Best Scavenger Hunt Clue Ideas

Updated on June 7, 2018
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Whether it is for a party, a team-building event, or scouting event, planning a scavenger hunt is a lot of work. I have been creating scavenger hunts for my children (age 13 and 10), since my oldest was three, so I have gotten better through the years. I use a variety of tools in order to make the clues interesting and give the kids an age-appropriate challenge.Below are some of the different types of clues that I use to create a fun, entertaining hunt for any occasion.

Fill-in the Blank Clues

It’s fun to watch people rack their brains trying to come up with the right clues, which is why "Atom Smasher's Word Puzzle Generator" (Google this term to find the page) is great for this purpose. This web page has a Wheel of Fortune puzzle generator which has up to four lines for you to type in your clue. Use underscore “_” to create a blank box. Then when you are done, you can print the picture out and use it as a clue. Here’s a picture of one of the clues that I used for my children’s Christmas Scavenger Hunt:

Answer:  Next clue is near the television

Rhyming Clues

Rhyming clues usually take the most time to create, but are worth it. The key is to be descriptive, while still providing a challenge. If you enjoy rhyming clues and have the time for them, RhymeZone.com is a great site where you can type in the word that you need a rhyme for and are given tons of suggestions.

Mirror Clues

What's more fun than having to run to a mirror in order to read your clue. Kids love this, after they figure out that the message is written backwards, of course. If you don't have software that makes your message appear backwards and you're mind is too numb from creating all these clever clues to do it yourself, Upsidedowntext.com is the site to visit. Just enter your clue and the mirrored text appears on the bottom text box..ti ot si ereht lla s'tahT

Rebus Clues

These types of clues are tons of fun, especially for kids. Figuring them out can take a bit, but it's a challenging addition to the hunt. Festisite.com is an awesome site that creates rebus (or is it rebuses...I don't know) for you. Just click on "rebus" at the top right of the page and type in your clue. Print it out and add it to your hunt. See if you can figure this one out:

Picture Clues

Picture clues are great for younger kids, particularly if they cannot read yet. The first hunt I did for my daughter, she was only 3 and very into Blue's Clues. So, we put little Blue's Clues stamps on one side and on the other we drew the location of the clue (easy stuff, like a bathtub, tv, bed, etc.). She thoroughly enjoyed her first scavenger hunt, particularly her present at the end.

Another way of doing picture clues is to either take a picture or print an image of an object where you want to hide another clue, then cut the picture into about 4 or more pieces, as seen below. You can place each piece as an additional part of a clue so that at the end, the participants can gather up all the picture pieces to find their final prize.

Online Clues

Trivia clues fit into this category. They are especially useful for teachers who want to incorporate a hunt as part of their lesson plan. A good example is:

Add the year that Columbus founded America, by the age that George Washington was when he died, plus one. Divide this number by eight. The answer will provide you with the location of your next clue.

Then, of course, you can provide a paper with different codes, like 192= under the dining room table, 195= the mailbox, etc. Not only is this fun, but it’s a great way to teach kids about a piece of history. (By the way, the answer to the clue above is 195, in case you were wondering.)

Online clues are also useful if you want the participants to find a certain missing word. Just find a web page that has the name of an item where you plan to hide a clue, then write down the web address, paragraph number and word number on the clue. Using a web page as hunting ground adds variety to your scavenger hunt.

Secret Code Clues

I once printed up a copy of Egyptian hieroglyphics and used it as a code. You can create your own using symbols or numbers. I have used pictures of a keyboard and numbered the keys. This is great because it actually provides two clues. First, the kids have to find a keyboard in order to solve the code, then they have to actually solve their individual clue. You can also use Morse code or even a telephone number pad as secret codes.

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Maze Clues

These clues are a little more challenging, so they are probably best for kids age 10 and up. Go to Festisite.com, click on "Maze" at the top right and insert your clue. The site gives you a PDF of your maze that you can print out, like this one:

Draw a line with a highlighter from the start of the maze to the end. When you are finished, read the highlighted message.


Word Search Clues

Pick a place where you would like to hide your clue and write it down, either going across, down, backwards, etc, like “PLANT.” Then pick a different word that does not have any matching letters as the letters in your clue word, like “COMB”. Ask the participant to cross out all the letters that are in the word “COMB”, thereby revealing the clue word. This is a simple clue to solve and can be used with kids 10 and under.

Treasure Maps

Finally, one of my favorite clues -- the treasure map. No other clue matches the sense of adventure that this type of clue provides (IMO). This clue is best used if you are doing a neighborhood or park hunt, though it works well if you have a large house too. Just draw out the hunting grounds and place a big X where the final treasure lies. As with the picture clues, you can cut the map up into 4 or more pieces and add them to certain clues. Once the participant comes to their final clue, they can tape up the pieces of the map they have collected and make their way to their "treasure."

