Stuck at home and the kids are bouncing off the walls? Sounds like you need a way to keep them busy, but instead of turning to the TV or tablet screen, consider creating a scavenger hunt to keep those little minds occupied. It may sound like a lot of work, but it doesn’t have to be. Use what you have on hand — from toys to pantry items — or make it educational so your kids are learning while having fun. Here are a few ideas for fun scavenger hunts to do with kids of all ages.
Using what you have at your disposal is even easier when you use what’s common in your neighborhood. From stop signs and fences to swing sets and cars, task your little ones to find common things they see everyday on their street or in their neighborhood. It’s also a great way to get outside and take a walk as a family.
You don’t have to wait for spring to use Easter eggs (you know you saved a few from last year) and maybe instead of candy inside them, hide clues or questions inside them that point your child to finding the next egg.
Whether you theme it around one shape or find them all, using a scavenger hunt is a great way to reinforce the concept of shapes beyond playing with blocks and puzzles. Using everyday objects helps solidify the shapes you see in everyday life.
Test how well your child knows his or her colors! Theme your scavenger hunt around one color and only use toys or items from around your home of that particular color. Again, reinforcing beyond flashcards or typical learning avenues.
Is your tiny tot learning her ABCs? Pick items around the home that start with the letter A and send them hunting. If you do a different letter everyday and you’ll have a scavenger hunt each day for nearly a month — talk about a long-lasting game.
Just like the old ABC game you played on road trips, using all 26 letters and finding different objects around the house can be just as fun for older kids. Involve items from every room in the house, even venturing outside to burn some energy off in the backyard.
Learning to read is an exciting time for a child and a huge developmental milestone. Encourage those skills by making sight words fun. You can do this kind of scavenger hunt in the form of a word search or you can make it even more interactive by making a list and using post-it notes to put around the house. Have your child find each word on the list to complete the scavenger hunt.
This is a great way to get everyone excited about an upcoming holiday or season. It’s also a great way to get everyone outdoors, depending on the items you’re looking for. From a fall-themed hunt for the prettiest orange leaf to a summertime search for sunglasses and sunblock, you can make everyday items fun for the whole family.
So your daughter watches Frozen II… Every. Single. Day. We’ve been there, and it’s really hard to just “let it go.” But if you must watch it over and over again, you may as well turn this daily movie must-have into a more bearable experience. You can create a scavenger hunt the kids can do while they watch their favorite movie. Look out for Olaf’s fun fact about turtles, Kristoff’s funny boy band moment, or each of the five spirits of the enchanted forest. Whatever your child’s favorite movie or show, send them on a hunt for fun facts while they watch.
Combine the great outdoors with a bit of science and send them on a hunt for different animals, plants and more in the backyard. From pine cones and insects to colorful flowers, the kids can look high and low while exploring and enjoying some time outdoors.
Glow in the dark
This one is great for a sleepover party or for a random Saturday night. Grab a few glow sticks at the dollar store and find or create your own riddle and clues, based on age. Stash them around the house with clues attached to the glow sticks that help you decode a riddle. The first one to gather all the glow sticks and solve the riddle, wins… it’s like a race after dark!
Finally put those piles of stuffed animals to good use! Theme a scavenger hunt with animals you can only find at the zoo or only find on a farm. As your little one collects each animal, have them name the animal and make the animal’s sound. It’s a fun and different way to explore Old McDonald’s farm or recreate a trip to the zoo.
Whether you’re stuck in the house on a rainy day or self isolating during the novel coronavirus pandemic, with a little planning you can create a fun scavenger hunt that gets your kids engaged in something educational and away from the TV screen. By getting creative and using what you have at your disposal — we’re talking everything from kitchen utensils to action figures — this becomes a go-to budget-friendly activity too. Found a scavenger hunt you like? Ready, set, go!