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Creating a Scavenger Hunt for Your Classroom

Everybody loves a good scavenger hunt!  The minute I told my students that we were doing a scavenger hunt to review their material, they were visibly excited.  When you create a scavenger hunt for your classroom, your students will be over the moon excited.  They will love that this is the form of review you are using instead of just reciting answers to questions you ask them.

So how do you create the perfect scavenger hunt for your classroom?  Creating a classroom scavenger hunt that allows you to reiterate what they have been learning is a great way to help students to remember concepts that they may not have been catching onto.  They will remember what they have learned much longer than if they were just taking notes and moving on.  Read on to find out exactly how to implement some really good scavenger hunts into your own classroom (or even homeschool).

I am going to give you instructions for three different types of review scavenger hunts and three different types of fun scavenger hunts.  And I will give you all the forms you need in printable format so you can just fill in the information that you want to review or just play with your class.

classroom scavenger hunt

Some Helpful Tips Before You Begin

Before I get into the details of each of the classroom scavenger hunts, I wanted to talk about some tips that will help you to pull your scavenger hunt off without a hitch.

Don’t limit yourself to the classroom.

The more creative you get, the more your students will love it.  You can even combine the locations and give them multiple places to go.

You can separate your students into pairs, trios, quads, or even groups of 5.

Or you could split the whole class into two teams.  You could split the two teams randomly (I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this, though, since it would probably be better to let friends hang out), boys vs. girls, or let them “choose teams based on picking a couple of captains.  Regardless of how you do it, feel free to let friends be together as they wish.  This is supposed to be fun!

Make sure you are available to give them extra clues if necessary.

We definitely don’t want to frustrate the students if they get a clue that they just can’t crack.  Making your scavenger hunt challenging is awesome and they will like it, but not if they can’t figure it out.  It is a great way to challenge them just a little bit beyond their knowledge as long as you are giving them good clues to fill in the rest of the info they need.  This is a great way to stretch their level of knowledge without them feeling the pain.

Also, giving them help in the form of questions that they must answer will help them to feel like they figured it out on their own without you spoon feeding them any answers.

Make Sure to Go on a Trial Run

Once you have everything in place, go through it yourself to make sure everything is lined up correctly.  You would be surprised how many times I have done this and realized I didn’t set everything up exactly as it needed to be.  Or something didn’t exactly make sense so I could tweak it to work better.  You will most likely have to do this after the first run or two anyway, just to improve it after seeing it in action.

Make All Clues and Lists in Card Stock

This way you can keep it for the next time.  You could even laminate to make it last forever.  You will be so glad you did it when next year you want to do it again and it’s ready to go for you.

Don’t Let Them Collect the Items

Make sure they all understand that they are not to collect the items.  They only need to find them and identify them with their partners or team.  And you (along with any other assistant, teacher, or parent) will observe them finding everything.  For those things that you don’t catch, you can just ask them what they saw and where they saw it.  This way, you aren’t spending tons of time trying to put everything back and you don’t have to worry about having 25 of each thing for the kids to pick up.

Types of Review Scavenger Hunts

The two best classroom scavenger hunts for review are the list one and the follow the clues one.  They both allow you to put certain phrases or facts in front of the students that they will have to remember long enough to work out or find.

I will go into more detail for you.

The List Scavenger Hunt

This one is the easiest and most common classroom scavenger hunt, both for fun and for review of classroom material.  The reason is because it is so much easier to implement.  You don’t have to worry about coordinating clues or making sure the students are going in the right order.  They can just do it all and be done.  You can also provide prizes, either for everyone who finishes or the top few.  What I usually did was have a bigger prize for the first 3 or 5 that finished, then a smaller prize for everyone else.  That way there was an element of satisfaction for everyone involved.  And honestly, it was just a perfect way to finish something the students already had such a good time doing.

Here is a printable form for you (one has a “fun” list of things for your students to find, the other is blank for you to fill in as it works for you.  Just click on them to download and print.

Treasure hunt checklist blank

Follow the Clues Scavenger Hunt

So the follow the clues classroom scavenger hunt is exactly what it sounds like.  The students will need to figure out clues and then follow them to where they are led.  Once they get to that place, they find out if their answer was correct.  They either return to the previous clue to rework it if they were wrong, or they move on if they were right.

I will give you a form to fill out the cards.  But it won’t make sense for me to give you the ones I have already done because my review material is probably going to be quite different from everyone else’s.

scavenger hunt clue cards

Photo Scavenger Hunt

So for the photo classroom scavenger hunt, the only thing you need is the list of what you want your students to do and then take a picture of themselves (their teams) doing or finishing those items.  Once they have all the pictures, they are all set!  Just like the other classroom scavenger hunts, you can give out prizes after for the first team or first few teams.  Or you can just give out a prize to all.  Hint:  kids love food prizes.  Even if it’s some homemade chocolate chip cookies.  And if you don’t bake, but one of your students’ parents does, then you can still get that job done!

