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Scavenger Hunts

So, why are we having a whole section on Scavenger Hunts when our website is devoted to Treasure Hunts? Often times the words scavenger hunt and treasure hunt are erroneously interchanged. For a full description of the two and how they differ from each other, visit our post here: TREASURE HUNTS VS SCAVENGER HUNTS. If after reading the difference between the two you find that you were actually looking to plan a Scavenger Hunt, we've provided a short section and resource to make sure that you were taken care of, as well!

Although there are many different types of scavenger hunts one can create and organize, they can be grouped into a few different categories:

ITEMS TO COLLECT - This is perhaps the most traditional type of scavenger hunt where the participants begin with a list of items that they must acquire within a certain time frame. The lists can vary and even be encrypted, but the format remains the same. There are also two different ways to collect the items. The first is to have it open where the participants are able to collect the items in any way they'd like. The other is to have specific items that the participants must find - once one team finds the item, nobody else can obtain that item.

PICTURES TO TAKE - In this type of scavenger hunt, rather than collecting items to turn in at the end of the hunt for points, the participants must take a variety of specific photos detailed on a list of some sort.


TASKS TO COMPLETE - Scavenger Hunts within this format require specific tasks to complete. This particular format is the most 'open' and can include any number of tasks.
To visit our Scavenger Hunt FAQ Page (Frequently Asked Questions) - click HERE.
We currently have several themed Scavenger Hunt list collections available for immediate download. Each collection has a few different lists to choose from depending on the type of scavenger hunt you'd like to plan. To see our complete collection of downloadable Scavenger Hunt Lists, click HERE.

Scavenger Hunt FAQs

To see our complete collection of downloadable Scavenger Hunt Lists, click HERE.

Below are some frequently asked questions among those that want to plan a scavenger hunt:

Q: How many items should a 'good list' have?

A: This can be a tricky question because it depends on a few factors. The biggest factor is the question of how long you'd like the actual Scavenger Hunt to last. If the list is too short then you run the risk of the participants running out of items to find before the time allotted. However, if the list is too long then it can be overwhelming and rob some of the fun from the overall activity. As a general rule of thumb (and this is VERY general), try to keep it so that it's reasonable for the teams to complete roughly two thirds of the list in the time allotted. In this way they will feel like they'll have to really work to get the job done, but be able to look back and see that they completed more than half the list.

Q: How long should a scavenger hunt last?

A: Of course, there isn't a hard rule for this, either. However, there are two considerations you should have when choosing the window of time to complete the scavenger hunt list. The first is the energy of the participants and what you are asking from them. Participants who are driving to locations will have more energy than those who are running from location to location. Age also matters, too, needless to say (but we're going to say it, anyway.) The second is a little harder to judge but you should consider how 'interesting' your scavenger hunt is. Simple scavenger hunts can run the risk of being a bit tedious and almost resemble errands or chores. The more interesting your scavenger hunt list is, the longer you can expect your participants to ENJOY it (which, of course, is the goal, right?) As soon as they stop enjoying the hunt, it's time to pull them in!

Q: If you want to have teams, how big should the teams be?

A: Different dynamics are created when different groups and numbers of people get together. Sometimes the combinations work and sometimes they don't. This is when you'll need to decide how best your PARTICIPANTS will want to be grouped. If they are feeling good about their group, they will be more likely to be engaged in the activity. When forming groups, it's wise to keep two things in mind, though. First, it's best to avoid the number three. The dynamic of two people in a conversation is very strong and can create third wheels in each group. The second is considering spreading out the A-type personalities among different groups. Scavenger hunts are different from a basic treasure hunt in that scavenger hunt allows for more strategy and open decisions to be made. Every group should have a leader…but perhaps only ONE leader.

Q: How do I keep people from speeding / driving dangerously (if the participants will be driving)?

A: This is a handy trick when dealing with car rallies or any other similar activity. Group all of the teams before they leave. Pass out envelopes to each driver. EVERY member of the team must remove their driver's license from their wallets/purses and put them in the envelope for their team. The envelopes are then to be sealed (verify so.) Instruct the teams that these envelopes must remain in the glove compartments of the car they are driving. You see, if anyone gets pulled over for, oh we don't know…let's say speeding…then they will need to TEAR OPEN the envelope to give the license to the police officer. Any team that returns at the end of the hunt with an opened envelope will reveal that they were breaking a law. If you explain this well enough to your participants, you won't have any trouble!

Q: How do I collect the items and keep track of the score?

A: This one can be tricky depending on the types of items you have on your list. Unless you only have one team on the hunt, it's best to think ahead and recruit someone to help with this process as it can be a bit time consuming. It might be best, also, to let all of your participants fully know that points will be awarded at YOUR discretion - sometimes teams will get creative on their items that only partially fit the description. A rule of thumb is that if you go easy on one team that didn't follow the rule, you'll irk every team that DID follow the rule.

Q: I have a hundred people participating - what if everyone leaves at once and there's mayhem?

A: A little mayhem is ok…but not if everyone is driving out of the same parking lot at once. Consider these options:

~ Have two sets of teams go out at different times. Stagger the groups by 5 minutes each. Keep track of what teams went out when so that they are awarded extra time appropriately for their list. Also make sure that the teams DO NOT get to see their list until they actually leave (to keep it fair, strategy-wise.)

~ Begin your scavenger hunt with an activity - when the teams complete the activity successfully, they will be given their list and can leave.

~ Send the teams out in different directions…then TEXT the list once everyone has left the parking lot! (Of course, this will only work if every team has a text facilitating cell phone.)