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Summer is just around the corner and kids everywhere are no doubt dreaming of all the fun they’re about to have. Step your family time up a notch with these summer scavenger hunt ideas.
If your family is like mine, when school ends we have great intentions to see the swim every day, explore, and generally make amazing memories. Somehow, as days drag by the boredom sets in, things go off the rails, and it’s suddenly open house night again.
Make a Plan
This year, make intentional plans to make some special memories for the whole family. Start the summer with a family meeting. Sit everyone down over a fun breakfast and talk about what each person would like to do or accomplish during summer break.
The activities don’t have to be expensive plans. Time together playing a game, having a movie night, cooking a fun meal together… even eating dinner outside can be special.
Summer Break Fun
To help kick your break off, I’ve pulled five unique summer scavenger hunts. These can be done just about anywhere including on a camping trip, during a visit to the beach, at a theme park, or even around the house on a rainy day.
They can be as complicated as leading the kids around the neighborhood and ending at the pool, or as simple as finding items around your own backyard. To make planning easier, grab the printable lists below to use for your family adventures.
Choose one or a few different lists to use for an adventure this year!
Five Scavenger Hunt Activities
Nature Scavenger Hunt
Get the kids outdoors with a hunt that includes items they can find in nature. Explore the outdoors and all the things that are naturally found in your area with your own custom list or use the printable list I’ve created.
You can even plant a few things prior to the hunt, like painted rocks, or gardening items. Take it to the neighborhood park or keep it within your own backyard.
For an added layer of fun, get the neighborhood kids involved. Split them into teams and encourage a group adventure. Afterward, give everyone a juice box and fun snack and allow them the chance to bond over the fun they had running around the park.
Beach Scavenger Hunt
A day at the beach is always fun during the summer months. Plan a hunt for things that are found around the coast for a planned family activity. To make things even more exciting, consider splitting into teams. Then reward everyone for a job well done with ice cream.
Include items like seashells, a wave, sunblock, beach towels, sand toys, a blue item, someone in a red swimsuit, a right water shoe, etc. Get creative! If you plan ahead, laminate the list at the local office store and provide each team with a vis-a-vis marker and a waterproof canvas bag to carry their loot in.
It doesn’t take too much planning to make your beach trip memorable. Going the extra mile to set up an ocean scavenger hunt followed up with a cool treat will make the day something the kids talk about for years to come.
Color Scavenger Hunt
Younger kids enjoy this activity while they are practicing color recognition. To get ready, grab a paper bag and draw circles on the outside for each color. Let preschoolers color in the shapes, then set out to find things. After the bag is filled with colorful items, serve a fun colorful snack to further encourage learning.
Indoor Scavenger Hunt
Rainy days can be the most challenging in the summer with everyone stuck inside. Keeping the kids entertained is the goal and this printable indoor scavenger hunt will do just that.
Kids will have fun racing from room to room looking for the items on the list that was specially created to keep them entertained and safe while searching. Once this list is exhausted, reverse roles and let the kids make a list of things for mom or dad to find throughout the house.
They’ll love being the boss and it’s a great way to let them practice writing and leadership skills. Not to mention, it takes a bit of time that will keep them entertained and on task.
Photo Scavenger Hunt
This idea is great for older kids, especially if they can drive themselves around. It may take a bit more research, but choose items that might be found around your city, in the mall, at a local bakery, and other fun places to visit.
Each stop requires a fun photo that includes the item and all of the kids in the group. Expect these photos to be a hit among the group when they meet up again back at the designated spot and they present their photo evidence that each item was found.
Of course, safety should always be a priority, especially where teenage drivers are concerned, so explain that ahead of time. If you’re planning on some sort of reward, maybe close something that everyone can do or have upon completion.
If you have a competitive group on your hands, consider staging the whole scavenger hunt in one area like an outlet mall or waterpark.
Making memories and laughing together is always a great summer goal. It’s a time when both pre-school and school-age kids can have a bit of fun with family and friends. Just like playground time, downtime is an essential part of learning and taking a break.
Sending our kids into adulthood with the skills they need to have fun and value special moments sets them up for success. So let the kiddos sleep a little longer, play a little more, and above all- enjoy your summer together!