Here is a printable form for you to make your list of instructions for the pictures:

Picture classroom scavenger hunt

Types of Fun Scavenger Hunts

Identify the Picture

This was one of our classes’ all time fun scavenger hunts to do.  It does take some prep work on your part because you have to take the pictures and print them up.  But once you have done that, you will never have to do it again!  And you will have an instant game option for whenever you need it.

This is literally a perfect activity to do when you have lost your students’ attention and you all need a pick-me-up.

So what you do is take pictures of random things around your classroom (or wherever you are planning to do the hunt).  Make sure the pictures are zoomed in close enough that your students don’t figure out where it’s at by looking at what is surrounding it.  The best picture is the one showing only a portion of the thing you want them to find.

Some suggestions to make it more challenging are:

  • a portion of a picture hanging on the wall
  • a distinct portion of a piece of furniture
  • one of the corners of a window that has a certain view they will be able to distinguish

Hopefully that will be enough get you started.

Since your material for this is the pictures that you take, I don’t have a printable form for you.

Treasure Hunt

This one is a series of clues that leads your students to a final treasure chest filled with their prizes.

If you have the ability to make this one a multi-location one, that would make it much better for the kids, especially as they get closer to finding the treasure.  It won’t be as much fun if everyone sees where the first person or team went to find it.

This is actually the one treasure hunt that I would recommend you do as a single or teams of two just so it doesn’t turn into a mad dash to the treasure chest.

The prizes would be really simple small things.  Or it could even be cookies, fruit snacks, or some other fun food that is packaged up for them to reach in and take.

Here are a couple of things I found on Amazon that my son saw over my shoulder and made me buy, lol.  Just click on them for more information.

Antique Style Brass Look Keys for Treasure Chest Party Favors

Pirate Gold and Gems for Treasure Chest


You could use any of the above forms for this one, depending on how exactly you want to do it.

I generally would use the little Clue cards with the treasure on them.  I would just do about 5 or 6 clues, with the last one leading them straight to the treasure chest.

Actual Treasure Scavenger Hunt

In this classroom scavenger hunt, there are no specific clues.  The students are just looking around for little treasures.

The best example I can give for this is an Easter egg hunt.  In fact, I use Easter eggs, regardless of the time of year.  That is because they are so versatile to use in the context that we do our scavenger hunts.

You are going to have packs of Easter eggs (you can always find them online if it is not Easter season at the stores).  As many colors of eggs that you have is how many teams you will have.  So you will have a pink team, blue team, yellow team, orange team, green team, and whatever other colors.

Then you need to tell your student teams what colors they are looking for.  This will help to keep numbers consistent throughout the class, rather than a couple of students taking all of them ancd many students getting none.

You also want to establish a sense of camaraderie with the students so the better ones can help the ones having a more difficult time.  This is such an empathy building exercise, even though without any guidance it tends to have the opposite effect.

The treasures inside the eggs don’t have to be extravagant at all.  Just whatever items you can fit in the already small spaces.

Conclusion

So these are my ideas and printables for hosting your own classroom scavenger hunts.  Even if you end up doing all of them throughout the course of the school year, your students will not get bored!  In fact, they would probably love it if you did it once a week.  I never let my students talk me into that one, though, haha.

So please let me know how this worked for you!  And for those homeschoolers reading my blog (because of Coronavirus, that’s just about the whole world right now), let me know how it’s working for you as well!  I have done these with my boys and they loved it.

If you liked this article, I think you will like the following ones as well:

Best Games to Play in Class

How to Organize a Saturday Teacher Spa Day

How to Choose Perfect Middle School Art Projects

Best Indoor Recess Ideas:  Unique Classroom Ideas

New Year Party in the Middle School Classroom

This Post Has 88 Comments

  1. Amber Myers

    I can see kids loving this! My kids always love when fun stuff goes on in the classroom. We might do a scavenger hunt in the house, actually, to keep them busy.

    1. Marie

      My son was making me do this with him at 11:00 last night because he was so excited about it. I know your kids will love it too. Especially if there’s a candy bar or something at the end. 🙂

  2. Krysten Quiles

    Oh this is a great idea, I always loved scavenger hunts as a kid! Thanks so much for sharing this with all of us!

  3. Kelly

    This is clever! The school I work at has a geography scavenger hunt where there is a page with a question on each door of a classroom with the correct state on the back. 5th graders go off in teams of two and explore the “countryside” and find the states. They are quiet not to disturb other classrooms, but I see the pure enjoyment on each of their faces!

    1. Marie

      What a fun idea! Isn’t it awesome to see the kids having a good time?!

  4. I love scavenger hunts! they are always so much fun! I never took part of one at school but i did organize one for influencers in london!