There you have it, numerous ideas for creating scavenger hunt clues. Remember that creating these clues takes time, so give yourself at least three days to a week in order to prepare your hunt. It will all be worth it at the end. Enjoy!

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    • profile image

      proud mom 

      11 months ago

      SOOO helpful!!! Thank you!! My daughter and her friends had an amazing time!!!

    • profile image

      Sue 

      17 months ago

      Great Ideas! Thank you so much!

    • profile image

      flagbearer 

      2 years ago

      Great ideas!!! I made a hunt for my grandson's 8th birthday and he absolutely loved it. His cousin kept saying, "Grandma, you got to do this for my birthday." He's a couple years older so I was looking for ideas that would make it more difficult.

      FYI my grandson's first clue was attached in the lid of a decorated altoid tin the remaining clues (12) took him around the house (inside and out) and brought him back to the altoid tin where his gift (cash) was under the first clue. My daughter's friend visiting from Australia was writing the rhyming clues down so she could do it with her grandkids back home.

      Who doesn't love the challenge of the hunt! Thanks so much for the ideas. I can see using many of them many times.

    • profile image

      shaun143 

      2 years ago

      Thank you so much for this page. I love the ideas. You have me excited to start planning for this hunt for Valentines Day. Thank you

    • ilikegames profile image

      Sarah Forester 

      4 years ago from Australia

      I used to love scavenger hunts! My mother would put them on for me all the time, this Hub brought back some great memories.

    • profile image

      theresa 

      5 years ago

      After having 5 sons and a daughter in that order, trying to become a police officer and manage getting through the day successfully, my self-designated SuperMom status and crown are humbly handed over to you, it's rightful owner.

    • profile image

      Anonymous 

      5 years ago

      Thanks so much!!!! It helps a LOT!!!!! I'm doing a treasure hunt for some friends, I'm sure they will have a blast with these ideas! =D

    • worldseeker profile imageAUTHOR

      worldseeker 

      5 years ago

      Rhondakim, I'm glad that this hub was so helpful for you! Thanks.

    • rhondakim profile image

      rhondakim 

      5 years ago from New York City

      Worldseeker, I have to write 4 scavenger hunts for a freelance writing job, and your hub has really helped me! Thank you so much for writing it and compiling all this great info! I voted it up, useful, awesome, and interesting! :)

    • profile image

      marisa 

      5 years ago

      hi i want to do this please

    • worldseeker profile imageAUTHOR

      worldseeker 

      5 years ago

      Abigail, thanks for bringing that to my attention. Bored.com no longer seems to provide the mirror image generator. I have updated my hub to show a new link (upsidedowntext.com) which does offer this word generator. Thanks and I hope you enjoy your hunt!

    • profile image

      Abigail 

      5 years ago

      Thanks for all these ideas, so wonderful and for the links too. Just one small hitch, I am trying to do the mirror image but can't find where on bored.com to input the word and have it converted? thanks so much for your help!

    • profile image

      notme 

      5 years ago

      great ideas my little brother will have so much fun

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      5 years ago

      thanx but where can i actually find some examples?

    • profile image

      ModernKlatch.blogspot.com 

      5 years ago

      This is so helpful! thanks for compiling!

    • profile image

      moomoo 

      5 years ago

      thanks for helping

    • profile image

      Katie Chapman 

      5 years ago

      Wow! Thanks so much...this is awesome!

    • profile image

      Laura 

      5 years ago

      Great ideas! I really appreciate the links that will help me create the clues with less effort.

    • profile image

      Sunny 

      5 years ago

      wow! These are some AWESOME ideas and links! Thank you sooo much! This is a HUGE help in planning a hunt.

    • profile image

      molly m 

      6 years ago

      name the perfect places and the odd one out is the one that they need to go to

    • profile image

      Anna 

      6 years ago

      We have two treasure hunts so far in a cottage country, and we made the kids digging the ground, getting on the water, and climb the tree. One of the clue I had was "To the Beginning of Every End" - I got the picture from Google Image, and Edit on Photoshop. Probably you can search the same image on google image search box - "To the Beginning of Every End". It has a treasure hunt background, just like real thing. The first time was not long, but the second time we learn the lesson, and the trick is: not to confuse the adult, we do one burying one at a time, and we manage to get to 9 location.

    • profile image

      Teachers Aide 

      6 years ago

      Thank you for your wonderful ideas. I will use some of these ideas with my special needs child who needs engaging activities to do. You have helped so much.

    • profile image

      yulia 

      6 years ago

      Thanks you so much! Sucha a great article & amazing links.

      Will help me a lot to preare my first ever Scavenger hunt

    • profile image

      Can't say 

      6 years ago

      Thank you so much! I did this last year for my younger sister who was turning 10, but this year I was stumped! I did a couple trivia questions with mutiple choice but I ran out of pictures! Thank you again!

    • profile image

      jjj 

      6 years ago

      awesome! great ideas!

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