How to Design a Scavenger Hunt for 8-12 Year-Olds: A Trail of Misfit Objects

By Dana Rongione
Scavenger hunts help instill a sense of teamwork.

Kids, no matter their age, love scavenger hunts, but eight to twelve-year olds seem to get particularly excited. There is a thrill in searching for the unknown, solving a mystery or striving to accomplish a ridiculous task. Scavenger hunts are becoming a must have at parties because parents are discovering it to be an easy and inexpensive way to entertain a group of children for a long period of time. In fact, there are even several online sites now that specialize in setting up scavenger hunts for a fee. Setting up your own takes a little time and ingenuity, but it can save you big bucks in the long run.

Determine the location for your scavenger hunt. Are you having it at your house, around the neighborhood or at a nearby park? Is the area within walking distance, or will transportation be needed?

Study the location. Once you've decided where to host the hunt, study the area thoroughly to get ideas.

Determine the type of scavenger hunt you wish to host. There are many varieties of hunts, including those where the participants find items on a list, those where the participants follow one clue to the next until reaching the final destination, those where the participants must take pictures of particular items or activities and so on. You can choose any of the above or combine them to create a more unique hunt.

Write the clues. Once you've determined the type of hunt, write out clues or directions accordingly. Unless you're doing the type where one clue leads to the next, it works best if all clues and directions are on one page.

Type out the clues and directions on bright paper and use exciting pictures and fonts. Use words that the children can read and understand.

Divide your group into teams of no more than ten members. For the younger ones, it often helps to give each team member a shirt, necklace or badge that signifies to which team he belongs to (i.e., the blue team all have on blue shirts).

Assign a chaperone to each group. The chaperone is there to observe and take pictures if necessary but not to aid in solving clues or riddles.

Distribute a digital camera to each chaperone if you have any parts of the hunt that must be photographed. Make sure that each camera has fresh batteries.

Award prizes at the end of the hunt for the team who finished the fastest or who found the most items.

Tip

Get permission from all parents before taking their children to another location.

About the Author

Dana Rongione has been writing since 2004. Her articles have appeared in "Teacher's Interaction" magazine, "Teachers of Vision" magazine and "Devo'zine." She is also the author of nine books. Rongione received two certificates of completion from The Institute of Children's Literature. She holds a Bachelor of Science in elementary education from Tabernacle Baptist Bible College.