How To Do A Scavenger Hunt

If you’ve not organized one before, you’ll need to know how to do a scavenger hunt,

Here’s our step-by-step guide:


First of all, pick a theme or topic as this will affect how to do the rest of the steps. The theme relates to the items that the players will need to find.

For example, you may choose to do a scavenger hunt based on a special day or holiday like:

Alternatively, you could pick a theme that relates to something you want the players to discover more about – these are popular when organizing scavenger hunts for kids and teenagers. Examples include:

Or it could be completely random – just give players a list of various items that they need to find.


The next step in knowing how to do a scavenger hunt is to decide on what type of hunt you want to do. It’ll usually either be an item, photo or video scavenger hunt, but occasionally it might simply be observational.


Players have to collect as many items on the list as they can.


Instead of having items to collect, players have to perform tasks. This is usually played as a photo or video scavenger hunt so that there’s proof that the tasks have been completed.


Players have to take pictures of as many items or tasks on the list as they can.


Players are given tasks that they have to complete that require filming rather than just having photos taken.


This tends to be used when the above options aren’t available, such as when doing a road trip scavenger hunt.


Next, pick a location. This may be obvious based on the theme (e.g. mall scavenger hunt), but other options could be indoors, the neighborhood, church, the city, etc.


Provide the players / teams with a list of items they need to find – check out our scavenger hunt lists for downloadable lists that you can print off.

In addition to items, we like to add bonus tasks to make it even more fun. The tasks are scored slightly differently in that players earn the bonus points based on their creativity, ingenuity, humor, etc, rather than simply for completing it.

Here are some ideas of the kind of bonus tasks you could include:

  • “I can’t believe we all fit in here!”
  • Weirdest Christmas decoration
  • Members of the public pulling scary faces (when doing a Halloween photo scavenger hunt)

Time Limit

Set a time limit that they have to return by. It can be worth imposing a penalty of -1 point for each minute a player is late – this discourages cheating by spending longer on the scavenger hunt than others.


Advise players of any specific rules, such as where they can and can’t go. If you’re doing this with a youth group or for a children’s birthday party and you’re going to be out in public, it might also be worth setting expectations for their behavior.


Once the players have finished or their time’s ended, total up how many points each player’s scored – remember to award bonus points if you included any extra tasks.


Consider awarding a prize to the winner(s), especially if doing this with kids or teenagers (although adults usually wouldn’t say no to a prize either!)

So that’s how to do a scavenger hunt. If you’re feeling stuck at the first step of picking a theme, check out our scavenger hunt ideas for some inspiration.