The 9 Best Scavenger Hunt Ideas for All Ages  


Who doesn’t love a scavenger hunt? From the youngest babe to the oldest child-at-heart, seeking and finding is an excellent feeling, and scavenger hunts are a super easy way to get that thrill. Not to mention super affordable, since you can hunt for anything from leaves to colors.

Whether you’re letting nature provide the treasures or doing something a little more targeted, scavenger hunts are fun for all ages and any occasion.

At Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona, we recommend planning ahead just enough to know where you’re going and what you’re looking for, but that’s about it for most scavenger hunts! If it’s a holiday or birthday, you might want to do a little more prep, which we discuss below.

Ready to dive into your next fun adventure? Read on.

1. Indoor Scavenger Hunt

This is perfect for those rainy days where you don’t know what else to do, especially if you’ve got little ones – or are throwing a party and need a bit of entertainment. The average home contains 300,000 objects, which is a whole lot to choose from when designing a scavenger hunt. (And is also a good argument for getting rid of some household goods and clothing, right?)

To set up an indoor scavenger hunt, simply make a list of common goods that people could look for. It’s also fun to throw some more difficult items in there, such as “a cobweb” or “something smooth and white.” This forces people to get creative, and it’s fun to compare answers at the end.

For a change of pace, you could do this in the mall rather than at home but still stay out of the elements.

2. Bachelorette Scavenger Hunt

One of the best scavenger hunt ideas is for a bachelorette party. If you’re planning some fun for a very special ladies’ night, bundling clues and bachelorette-appropriate items are the way to go.

First head to the thrift store and gather up wedding-themed items such as dried or silk flowers, lace cloths, lingerie, champagne glasses, notecards and anything else that strikes your fancy. Then place them around a house or venue. If you’d prefer the treasure hunt vibe, you can even write out little clues.

Alternatively, you can just create a list of bachelorette-themed items and head out into the Great Unknown to hunt them down. Easy peasy!

3. Be a Tourist at Home Scavenger Hunt

Lots of people are woefully out of touch with their own cities – after all, who has time to play the tourist with busy schedules, soccer games and the demands of work? But getting out for a day in your own neck of the woods is surprisingly rewarding, and many people discovered its merits during the shelter-in-place days of COVID-19.

Create a simple scavenger hunt for your own locality, with items like “statue” or “old-fashioned pizza joint” that are hard enough to find to be challenging, but easy enough to be fun.

Want to do the deal, but don’t want to put all the time into creating a scavenger hunt for your city? Try a structured scavenger hunt like this one, which has a number of Arizona locations.

4. Moonlight Scavenger Hunt

A moonlight scavenger hunt is super fun for kids and adults alike. Rather than planning your fun during the day, schedule it for nighttime and see how different the world looks! The bark of trees, your neighbor’s lawn, the downtown strip – everything looks funky in the moonlight. (Plus, it’s always some good naughty fun to be up past your bedtime, no matter your age.)

A good alternative to this on cloudy nights is a flashlight scavenger hunt. You can often get quality brands of flashlights or headlamps from your local secondhand shop for much less than going to an outdoor gear store, so come check at Goodwill first.

5. Zoo Scavenger Hunt

This is an epic one for kids, and is super simple to create. Just choose common animals and zoo sightings (elephant ears cart, anyone?) and put them on the list.

Pro tip: Many zoos make their own scavenger hunts and put them out for free online. Do a search and see what you can find for starters, then add on if you like.

6. Holiday Scavenger Hunt

Is your neighborhood or city dressed up for a certain time of year? Local shops and municipalities often turn on the charm for harvest time, the winter holidays and spring’s first bloom. You can find holiday-themed scavenger hunt lists online – or buy cute themed printables on Etsy if you’re willing to pay a few bucks.

Looking to take that special someone on a scavenger hunt? Consider going on Valentine’s Day and searching for classic Day of Love items, like on this adorable Valentine’s Day Scavenger Hunt Bingo.

7. Color Scavenger Hunt

This one takes very little explanation. Instead of searching for specific objects, go on a hunt for colors. You can do this at home, at the mall, on a college campus, in a park or any of a thousand other places indoors or out.

Try to choose really creative colors that won’t be easy to spot, like chartreuse, puce or gamboge. You can Google “unusual color names” to get more inspiration for your hunt.

8. Birthday Scavenger Hunt

Want to plan a fun activity for someone’s bday? Birthday scavenger hunt it is! This is a great way to give gifts because you can put those on the list and wait for people to find them and bring them to the birthday person.

It’s always fun to do a theme, like a bedroom redecoration, stocking a new apartment or building a complicated model with multiple pieces. That way, once all the presents are opened, they’ll have the ingredients to set up something really cool.

If you want to make it fun for the whole family rather than just the birthday person, have a grand prize for the first to finish, with instructions that everyone but the birthday person ignores any wrapped gifts they come across.

9. Nature Scavenger Hunt

When the need arises, Mother Nature provides, and nowhere is this truer than with a scavenger hunt. Although we tend to see an unbroken woodland or desertscape when we look at a natural area, what we’re actually seeing is thousands and thousands of natural ephemera all gathered in one place.

We’re talking evergreen needles, mushrooms, cactuses, bird’s nests, pinecones, pebbles and so much more. Add in the living element – birds, bees, creepy-crawlies – and you’ve got an endless supply of photo-capture-worthy items to add to your list.

Let Goodwill Help You With All Your Scavenger Hunt Needs!

Planning that hunt and need a little help with supplies?

Whether you’re looking for clipboards, holiday items, bachelorette gifts or anything else, Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona prides itself on always providing the best secondhand goods for the most affordable prices.

Plus, we funnel proceeds toward job and training services, helping members of our community, and keeping our stores stocked with beautiful items you’ll want to purchase – without breaking the bank. We hope to see you at one of our locations today!

Scavenger hunt this way signpost in lush forest woodland

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