    1. Marie

      Wow, what an opportunity!

  5. this is great way of engaging the kids! <3 I love the ideas. it will make them productive and have fun at the same time..

  6. Lisa

    What a novel idea, and a good way to keep the kids busy too in school! You’ve given some great ideas for a scavenger hunt that will be useful for families during this lockdown period.

  7. Joanna

    Scavenger hunts are so much fun! The best ones are don outdoors for sure, as it teaches children about environment and directions as well.

  8. Sayanti

    As a kid I loved scavenger hunts and it got me instantly excited. I loved mostly the ones that we did in our camping trips. It was adventurous, exciting and brought us close to the nature.

  9. Nyxinked

    If I had kids at home I would love to do a scavenger hunt around the home and garden right now. Somehow I think it would be boring with just my partner and two unwilling cats!

    1. Marie

      The cats may not cooperate very well. One of my cats got tripped over by my son running by. They both ran the same way at the same time to avoid each other and instead ran smack into each other.

  10. Hollie

    I can see my nieces and nephews loving this. I’m not a teacher and I don’t have children but what a fun idea.

    1. Marie

      Feel free to pass it along to them!

  11. Lyosha Varezhkina

    Sounds like so much fun! great idea for teachers

  12. Shelby Johnson

    Oh my goodness!! Love this post. I’ve never done a scavenger hunt in my classroom but this is something I may do next year!

    1. Marie

      That would be awesome, Shelby! I know your students will love it!

  13. Your website is such a fun resource for students. I would have loved a scavenger hunt as a student. Never had such a thing. I remember my first grade teacher (and I don’t remember most of them). She was the nicest teacher ever. And if we were good students and did well in class, she would allow us to watch a movie in class and bring in popsicles. Love when teachers are creative. 🙂

    1. Marie

      My first grade teacher was Mrs. Kimball. She was the most amazingly nice and beautiful woman. Isn’t it amazing how we can remember that stuff from when we were so little?

  14. I have always loved the idea of a photo scavenger hunt. It’s a fun way to take the traditional hunt and spin it for an older group. I have been involved in a few activities and events for high school aged kids, and last year a photo scavenger hunt was included with one. It was SO much fun watching the kids make it happen!

    1. Marie

      It is one of my favorites too! Thank you for sharing your experience! ♥

  15. aisasami

    Thanks for the useful tips and very creative ways of making different types of hunts. I use it a lot in the classroom as it is super fuN!

  16. World In Eyes

    I have an experience of teaching and training on classroom management, so I understand the importance of classroom management. Pairs, groups, presentations, discussion, play and refresher all the points are important. Great ideas you have shared.

  17. Matt Taylor

    Scavenger hunts are so fun! My singles group just did one of these over Zoom. They would call out some item, and then we had to run around our house and find the item and bring it back to our desk and show them. We got points for 1st, 2nd, 3rd. It was awesome, and a great way to get some extra steps in, haha.

  18. Nicole Anderson

    Scavenger Hunts are such great activities to have for children at school. Not only do they learn in the process but their communication and interaction skills improve at the same time. Love how you have provided templates here to go with the different types of hunts you have suggested.

    1. Marie

      Thank you, Nicole!

    2. Matt Taylor

      I know right? Such a fun activity for kids. And the perfect way to learn. And you could make it themed according to the time of year.

  19. TheSuperMomLife

    We love scavenger hunts! Unfortunately it doesn’t look like my kids will be back in their classrooms until the end of the year.

    1. Marie

      You can do these at home then!!!

  20. norma

    What good tips. I will recommend this to my friend who is a teacher. Thanks for the inspiration.

  21. Ramil Hinolan

    Teachers need to be creative inside the classroom to make the students go back to their classes everyday. I salute you for sharing this post.

    1. Marie

      Thank you, Ramil!

  22. Jordan

    I just love this idea! I’ve been seeing virtual scavenger hunts at home, too. So fun and engaging!

    1. Marie

      Thank you, Jordan! My kids had a great time with them. It took me forever to write that article because we kept stopping to watch extra videos. They were all amazing!

  23. Stacy B Miller

    This is a very nice and informative article. We can all practice this in classroom. Kids will really love it.

    1. Marie

      Thank you, Stacy!

  24. Kenny Ngo

    I hope that my son’s school will do this. It should be a fun thing to do.

    1. Marie

      You are welcome to share this with his teachers!

  25. World In Eyes

    Article is very much informative; the schools are still closed here from last week of February 2020. I have shared your articles with my friend he is a teacher…. These are useful for him.

    1. Marie

      I hope he enjoys them and would welcome hearing from him! Thank you, Teerath!

  26. My neighbor’s school where she is teaching tried to do this, but the COVID19 placed everything on hold, I believe this is a very good idea, helps them to gain experience and explore educationally.

