Scavenger Hunt

By Amanda Bindel, Toca Magazine Writer

Scavenger hunts are a fun, active way to play with words and practice critical thinking.

  • Category: Active play
  • Target age: 4 and up
  • Skill level: Beginner
  • Materials: Stuff you probably have at home
  • Prep time: 30 minutes to 1 hour


What You’ll Need

  • paper and pen or markers for clues
  • prize or other object to discover at end of hunt

Kick the creativity up a notch by creating clues with letters cut from magazines or using other unexpected or themed items.

The Activity

  • Brainstorm where you’ll place the clues

Choose spots your kids will be familiar with that are safe from curious pets or wandering toddlers. Some ideas: snack pantry, a bathroom mirror, their pillow, the flatware drawer or a potted plant.

  • Start at the end and work your way forward

When writing and placing the clues, you’ll need to start with the final clue and work your way forward. Place your destination prize. Then write a clue that will lead to that location. Place that clue, and then write a clue leading to it to place in the next location. So on and so on. The ages of the kids (and their attention spans) should be your guide for how many clues to place. A good starting guideline is to give them no more than their age number in clues, so six clues max for a 6-year-old.


  • Get creative when writing your clues

Be as creative as you want! This is the second most fun part. (The first is watching the kids enjoy the hunt.) You can choose a theme and tie all of the clues in to it, or make each clue rhyme, or really challenge with brainteaser-style clues that have to be solved before moving to the next one.


  • Hide the clues in reverse order

    Place the clues in reverse order, as described above.

  • Gather the kids to begin the hunt

For older tweens and teens: Rather than writing out rhyming clues, give them a list of interesting objects or situations and send them out into the neighborhood or around the mall to take pictures of what they find. This is also great fun as a competition between two teams — whoever makes it back to the meeting spot with pictures of all the clues gets first choice on the food.


Share a photo and win!

Share a photo of your family doing this activity in the comments on our Facebook post or on Twitter with #31DaysofPlay! Every Friday we’ll choose one photo from the week to win a Toca Boca Play Kit full of swag, stickers, and a $15 iTunes Gift Card.

About the Author


Amanda Bindel, Toca Magazine Writer

Amanda Bindel writes about play and learning, but more importantly she plays and she learns. She has two daughters, ages 10 and 6.