As fall weather approaches, you may be looking for ideas to keep your school-age kids active and entertained inside the home. Planning fun indoor games that don't require much time or a trip to the store can seem challenging. With a little creativity, you can plan an indoor scavenger hunt with things you likely already have.

A scavenger hunt is a game where children collect miscellaneous items based on a list or theme. According to Institute for Educational Advancement, scavenger hunts build problem-solving skills and teach teamwork. They can be easily customizable based on your child's age and interests.


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Here are 12 fun theme ideas for an indoor scavenger hunt for your school-age kid.

12 Flashlight Scavenger Hunt

Boy reading with flashlight


​​​​​​For this scavenger hunt, you'll need flashlights and a checklist. It will be best to play after dark with all the lights in the house off. Prepare a list of miscellaneous items to be searched for in the home and see which team can find all the items first by flashlight. Visit Made With Happy site for a printable list with items like something red, a button, a ball, something with a flower on it, etc. to help you prepare for the scavenger hunt.

11 Color Scavenger Hunt

Caps sorted by color

​​​​​This is a great introductory scavenger hunt perfect for your little ones. To prepare, you need to create a checklist with colors. Your child will go through the home searching for an object to match each color.

10 Selfie Scavenger Hunt

Boy taking a selfie picture

​​​​​​Kids will get creative and silly taking selfies with a variety of items. Create a list of selfie pictures to take around the home. Some examples might be a selfie with a hat, a selfie with something cold, a selfie with something yellow, etc. The best part of the scavenger hunt will likely be sharing the pictures when the hunt is over.

9 Texture Scavenger Hunt

Boy looking at basket of toys

​​​​​​Create a list of various textures. Your child will walk through the house finding objects that match each texture. Examples of texture words include: smooth, hard, bumpy, rough, sticky, wet, dry, silky, squishy, fuzzy, and sharp.

8 Sink or Float Scavenger Hunt

Rubber ducky in water

For this scavenger hunt, you will want to make a list of various small household items. PBS Kids suggests sponges, paper clips, plastic bottles, bottle caps, crumpled-up aluminum foil or paper, buttons, fruit, wood, toy blocks, pens or pencils, cork, Styrofoam cups, coins, elastic bands, etc. After your child follows the list to collect all the necessary items, they will complete a fun science experiment to see which items sink or float!

7 Picture Book Scavenger Hunt

Young boy with picture book

​​​​​Create a checklist of story elements or illustrations to look for in your child's picture book collection. The list could include characters, animals, things in nature, toys, and places. Your child will have fun flipping through the pages of their familiar stories to check off all the items on the scavenger hunt list.

6 Sticky Note Message Scavenger Hunt

Various colored post it notes

Adjust the difficulty of this scavenger hunt based on your child's age and reading ability. For beginning readers, you could write the letters in their name (one letter per sticky note) and hide them around the home. Have your child find all the letters, and then put them in order to spell their name. For older children, create a message by putting one word on each sticky note. Once all notes are found, your child will have to put them all together to find the hidden message.

5 Balloon Pop Scavenger Hunt

Mother and daughter playing with balloons in home

​​​​​If you are looking to surprise your kids with a fun event, movie night, or special activity you can write clues on notes in balloons. Hide the balloons around the home to create a scavenger hunt. When they pop the last balloon, you can confirm the exciting plans!

4 Recycling Scavenger Hunt

Young child sorting plastic bottles in recycling bins

Teach your child about recycling in a fun way by turning it into a scavenger hunt. In Our Spare Time suggests challenging kids to see who can find the most items to recycle in a week for a prize. By teaching your child about recycling you'll be making the world a better place.

Recyclable items to put on the list include:

• Food waste

• Recycling bins

• Plastic bottles

• Plastic bag

• Egg cartons

• Old clothes

• Bottles

• Tin cans

• Paper

• Packaging


3 Food Taste Hunt

Fruits and vegetables

Create a list of descriptive words for foods. Your child can use the checklist to find foods that are spicy, sweet, sour, salty, yummy, etc. in the refrigerator or pantry.

2 Shape Scavenger Hunt

Two kids playing in apartment windows

Draw or write a list of basic shapes: circle, square, triangle, diamond, rectangle, or oval. The challenge is to find 1-2 items in the house to match each shape. For example, a window and TV would be checked off for rectangles.

1 Favorites Scavenger Hunt

Various colorful toys

​​​​​This scavenger hunt is designed to find your child's favorite things in the home for each item on the list. Your child will love telling you about their favorite things, and you may even learn something new about them.

Some favorite ideas for a list could include:

Stuffed animal

• Book

• Toy

• Snack

• Picture

Sources: PBS Kids, In Our Spare Time, Made With Happy, Institute for Educational Advancement