Games, Challenges and Competitions

6 Unique Scavenger Hunts to Run at Camp

A few months ago I ran an email round table where I asked what exciting things camp pros had planned for the 2018 summer season. It was a special round table where submissions could include questions for other camp pros as well. One of the questions was “Do you run a unique scavenger hunt? How is laid out?”

There were a lot of replies, but here are my six favorite.


Scavenger hunts don’t have to be just collected things. We often use pre-written tags given to the campers who then have to match their tags with those items. At the end of the time period, everyone walks the area / trail to see where all the tags were placed (and we collect the tags). Tag examples would be “something shiny”, “something rough”, “some place warm”, “somewhere loud”, “something colorful”, etc. – submitted by Shannon Buxton


This past summer I spelled out a secret message on clothes pins (one letter per pin). The clothes pins were hidden on trails between point A and point B. The expectation was to find all of the clothes pins and solve the secret message which ultimately led the group back to camp where there were popsicles waiting for them. You can hide them in order to make it easier or hide them out-of-order for more of a challenge. – submitted by Lisa Hoffman


We did something similar where the kids didn’t know what they would be asked for, but the guests were “Martians” and each group got to bring a set amount of objects each to show the Martians (staff loved to volunteer for this cause they got to dress up ridiculously and make up a language to talk to each other in while judging). The Martians would ask for an item and the campers would pick one of their items and then try to convince them that what they brought was what the Martians asked for.  – submitted by Jennifer Daly


Named for our summer day camp, Fircreek-O is a task based hunt that kids complete on teams. Weather it is a color wars team or even just a cabin group, they will travel around looking for clues. Occasionally we had staff get a big list that they could then check items off of, but found that giving them a chance to have more fun during the activity often helped things run more smooth as well. For the tasks, we simply take note cards or even paper plates and staple them up around camp, each with a different task written on them. Each task is simple, and often all for the same number of points. Tasks will give them a simple instruction, that will often involve going to the other side of camp to complete. Things like “touch all of the windows in the adventure center,” “put a pile of 100 pine cones on the outside stage,” “cheer on another team for 1 minute,” and things of that nature help them stay moving and also help them get to the next task quickly. This especially helps with kids who have shorter attention spans. Knowing some kids struggle with the competition, we also put tasks that allow for fun. Things like “build a sand castle,” “play gaga ball for 5 minutes,” or even “have a dance party on the stage for 2 minutes,” help them to break up the competition with fun.

As for points, we have done this a few different ways. Sometimes each task gets anywhere from 1-10 points, where other times they simply have to cross off on a list when they complete a task of a certain number. The last time we played, each staff had a half sheet of paper numbered 1-50 and they crossed off each one they did for one point. They also had the chance for extra points if they were the group that cleaned up the most trash while running around camp for the game. – submitted by Dana Chauvin


My camp LOVES scavenger hunts and so over the years we have come up with some very unique ideas. *Tacky tourist…where we hide tourist items around the camp and the groups go around with their leader and a they find an item, the leader has to put it on and wear it until the hunt is over. – submitted by Stephanie Powell


I recently came across a game called “Sneaky Cards,” and it is a scavenger hunt type game with a mission to spread joy throughout whatever place you are playing (college campus, camp). Play in pairs, as individuals, or in small groups. Each card has a unique challenge to complete, and once completed the card is handed off to the person you complete the challenge with (and the game goes on). I just bought a set for $8 on Amazon. I also think we could take this concept and make a “Campy Cards” game with more camp specific things to do. I love the concept of this game. – submitted by Whitney Winston

Sneaky Cards Card Game
  • Contains 55 cards and rules of play
  • Ages 10 and up

For a bunch of scavenger hunt ideas and how to put together a treasure hunt, check out my ebook Creating and Running Scavenger and Treasure Hunts at Camp.



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