Play Right: Celebrate Scavenger Hunt Day with a Home-Grown Challenge!

Did you know that May 24th is National Scavenger Hunt Day?

If you're looking for an activity for the long Memorial Day weekend, we've got you covered. A DIY scavenger hunt is a great way to keep kids' brains engaged, get the whole family involved, and make some delightful memories from home! 

What's in the ultimate scavenger hunt recipe?

scavenger hunt is a creative activity where teammates work together to find a list of objects, tackle a set of challenges, solve a collection of puzzles, or work on a mix of all three to find a reward (and bragging rights!) at the end. 

Here's how to create the best home scavenger hunt. Combine:

  • 3 cups of creative puzzles
  • 2 ounces of educational opportunities
  • 1 tablespoon physical activity
  • 1 sprinkle of awesome rewards
  • A heaping scoop of family fun! 

To start, create a guide for your kids to follow. For early readers, this might be a collection of riddles or a fill-in-the-blank story they finish by completing puzzles. For younger kids or kids who like visual cues, try a treasure map with destinations along the way, and X marking the spot for treasure! 

The best puzzles have the best solutions!

Looking for a clever way to get your kids' thinking caps on? Here are a few suggestions for fun puzzles or challenges to include in your scavenger hunt. 

  • Finders Keepers. Channel the spirit of the traditional scavenger hunt with a collection of items your kids need to find around the house. These can come in the form of instructions, pictures, or riddles (for example, instead of saying "Find a clock," try a clever clue like, "I have hands, but don't have fingers, and numbers on my face!").  
  • Let Logic Lead. Challenge your kids with a brain teaser or logic puzzle. This works well as the next "destination" on a trail to complete a scavenger hunt. You could challenge your kids to complete a simple picture puzzle, present math problems (hidden as riddles, of course), or try one of these fun brain teasers from Prodigy
  • Get Creative With Images. You can create easy picture puzzles with just a few minutes' preparation. Have your kids complete a word search or crossword puzzle to find their next clue, or write words backwards on an index card so they have to use a mirror to read them. 

Get active along the way!

To get your kids up and moving, try adding a physical activity component to the challenge. Mix up your puzzles with some variety by alternating science- or logic-focused clues with physical challenges. 

  • Add Some Obstacles. Create a home obstacle course with challenges like jumping from pillow to pillow, crawling under a table, or digging something up you've prepped in the backyard. For added fun, work the challenge into the "story" of your scavenger hunt. Are your kids following in the footsteps of fearless explorers? Are they hunting down clues like archaeologists? 
  • Act Like Animals. Challenge your kids to identify local wildlife and mimic their movements. Flap their arms like birds, hop like squirrels, run and wag their "tails" like the family dog. 
  • Practice Your Balance. A balance challenge is a great way to help kids build concentration--and probably get some good giggles out of the deal, too. Challenge your kids to "cross a river" by balancing their way across a narrow path you've laid out in the back yard, or staying very still in a challenging pose so that a creeping monster doesn't catch them! 
  • Go on a Hike  Take a walk through the woods and look for objects in nature.  You can find great checklists like these online. 

How will you celebrate?

When the fun's over, it's time to celebrate! Here are a few suggestions for fun-focused rewards you can use as the treasure at the end of your hunt. 

  • Dig Up Buried Treasure. This one takes a little preparation, but can be a LOT of fun. Prep a spot in your backyard (if you don't want to dig a real hole, you can fill a kiddie pool with sand or dirt) and bury a well-covered "treasure." This could be a plastic bin full of puzzles and games, supplies for a family cook-out, or a fun present like a new set of themed jammies!
  • Have Your Kids Present Their Findings. The best archaeologists and explorers present the results of their expeditions in front of their peers. Have the whole family dress up and pretend to hold a museum conference. Put on silly voices and take turns presenting what you learned from your adventure. 
  • Capture the Memories. Now that the fun is wrapping up, have your kids pose with the things they collected along their journey, and snap some fun photos. Work together to add the photos to a family scrapbook, and include snippets from each challenge you completed together. 

We hope everyone in the New Jammies family has a fun, safe, and healthy Memorial Day weekend!