The Ultimate Guide to Treasure Hunts and Scavenger Hunts

Scavenger hunts can be a fun addition to any family reunion or party.  We’ve included several fun scavenger ideas in this blog that can easily be personalized to your own situation. Scavenger hunts aren’t just for kids though- teenagers and young adults love scavenger hunts too.

 

Video Scavenger Hunt

Divide everyone into 2 or more teams. Give each team a list of video-taping scenarios such as those in the list below. Be sure each team has a way to take videos and that phones or cameras are completely charged.  Most importantly, set a time limit, so that you don’t have dead time waiting for everyone to return.

Once you’ve gathered your teams, your clues and your video equipment, each team takes off in their cars or on foot and attempts to complete all of the tasks on their list. The first team to  complete all tasks on  the list is the winner.

Provide popcorn or other treats as you watch the videos.  Consider giving prizes for the most creative videos and best actors.

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Puzzle Treasure Hunt

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Take a picture of where the treasure will be hidden.  Cut up the picture of the location into several pieces. (The older the participants the more pieces)

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Hide the pieces in a designated area. Players search for the pieces then try to assemble the puzzle to get the prize or treasure.

Sandbox Treasure Hunt

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Sandbox treasure hunts are tried and true hunts.  Hide pennies, nickels and quarters in sand or saw dust.  Be sure and keep the sawdust and sand contained in a #10 tub, children’s pool or on a sheet of plastic. 

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Who’s Got the Key? Treasure Hunt

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Gather as many spare keys that you can find. You will need a lot of keys so ask family members to bring their keys also. You can purchase large lots of key blanks on eBay for under $10.00. Hardware stores that make keys usually keep a bucket of reject keys that they are often happy to get rid. Buy a lock and key. Put the lock on a treasure chest or box of some sort with a hidden treasure in it. Hide all of the keys including the key that will open the lock. Everyone searches for a key, when they find a key they try it in the lock- if it doesn’t work they search for another key until someone finds the correct key and opens the treasure.

Nature Scavenger Hunt

This is a great idea for the younger children in your family. Gather 12 random things from your yard, reunion  site or party location. Take pictures of the items and print on cardstock.  Glue to the top of an egg carton  and send them out to find the items.  The egg carton provides the perfect place to store the items they find.

A more complicated version of a nature scavenger hunt is pictured below.  The drawing next to each item make the hunt a little easier.  This type of hunt could be used for an  entire day can be a way to entertain kids when they aren’t excited about other activities that might be planned.

Digital Camera Treasure Hunt- idea 1

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This is such a fun idea for a family reunion. You’ll need one digital camera or phone with camera for each team. Give each team a list of things to take pictures of.  If you want to put a family history spin on this hunt, challenge teams to find:

  • Someone who served in a war
  • Oldest relative at the reunion
  • Youngest relative at the reunion
  • Relative that  has won a trophy
  • Someone that had a rotary dial phone
  • Relative who came the farthest distance to the reunion
  • Someone who has lived out  of the country
  • The couple that has been married the longest

You get the idea- it’s fun to really make teams talk to their older relatives to find out the information.  Be sure and take a team picture with each relative.

Digital Camera Treasure Hunt- idea 2

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Cousin Bobbie planned a digital camera hunt as part of our Thanksgiving fun a few years ago.  We had to find as many things on our list as possible, take a picture of them and return back to the meeting area and determine the winner.  We had to find things like a scarecrow, pumpkin, cat, turkey and Christmas lights.

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“I Spy” Scavenger Hunt for Weddings and Receptions

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Provide a list of “I Spy” photo opportunities and a disposable camera on each table.  As guest eat their refreshments they can look for the list and snap a picture.  These photos will give the bride and groom a different perspective of the wedding festivities.  A printable list such as the one below is available on Etsy.

Scavenger Hunt Clues Using Pictures

Take a picture of the location of a hidden clue but only take a portion of the picture. In the example below you can see that just a portion of the word is shown.  You could do part of a clock, drinking fountain, corner of tent, a car wheel with interesting rims etc.  When the hunters figure out what the clue is a picture of they run to that location to get their next picture clue and so on until they find the treasure.  This does take some advance planning but makes for fun hunt for even the very young that may not be good readers.

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Secret Codes Hunt

Writing secret codes is another way to generate clues. Using numbers in place of letters is an easy way to create the code (1=a, 2=b, etc.), but  using a backwards letter code can make things a little extra challenging. Decipher the  clue to find out where to look for their next clue.


