-challenged. Here you will find scavenger hunt ideas that will ensure an all-around successful experience. The good news first: the preparations are a lot of fun!
For a scavenger hunt for children, an overarching theme or exciting topic helps to get the children in the right mood. Pirates and princesses, mythical creatures, detective adventures, or the world of wizards, for example, are good themes for a scavenger hunt. Matching puzzles and gadgets for the theme are usually not difficult to find - and of course, the treasure at the end must also match the storyline. To keep the fun level high, a sense of achievement and small rewards in between is essential. And it doesn't hurt to have an alternative task if a puzzle turns out to be too tricky. Scavenger hunt ideas for children should be age-appropriate and deal with topics that interest them the most.
As a general rule, the younger the children, the shorter the scavenger hunt. A scavenger hunt for kids between the ages of 6 and 10 should not last longer than half an hour to three-quarters of an hour. Older children (up to 14) can enjoy a scavenger hunt for up to two hours. And it can't hurt on more extended scavenger hunts to offer a break with refreshments or healthy snacks.
Solving secret codes can be a lot of fun: A ciphered message that first has to be decoded can turn an overly simple task into a thrilling group challenge. A simple secret code can easily be invented yourself or found on the internet. You can use skill games (balancing over a rope, hopping on one leg, throwing cans) or small arithmetic tasks ("Go 2+3 steps south and then 7-2 steps east"...) to reveal the path to the next station or the next clue. Sportiness, dexterity, knowledge, and brainteasers can be combined to appeal to all the participating kids' strengths. The puzzle should be a challenge - but it should not be too demanding when solved together.
If the children are old enough to use a smartphone or tablet, this can also be included when planning the scavenger hunt. For example, essential clues, treasure maps, etc. can also be sent via WhatsApp or Messenger. Photos of completed tasks can be required to get hints for the next task or the next station's positioning. For many children and young people, their mobile phone or tablet is an integral part of their lives, which is why it makes sense to have scavenger hunt tasks that reflect this fact. However, tablets or smartphones shouldn´t be used excessively - after all, the scavenger hunt is all about playing together and not about staring at a screen.
Completely different ideas are appropriate when organizing a scavenger hunt for adults. The tasks can be trickier, the radius of movement larger, the technical equipment more sophisticated. However, what remains the same is the focus on team spirit and fun. Also, the participants should not be over-challenged or bored. Typical occasions for a scavenger hunt for adults are the bachelor party, the company party, birthdays, or other anniversaries.
Adults also need a sense of achievement and variety to have fun. In outdoor scavenger hunts, stations can also be located in public buildings or shops, provided they are open when the scavenger hunt takes place. Etiquette rules should be respected, and no embarrassing or disturbing actions should be required of the participants. Smartphones and the use of apps or electronic gadgets can be included. This allows the transmission of coordinates or codes, finding streets or places, or recording a specific task's completion in a photo or a voice or video message. Ensure that the puzzles are different from each other and require different talents of the participants - this way, everyone will be involved. Allow participants to apply their strengths and skills; everyone likes to shine. Tasks that can only be solved together promote team spirit and togetherness and alternate with assignments in which individuals come to the fore.
Which scavenger hunt ideas can be implemented also depends decisively on the location (flat, house/garden, city, park, forest,...). Take a close look at the venue and let the surroundings inspire you. Where are good spots for clues? Where will the treasure remain undetected? For example, if you include clubs, pubs, public buildings, or shops in the scavenger hunt - are they also open when the scavenger hunt is taking place? Does the scavenger hunt have to be planned as barrier-free as possible because children or adults with physical disabilities are taking part? For the scavenger hunt to run smoothly, you should know the places and stations well. Some great ideas for your scavenger hunt will undoubtedly come up when you look around your favorite spots and include particularly striking places (sculptures, fountains, trees,...).
The motto and theme should fit the target group and involve as many participants as possible. What makes the group a group, what do they have in common? Groups of family and relatives meet on a different level than work colleagues or friends. What are their stories, what do they have in common - or what are they interested in? If you start from your participants' common characteristics and interests, you will quickly come up with funny and appropriate ideas. Why not tell the family that their secret ancestor left them a treasure. Or give a group of engineers a tricky mathematical assignment to crack along the way? If you know what your group has in common, suitable ideas for a scavenger hunt will often come up all by themselves.
It's not only children who find it great to meet their favorite characters from books, films, mangas or TV series during the scavenger hunt. Getting the next hint from a cool favorite hero can be a highlight on the scavenger hunt. Who are your participants' favorite heroes? Even if the participants have to dress themselves up to complete the next task, this can be downright funny: For instance, you could provide superman/batman/spiderman costumes for kids or ask adults to imitate Sherlock Holmes.
When preparing, take a thorough look at your scavenger hunt ideas. What looks like a great idea at first glance can, upon some reflection, sometimes be hard to implement – And turn out to be a real source of frustration. For example, you should refrain from setting tasks that could be embarrassing - especially in public. Having participants recite a poem or sing a song (especially together) can be fun. However, sometimes it´s better to offer an "either/or solution": You either have to sing 'We are the champions' or make your teammates laugh with a joke"). And, of course, all scavenger hunt ideas where participants can get hurt should be ruled out. Instead, give the participants a chance to shine!
So the chances are excellent that your participants will get their money's worth out of your scavenger hunt and remember it as an extremely fulfilling experience.
Equipped with the above information, you have already taken a big step towards creating your scavenger hunt. However, you will have noticed that there are many things to consider and that developing your scavenger hunt takes a lot of time. There is also the question of whether the participants will like their scavenger hunt puzzles in the end. Therefore, it is worth considering whether you want to plan and organize the scavenger hunt yourself or whether you would prefer to use a tried and tested concept. In the following table, we compare the advantages and disadvantages of both options.
| Organize yourself
Pros & cons self-organization
| Book tickets
Pros & cons ticket booking
|Very time consuming||Simple booking|
|Paper only||Intuitive web application|
|Free of charge (except material costs)||Not free of charge|