Summer is upon us and it is time for some family fun. If you are in need of an idea to entertain a bunch of kids outside, I’m sure your kids will love an outdoor scavenger hunt for kids of all ages, there’s a printable below too!
Our kids love it so much that I have to dream one up every year now. The oldest now is 18 and asked her if she would like to help me plan it this time around, and she said no she has too much fun running around solving it.
If you think your kids will like searching for buried treasure and running about and trying to solve clues, then read on.
The kids that joined this outdoor scavenger hunt was between 6 and 16 years old. We had them work in teams and it turned out great. It is a fair bit of work dreaming up the riddles, but don’t worry I created a printable to save you time.
I like to throw in a little spookiness to add to the excitement. Perhaps a scavenger hunt birthday party, or just because. Personally, we usually do it on a random day when the kids are out on break.
We let the kids dress up, because kids always want to dress up. Then, they run around outside racing to solve clues and find the treasure. The kids have just as much fun solving it, as we do dreaming it up.
This has become quite the tradition in our family. It is a bit of work to write riddles and make crafts, but it really is so much fun, and don’t worry you can grab the easy printable with riddles, directions, and supplies list.
So, if you want to ignite their little imaginations, and you enjoy crafts then I think this will be a lot of fun for everyone. This is last year’s challenge, and I am currently working on this year’s that I will be sharing too.
We do have a small farm so we run them about the property, but these challenges will work anywhere with a bit of tweaking and imagination. Most all the supplies came from the dollar store. This printable outdoor scavenger hunt includes riddles and buried treasure for the kids to find.
Printable Outdoor Scavenger Hunt for Kids
Hansel & Gretel scavenger hunt
We had 4 children and paired them into teams to help out the younger ones. It doesn’t matter how many teams because each person wins a prize. Teams are decided, and each team chooses a color.
Each person is given a satchel (bag) because some clues require they hold onto something for later use. Set boundaries and explain they will be given clues and challenges to solve that will lead them to their next clue.
There are 10 clues that eventually lead to a treasure chest for each team, with prizes inside for each player. Everyone earns a prize, but the first team does receive a small bonus for being the fastest.
These are my own personal riddles, please don’t re-publish these without my consent.
The kids were all dressed up and anxiously waiting to start, this year we did not tell them the theme beforehand. The introduction riddle was the first clue, to the theme.
And so it begins…
On this very ground, many children have never been found.
Once upon a time as the story go, a little boy and little girl faced a foe.
Lost and alone they wandered. Leaving a trail of white fluffy crumb and their only food squandered.
To their surprise they found, a delicious cottage of sugar and candy abound.
They knocked on the candy door and a hungry witch offered them more.
She lured them in, never to be seen or heard from again.
She fattened and waited till she had them tender and plump,
then she planned to eat them and gobble their flesh and bones all up.
Oh, children be warned as you search for your treasure, as there is an ugly witch who eats children for pleasure.
So, if you dare, don’t be fools, hold onto your satchel of tools.
As you don’t know what you may need, and be very cautious as only on children does she feed.
1st Challenge: Water bottle race to the first clue
A line of water bottles for each kid is laid out, about 5 bottles per line. Everyone picks a line. Each kid is given a stocking with a tennis ball at the end. The kids place the stockings on their heads and must swing the ball to knock over the bottles. The last water bottle’s label is replaced with a clue taped to the bottle. They work together as a team to solve the clue.
Oh, Hansel and Gretel were wise for crumbs they lay, so they could find their way. Find the path and be wary because that witch is so scary!
2nd Challenge: Marshmallow Trail
Near the water bottle challenge is a trail of small marshmallows that leads them on a path to their next clue. At the end of the path is a sign pointing to a bowl of candy. Buried in the candy bowl is a stone for each team with their next clue written on it.
Sign: Eat if you dare as her next meal you may fare. The witch could be onto you, keep a lookout as you read your next clue (arrow pointing to a bowl of candy).
Stones: Gretel had a little stuffy she adored, within a message she may have stored. This stone may be handy on your journey of treasure and candy.
3rd Challenge: Teddy Bear Holds the Key
This challenge was difficult, but the 6 year old found the teddy bears hid up in a tree. Each team has their own teddy bear and must knock it out of the tree.
Each teddy bear’s stitching was slightly opened to stuff a key inside, with a note attached. This took them a minute wondering what they were supposed to do with the bears. The riddle clue was tied to each key.
Fill in blanks with your own clue:
Use this key and set poor Hansel and I free. In cages, we were kept near a ___________, where we were locked and never slept. I remember the smell of _____________ linger, and she would have us hold out our scrawny finger.
As an example ours read
Use this key and set poor Hansel and I free. In cages, we were kept near a vessel, where we were locked and never slept. I remember the smell of animals linger, and she would have us hold out our scrawny finger.
We had the cages at the back of the barn next to the boat, which is also next to our pig pen.