Urban Race Scavenger Hunt

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As a Youth Council advisor for our town, I had the fun opportunity to participate in a Great Urban Race at Utah State University.  The teenagers learned a lot about the university by unscrambling clues and completing challenges to complete the race.  The kids loved it and I couldn’t help but think what a fun activity it could be for a family reunion, especially if you held your reunion in a town that your family had ties to. 

Urban Race is the team race that’s part photo hunt and part trivia. Teams must solve clues to find checkpoints throughout the city. To move on they must take photos or perform certain tasks to earn points such as collecting:

  • A restaurant napkin
  • A get a take-out menu from a Chinese restaurant
  • A disposable toilet seat cover
  • A stranger’s autograph
  • A coupon
  • A copy of the front page of the local newspaper
  • A change of address card from the post-office

The fun part of an urban race is that the use of cellphones is  okay. Teams may call family members left back at the reunion site to get help with difficult trivia. Everyone gets a chance to participate in the fun.

Riddle Clues

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The most difficult part of a treasure or scavenger hunt for me is making up the  clues, it’s also time consuming. I found a website that can help with that- it’s called “Riddle Me”. They have over Over 10,000 Riddles on 1,200 objects and can target different age groups and types of gatherings.  Their program also lets you be in control over the time of the activity, because it lets you decide how many clues to print in a scavenger hunt.

Happy Hunting- Aunt MO

Family Reunion Road Rally Scavenger Hunt

A road rally scavenger hunt can be a fun activity at your next family reunion or party.  A road rally scavenger hunt is really nothing more than an  scavenger hunt using cars.

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There is no limit to the number of teams you can have with a scavenger hunt just be sure you  have a seat belt for each person in your car and an adult driver for each car.  Give each team team a digital camera or ask teams to bring a camera on your invitation to the reunion.  Require that photographic evidence be taken of each task that is completed.

Create a list of tasks that are safe and time friendly.  Give each task or challenge a point value.  The photo that would the hardest to get should get the highest points.  You can award additional points for creativity or for extra effort.

Set a time limit for the group to be back. It should be reasonable-anywhere from 1 to 2 hours, enough time to get the amount of photos in the scavenger hunt.

When the group comes back, compare pictures. It is most fun to project the pictures up on a large screen or wall so that everyone can see the photos the other teams took. There will be lots of cheering and booing but being able to view all the photos just makes the activity that much more fun.

Award prizes to the winning team and consider giving the driver of the winning car a gas card.

Road Rally Scavenger Hunt Ideas

Below is a list of suggestions for your road rally scavenger hunt:

1.  Find a gumball machine and buy one gumball for everyone in your car.  Take a picture of everyone blowing a bubble- score 1 point for every bubble in the picture.

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2. Find an out of state license plate take a picture.  Score 1 point, 2 points for an Alaska or Hawaii plate.  Or perhaps license plate with the letter "Q" on it.

3. Make a human pyramid in front of the fountain at the Mall. Ask someone to take a picture for you.

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4. Take a picture of someone walking a dog.

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5.  Find someone to dance on Main Street and take their picture.

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6. Do a Chinese fire drill at a stop sign.

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7.  Take a picture of a moon. (This photo scored extra points for creativity because the team went into a book store and found the moon on a book.)

8. Find a phone booth. See how many of your team can fit into the phone booth. Have someone take your picture.  Score one point for each person in the booth.

9. Go to a Department Store and act like mannequins until someone notices you. Get a picture in the store.

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10. Go to a gas station and put 1.00 worth of gas in your car- take a picture of the pump with $1.00 on it.  Deduct one point for every cent you are over or under.

11. Go to a motel or hotel and take a group photo by room number 222.

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12. Go to the slide of the nearest playground and get of picture of each team member going down it.

13. Go to a convenience store like 7/11 and have everyone walk in backwards up and down the aisles. stop at register, buy a candy bar and walk out backwards. Take a picture of the 7/11 door.

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You can also ask teams to get pictures of a spire, school or perhaps a sign with your family name on it.   If you are getting together during a holiday season ask teams for pictures of holiday decorations- for instance, a turkey at Thanksgiving time or someone sitting on Santa’s lap during the Christmas season.

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NOTE:  You can also plan a scavenger hunt using public transportation but will need to budget more time for the activity.

You can find more automobile themed party ideas in a blog Aunt Mo wrote about a Family Reunion Hot Wheels Party.