    1. Marie

      I hope they get to do it when they get back to school. Thank you for sharing with me!

  27. Alexis

    Scavenger hunts are so much fun! I love your ideas. Thanks for these resources.

    1. Marie

      Thank you, Alexis!

  28. ninalehan21

    i loved taking part in Scavenger hunts when i was a child. Such wealth of information and resources.

    1. Marie

      Thank you, Nina!

  29. charlenemarie11

    Ooh I love a good scavenger hunt! This is such a good idea! The kids will love it!

  30. Brianna

    Such good ideas you shared!!! My kids would love so many of these!

  31. Dreams Abroad

    What a great idea for the classroom. I am sure students everywhere will have a great time doing this.

  32. Romy

    I love a good scavenger hunt! Thanks for all the the great templates you shared here

  33. Danielle

    This is such a fun and easy way to get kids to be engaged while having fun!

  34. Lavern Moore

    Every time I visit your blog, I learn something new and this is no exception. This time scavenger hunts. I can’t wait to read more!

    1. Marie

      Thank you, Lavern. ♥

  35. Jessie

    Thank you for adding to give extra clues if necessary. I know that seems small but that can make it or break it!

  36. blair villanueva

    This is indeed a very enjoyable activity.
    I remember back in grade school, we did this kind of scavenger hunt with a twist. We were task to hunt in a very cluttered room, and we ended up cleaning the entire room, squeaky clean. We don’t have school janitor then. Anyway, we get awesome grades from our teacher.

    1. Marie

      Wow, that is an awesomely creative teacher you had! I wonder if that will work with my kids around the house, lol. Thanks for sharing!

  37. Shannon Gurnee

    This is such a cute idea! I’m looking at getting my Teaching Credential and am starting to look for ideas to use in the classroom, as well as in my home.

  38. Arris Gawe

    This is such an amazing post! Thanks for the ideas!

  39. Elizabeth O

    This time of pandemic lockdown everything is on hold. I will have to share this with my friends teacher. She really need or use this when everything is back to normal.

  40. Elizabeth O

    This sounds so much for kids. When everything gets back to normal teacher needs to consider this scavenger hunt games.

  41. Bill

    Scavenger hunts are always a great way to get the kids excited about learning. It gets them out and about, and it’s exciting for them to learn about what they find.

  42. Emman Damian

    We do this a lot in our class. It’s fun and you get to learn a lot from your classmates. It’s very collaborative!

    1. Marie

      That’s awesome, Emman! And the collaborative part is the best!

  43. Iris Findlay

    This looks like so much fun! I want to be a kid again!

    1. Marie

      I know, right?! We need to do one for the adults, lol!

  44. Ben

    A scavenger hunt is a great idea. It makes for a unique learning experience that’s a bit of a break from the humdrum, let’s the kids work off some excess energy, and gives them an hands-on learning experience. I love this.

    1. Marie

      Thanks, Ben!

  45. Ashley t

    This sounds like so much fun! Scavenger hunts are the best.

    1. Marie

      I love them myself, Ashley! I may have my kids make one for me, lol!

  46. Kileen

    What a neat and fun idea for the classroom! I’m sure all the kids would love to do a scavenger hunt like this!

    Kileen
    cute & little

    1. Marie

      Thank you, Kileen! This is actually a great activity for your kids to do with their friends or in your neighborhood with whole families! Anywhere you can get a group of people together is perfect. Just for now we have to remember social distancing, but it still works!

  47. Ann

    You always have such great ideas for the kids, I love reading your blog!

    1. Marie

      Thank you, Ann!

  48. katrina Kroeplin

    this is such a cute idea. i def need to forward this over to some friends that would do this for their classroom.

    1. Marie

      I hope they enjoy it, Katrina!

  49. Hazel

    This looks like a fun classroom activity. It makes me wish I have a nephew or niece I can play this activity with!

    1. Marie

      Haha, my sister always borrows my kids to play with! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Hazel. 🙂

  50. Toni Dash

    This is such a great idea!! So fun for kids! I’m sure they’ll enjoy this!

    1. Marie

      My kids definitely loved it as well as the students I did it with!

  51. Brianna S

    So cute!! I just did this with my kids, thanks so much!

    1. Marie

      I’m so glad you had a good time with it, Brianna! It makes a great party game too!

  52. blair villanueva

    This is a lot more fun and exciting! I bet the kids would love to take part in this scavenger hunt.

  53. Ana

    I am certain my little niceces would love to be part of this scavenger hunt! Kudos to you for sharing this gem!

  54. Ntensibe Edgar

    Hhhmmmm….this is actually a good idea. Won’t I need a lot of space for it, hhmm? I wonder….

  55. Emman Damian

    Scavenger Hunt can be fun! It helps them develop social skills and also help them be more sociable to other kids.

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