How to Set Up a Scavenger Hunt

By Joan Collins

By definition, a scavenger hunt it is a game where people or teams try to locate miscellaneous items listed on a sheet of paper and be the first to bring them back to the starting place. Players hurry to find the items, either on the Internet, in the classroom, inside the house, outside in the yard or around town. Scavenger hunts are only limited by the imagination of the list's creator. It can be a game of fun or a game of awareness.

Scavenger Hunt in a Car

Create the theme of your scavenger hunt. If the hunt is only one game played at your party, match the hunt with the theme of your party. Birthdays and holidays are two events where scavenger hunts can be played. If the scavenger hunt is the main activity, choose a theme like fast food, household items or sports paraphernalia. Match your list items to the theme.

Send out invitations to guests, asking for a R.S.V.P reply. Use this information to set up your teams before the first guest arrives. Keep teams small, between three and five members. Mix the abilities within each group.

Make a list of 10 to 15 items to be found. These items shouldn't be common items that can be found anywhere. Include items like chopsticks or a Big Mac wrapper that require the hunters to go to different places to obtain the treasures. Avoid costly items that participants would have to buy.

Explain the rules of the game to everyone. All members of the group must stay together. If the participants will travel in a car, the rules of the road must be followed and safety precautions must be observed. Have a responsible adult drive each car. The first person or group to complete the list or find the prize to win the game will be the first to return to the starting point with the proof.

Ask everyone to gather at the same place at the same time. Pass out the lists and start the game. Be creative. Have a countdown or wave a flag to get the game going.

Have a flag at the finishing point. The winning team must grab the flag. This ends a tie between two groups that arrive close together.

Scavenger Hunt for One Item

Create a theme for your scavenger hunt. Because you have only one item, the theme will appear in the clues. For example, if it's a youth group from church, use Bible verses for the clues. Provide each group with a flashlight.

List clues instead of items. The participants follow the clues in search of the same item. Everyone tries to get the the same item, but the player or group to get there first wins the game. Make the clues cryptic. Instead of saying, "Check by the living room window," say "Look to the east, beyond the living room wall" or some other phrase that makes players figure out it's the window on the eastern wall.

Gather all of the players or groups in one location. Give everyone an envelope with the first clue. Blow a whistle or say "Go!" Start all the players at the same time, though. Only the winning player or team gets the prize.

Digital Camera Scavenger Hunt

Provide each team with a digital camera. If you don't have enough cameras, ask players to bring their own. Cameras will be used to take pictures of the list items. No items will be collected.

Create a list. Include items like statues, fast-food workers, avocados and other items you can't carry or have to buy. Require a member of the group to be in each photo beside or holding the item. This is a game that creates awareness of an issue for the players. Include items like homeless shelter, food bank or nursing home for a theme about where people who need help in the community could find assistance.

Place a flag at the finish line. When the first team grabs the flag, download the photographs and check off items from the list. The first team to arrive with pictures of all of the list's items wins the game.

About the Author

Joan Collins began writing in 2008. Specializing in health, marriage, crafts and money, her articles appear on eHow. Collins earned a Bachelor of Arts in education from the University of Northern Colorado and a Master of Arts in instructional technology from American InterContinental University.