How to plan a scavenger hunt

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Scavenger hunts are a great activity for children and adults alike. They get your brain working, improve your teamwork skills and you get a prize at the end to show for all your amazing detective skills along the way. Ideal for a birthday party or even a work retreat, you can find any excuse to host a scavenger hunt. 

If you are looking to create your own scavenger hunt but don’t know where to start, we are here to help. In this article, we share a list of treasure hunt ideas and a step-by-step guide on how to throw the ultimate scavenger hunt. Happy Hunting!

What is a scavenger hunt?

A scavenger hunt, sometimes referred to as a treasure hunt, is a thrilling game of hide and seek of sorts. Instead of people hiding, there is a list of items hidden around you and you have to work as a team to find each item. The process of finding the items usually involves a series of clues that the hunters have to decode in order to be led to each hidden item. 

They are a popular activity used in children’s parties, and are also a fun activity that is often brought out at Easter. However, scavenger hunts are not reserved for kids. With higher stakes, more adult prizes, and sophisticated scavenger hunt clues, the game can easily be adapted for adults. They are a popular form of team building

How many items should be on a scavenger hunt?

How many items you include in your scavenger hunt depends on how long you want the game to last and how many participants there are. The age of your hunters is also a determining factor in how long the hunt should last. 

A good rule of thumb is to aim to have your scavenger hunt last 30 minutes to an hour. If you have younger participants, veer towards the 30-minute mark, as they have a shorter attention span. If you have a group of determined adults, you can easily complete an hour of solid hunting. 

If you’re running the hunt for kids and want it to be relatively short, you should not have more than 10 items, as it will become overwhelming for them. However, if you’re aiming for a longer game with adults who can quickly decipher clues, your items could range anywhere from 20 to 50. If you want to keep your items in the lower numbers but still want the game to last a long time, you should create more sophisticated clues which will take longer to work out. 

5 ways to plan a successful scavenger hunt

Planning a scavenger hunt can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. Whether you want to throw a virtual hunt or an in-person treasure hunt, Kronos is here to help. 

Pick a theme

The first thing you need to do is think about the theme of your scavenger hunt, as it will inform every decision you make from here on out. This can be overwhelming because there are different types of scavenger hunts. If you are throwing a themed birthday party, of course, center your theme around the birthday party. 

However, if you don’t have a reference point and are looking for inspiration, consider the following scavenger hunt ideas:

  • Nature scavenger hunt
  • Photo scavenger hunt
  • Classic treasure hunt (pirate themed)
  • Sports scavenger hunt 
  • Art scavenger hunt
  • Seasonal scavenger hunt 
  • Bar crawl scavenger hunt 

The possibilities really are endless. The most important thing is to keep the participants in mind when you are choosing the theme. You want to make sure you pick something that everyone will be interested in. 

Funny scavenger hunt ideas for adults

Choose the location 

Once you have a theme in mind, it will be easier to pick a location. While some themes are more suited for outdoor scavenger hunts, others work better for indoor scavenger hunts. For example, if you have a bunch of 5-year-olds running around doing art theme challenges, it’s best to keep them in an enclosed space, so you can easily keep an eye on them.

However, if you are ambitious and throwing a large-scale seasonal treasure hunt, a city scavenger hunt might be better suited to your needs. You can send participants on a wild goose chase around the city, looking for iconic seasonal installations in town. 

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Create your clues 

Once your theme and location are chosen, it’s time to start writing your clues. Your clues should be centered around your theme and make the most of your location. How difficult you make your clues is up to you but think about how long you want the hunt to last and keep your players in mind. 

Your clues can take any form, from puzzles to riddles to facts. You just have to make sure the answer leads to the next location. Once the clues are written, be sure to number them and leave them in safe locations where they can only be accessed by players. 

Give yourself time

Timing is key when you’re organizing a treasure hunt. This is not all going to come together in one night. The first thing you need to do is ensure you send out invitations as early as possible so you know how many people you need to account for. Once you have this information, you can begin planning the operation.

If you don’t have the time to dedicate to scavenger hunt planning, you can hire a company to organize everything for you. The benefits and fun of a scavenger hunt should not be foregone just because you don’t have the time to plan it. Take advantage of the expertise of professionals!

Hire team-building experts

Choose your prizes 

We left the prizes for the end because they are the most exciting part of a treasure hunt. How you distribute the prizes is up to you and your budget. If you’re going all out, you could include small prizes at every clue stop. You can have enough prizes for everyone, or only enough for the first people that arrive at the different locations, adding extra incentive for the players. 

You also need to think about a grand prize for the winning team. Again, cater to your audience. Luckily, kids are relatively easy to please so a prize from the dollar store will satisfy their journey. For adults, you might need to put a bit more thought and effort into the final prize. A gift card is the ultimate gift, whether it be a $100 foodie gift card for the team to share or a practical gift card that they will appreciate.

Hire a scavenger hunt company

Scavenger hunts are great activities that can be enjoyed by kids and adults alike. However, even with a step-by-step guide on how to prepare a hunt, they are stressful to organize, which is where Kronos Experience comes in. We are an expert team-building organization that runs revolutionary in-person and virtual scavenger hunts. 

Our experts have curated an innovative concept for our one-of-a-kind virtual team-building scavenger hunt; Operation UV. Perfect for remote teams who aren’t always in one place, our experience allows you to bring your team together in a unique and exciting way. We organize everything for you, all you need to do is send out the invites. 

Book your scavenger hunt now