4th Challenge: Locked empty cages with note inside
The clue leads them to cages. We used padlocked pet kennels for each team, but a modified cardboard box to look like a jail, that could be locked with a padlock would work too. Inside there is clue 4, which rested under a Halloween candy finger.
Maybe Hansel and Gretel were lucky and found their way out. Find a shelter with ________ and _____________ about. You are searching for the witches den, there’s a needed tool for EACH within.
Tip: We have a barn with a tack room. Our clue read like this:
“Find a shelter with leather, brushes, and brooms about…”
You will need a dark room, where you can use a black light, and you don’t mind a mess.
5th Challenge: Witches Den Tool Hunt
Lead kids to an outdoor room, or a place you don’t mind if it gets messy. We used the tack room in the barn. This is the most involved challenge decoratively. You will need a black light, dry ice (optional, it worked so-so) for fog, and download a creepy Halloween soundtrack. I used my phone, a bluetooth speaker, and a spooky soundtrack on YouTube.
Inside the room is 4 boxes. The boxes contain gross stuff, nasty feeling foods, the kids must search through in the dark to find their tool. To add to the gross factor, the kids can’t peak inside the boxes.
The cardboard boxes had the top cut off, then lined with plastic trash bags, filled with yuck, and the top is taped back with a hand hole cut into the top.
Use your imagination for the yuck, we used
box 1. oiled rice with soft boiled eggs
box 2. oiled spaghetti noodles with raisins
box 3. cottage cheese
box 4. was left empty
The tool they are searching for is a large safety pin, but they didn’t know this. If you are worried about the pin opening, wrap a piece of tape around the safety pin.
There is a pin for each person, and the teams are not allowed to move on until each teammate finds their tool. The tool (safety pin) is hidden in any of the 4 boxes.
Taped to the exit door was a black poster with their next clue written with a white paint pen.
After finding your tool hurry to escape, get out quick before you get ate. Hurry, hurry, hurry, run to the starting line.
They already knew where the starting line was because there was streamer ribbon already in the backyard marking out the race course.
6th Challenge: Wheelbarrow race & puzzle
The team must go to the starting line for the wheelbarrow race. One team member must race on their hands, while their teammate holds their ankles and they race across the finish line.
They don’t have to wait for the other team to show up to do this.
Behind the finish line is a box for each team. A balloon is tied to each box. Inside each box is a kid’s puzzle. Each team must put their puzzle together. The clue is written on the puzzles, along with each teams combination lock code.
This was fun, we used the simple easy puzzles from the dollar store, painted them a solid color and then once dried wrote the clue on the puzzle for them to piece back together.
She made child stew but don’t fret, for we got her back you can bet.
We pushed in that old shrew and this is where you’ll find your next clue cooking outside.
On this same puzzle, one piece had the number to a combo lock, with a message below it that said:
You will need these numbers when you find where she eternally slumbers.
7th Challenge: Find where the witch was cooked
We didn’t want the kids in the house, we kept all activities outside. We hid the next clue in an outdoor woodstove, but a BBQ would work too. That’s where all the kids went first was the BBQ. Place clue 7 inside a cook stove or BBQ.
Your needle (safety pin) will be handy where overhead there hang candy, collect five and if you unscramble you will thrive.
8th Challenge: Balloon Pop & Word Scramble
Color coordinate balloons for each team. Each team must only pop their color, using their safety pin from challenge 5. The balloons are filled with candy and some contain letters.
They need to collect enough letters to spell a five letter word. We found foam letters at the dollar store, that worked perfectly. The word spells SHOVEL.
S H O V E L (unscramble letters to spell the word)
9th Challenge: Bucket of Shovels & Clue
Fill a bucket with hand shovels, one for everybody, and attach a clue to the handle of each shovel. The kids have to scavenge the property looking for shovels with their next clue. Living on a farm with a lot of shovels this took them awhile.
Hansel and Gretel made it out, they buried her old bones without a doubt.
It’s rumored her evil bones eternally slumber, don’t forget your puzzle number.
With this shovel and your satchel be brave, find her ole bones and all her treasure in a marked grave.
10th & Final Challenge: Find the treasure in her grave
Make a tombstone out of cardboard for each team, then bury boxes locked with the combination locks at each grave. Inside each box is a gift (treasure) for each person and another note.
We buried the boxes next to our pond, in a very muddy spot. The parents didn’t appreciate it much, but the kids loved getting dirty it added to their experience.
Hooray rush back, as you are right on track.
It’s time to celebrate, as for the fastest a bonus awaits!!
Bonus: Silly string war
When they head back a silly string war is on
The kids now beg to do this every year. It’s an incredible amount of fun, and I enjoy it just as much as the kids.
This Hansel and Gretel outdoor scavenger hunt was last year’s adventure, and this year’s will be done shortly. Check back as I will be publishing it soon and it has pictures.
To save time get the easy printable of the scavenger hunt riddles, the direction key, and supplies list. Just request below and it will be delivered to your inbox, and I hope you enjoy this as much as we do! What’s your favorite outdoor kids game?
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