Other Programming

Animal Hunt

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I am a big fan of hunts – hunts of all kinds, scavenger and treasure. And while I enjoy a good treasure hunt that challenges the mind, I find the most campers don’t. They want something easy (but not too easy) and fun. The most popular hunt we do – the Animal Hunt.

  • Have a staff member take a box of animals (small stuffed animals, really small plastic animals and everything in between) and hide them along a trail.
  • Place them on the ground, at eye level and maybe on some tree branches, but always within reach.
  • The animals should not be hidden too well depending on the age group.
  • You also don’t want to place them off the trail so far that campers will be crushing plants to get to them. Many times, depending on the size and color of the animals, the campers will pass right by them, even if they are right on the trail.


  • Begin by having a counselor in front of the group and one behind the group.
  • Campers may not pass the counselor in the front at any time. If they do, they will immediately be sent to the back, behind the trailing counselor.
  • When a camper finds an animal, he or she then must go to the back and wait behind the trailing counselor until the lead counselor says otherwise. (This is to help level the playing field and allow all campers to be able to get animals. There always seems to be those few campers that are really excited and a bit overbearing. They are the ones at the front of the group grabbing all the animals. Then there are the ones that are a little shy and like to stay near the middle or back who usually do not get many animals, if any. This is why we have this rule.)
  • While the campers are in the rear, they may still grab animals that were missed as long as they don’t pass the rear counselor.
  • When only a few campers remain ahead of the rear counselor the front counselor can yell, “Everyone can now be in front of “Sunshine” (the rear counselor).
  • Once the group gets to the end of the trail, turn around and walk back the same way.
  • The campers can pick up any animals that were missed (and there are always animals that are missed).
  • On the return trip they do not have to go to the back of the pack if they find an animal, however, they still cannot pass the lead counselor.
  • Once the group has returned to the starting area, find a place to count the animals.
  • The person or team that has the most – wins.

At our camp they win the animal hunter bead and points for their team.

You may also want to hide a few Pirate coins for additional (bonus) points.



  • love it! We are planning several scavenger hunts this year — this will definitely be added to the list. Can I ask where you got the pirate coins?

    • Darcy, the picture you see above are made from polymer clay. We don’t use those, but we got some cool plastic ones from Amazon.com

  • Curt I love your site-so inspiring! Your so right, the kids have always loved scavenger hunts and this just got me thinking how every theme could have a scavenger hunt…ooooo!

    • Thanks, KP. One thing we do every week (multiple times per week, in fact) is hide the Golden Smurf, a 3 inch tall plastic smurf painted gold. We hide it at various times so the campers never know when they will go on a hunt. The camper that finds it earns a lot of points for their team. We started this two years ago and now we get return campers asking if we’ll be hiding the Golden Smurf this year. When I say “Yes” they get really excited. It’s crazy. This year we added a blue plastic Smurf that is the same size as the Golden Smurf and an 8″ Travelocity Gnome I got on Ebay. The Golden Smurf is still, and will always be, worth the most points when found.

  • We will be doing a Willy Wonka Chocolate hunt this year. The child that finds the most coins will win a chocolate bar!

  • I am looking forward to doing this hunt and also Heidi’s Willy Wonka Chocolate hunt. I think I’ll vary the prizes so that there will be an incremental size difference to the chocolate bar. This way everyone can win something.

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