Team Building Activities... 
Awesome Scavenger Hunt Ideas

Hunting high and low for scavenger hunt ideas? If you’re stuck for inspiration, try our suggestions for size. We’ll tell you how to design and plan a session that ticks all your team building boxes.

From ideas to cost, benefits and suitability, all bases are covered. Happy hunting!

How Does it Work?

The basic format for all scavenger hunt ideas goes like this:

Split into teams.

Give each group a map, list of clues and a time limit to complete the quest. The time limit is important as it creates an air of excitement. Plus it covertly tests a group’s time management skills!

There are often challenges/mini activities to complete along the way.

If it’s a location-based hunt, groups are often asked to answer related questions. For example, which artist created a specific sculpture? Or which show is currently playing at a theatre.

Many scavenger hunts are designed so that answers to clues have something in common. When a team has cracked the codes or answers, they add up to a number or spell a word.

That’s the final item teams need to claim victory.

scavenger hunt ideas

(Photograph courtesy of OffLimits)

Team building Scavenger Hunt Ideas: Text Message Quest

A hunt for the 21st century! This ingenious format differs from the traditional treasure hunt.

All the clues and challenges are sent via text message direct to your mobile phone. Smart stuff!

How does it work? Simple.

It’s a game of numbers and code cracking. When you solve each clue, you’ll be given a code. Text the code to the phone number you’re provided with. You’ll instantly receive the next clue. The aim of the game is to crack a master code and get to the final destination.

I favour this over most other scavenger hunt ideas as it appeals to a modern audience.

The vast majority of people love their mobiles! It’s an excellent choice if you have a younger team. They’ll engage with the format instantly.

Scavenger Hunt Ideas: Video Format

This is another good choice that automatically creates a memento of the day. It does exactly what it says on the tin. 

Each team is equipped with a video camera.

The idea behind this format is that groups have to film footage of their activities and items found.

Make it more interesting by requesting the teams are filmed doing something.

It could be standing on one leg in front of a statue, telling jokes or doing star jumps in the park. Use your imagination!

Picture-Based Scavenger Hunt Ideas

Perhaps the simplest format, the picture scavenger hunt is perfectly suited to smaller budgets.

team building scavenger hunt

Clues are based around specific locations instead of items. When teams crack clues, they have to pose for a team photo at each location.

This is a great choice if you’re interested in city-based corporate teambuilding activities.

Cities are loaded with landmarks and you won’t have to stray too far from the office.

(Photograph courtesy of OffLimits)

If you want to do this yourself, you can purchase a 'ready-made' photo scavenger hunt ... couldn't be easier!

Scavenger Hunt Ideas: The Amusement Park Format!

Now here’s a pretty exciting one I’ve just stumbled across.

Teams get two activities in one. There are theme parks all over the world so you won’t be stuck for choice. Disneyland is perhaps unsurprisingly a popular choice!

The idea behind this format is to choose locations/items within the theme park that are hard (but not impossible!) to find.

It’s best suited to the picture-taking format. Teams have to take a photo when they solve each clue.

One of some of the team members on a rollercoaster will make a great memento.

Seasonal Teambuilding Scavenger Hunt Ideas

Consider basing your hunt on a seasonal theme.

Christmas markets, shopping malls and grottos make great yuletide themes. Halloween is another theme that readily lends itself to this activity.

Is there a beach within reasonable distance of your workplace? If so, a beach-based scavenger hunt is perfect for summer.

Then of course you have Easter – the quintessential theme for a hunt! Even big kids love chocolate.

Check out this clip for ideas on locations and formats:

Why Do It?

In addition to being one of the more fun collaboration exercises, scavenger hunts have clear team building benefits.

Here are just some of them:

  • Importance of team communication – groups won’t get very far if they don’t talk to each other! Cracking clues requires people to speak and listen.
  • Workplace cooperation – a scavenger hunt is a great way to illustrate what a touch of collaboration can achieve.
  • Encouraging friendly competition – teams compete in a non-confrontational manner in a relaxed environment.
  • Lateral thinking – teams have to come up with intuitive solutions to problems. Team building scavenger hunt ideas often include cryptic clues.

They are also a good way for managers to spot personality and style differences. You’ll gain a greater understanding of how the team functions as a unit when given a common goal.

It’s also an excellent indicator of which group members naturally assume leadership roles.

Can I Do It Myself?

Yes you can. This is perhaps the best example of fun group games that can be run by individuals with moderate ease. However, don't underestimate the amount of preparation required to run a really good scavenger hunt.

Here are a few things to remember if planning and running a scavenger hunt solo:

  1. The location needs to be somewhere with lots of things/locations to find. 
  2. Take the practicalities into account. I’m talking about ages of participants, physical capabilities and possible hazards a location could have. Also time. You’ll spend at least half a day outside the office.
  3. Keep your aims and objectives in mind when considering scavenger hunt ideas and planning. Tailor the session to suit them.
  4. Consider transportation! If it’s an outdoor event, you’ll need drivers willing to use their own cars or a minibus!
  5. Think about what you'll do if it rains. Teams won’t exactly feel motivated if they're soaking wet.
  6. Source materials. Pictures, clues and any equipment needed (cameras, batteries, maps, paper, pens).
  7. Make it challenging but not impossible. Start with easy clues and work up to harder ones. You’ll need about 25-30 clues.
  8. Arrange a prize for the winning team. It doesn’t have to be too lavish. Even a token gift will encourage employee motivation and retention.

Using an External Events Company

Scavenger hunt ideas and sessions can also be sourced through external companies.

If you want the session to have more of a structured, event format this is the way forward. Most companies offer bespoke hunts tailored to suit your specific aims.

There are other benefits that come with using external facilitators and trainers. These are professional people who will:

  • Use brief icebreakers at the start to warm groups to the idea of working together
  • Run the scavenger hunt - you'll benefit from a tried and tested format
  • Hold a debrief and evaluation session at the end. A facilitator will highlight what teams learned, where they struggled and areas they really shone.

Yes, it will be more expensive than doing it yourself.

However, it is a good way to make sure aims and objectives are achieved. You discuss desired outcomes with the facilitator beforehand and he/she will ensure they happen.

How Much Will a Team Building Scavenger Hunt Cost?

Very good news on this front, folks! If you arrange this one yourself using office resources it will cost you nothing but time.

If you choose to buy a Do-It-Yourself package prepared by professionals but run the event yourself, it will cost a little more. But will still be very affordable.

Go down the fully facilitated, external events company route and you’re looking at around $60 per person. However, please be aware that, like all cost estimates on this website, the cost of any activity depends very much on the size of your team and the format of the team building activities you choose.

Can Scavenger Hunts Be Customised?

Scavenger hunt ideas are nice and adaptable.

Here are just some of the ways you can customise them to suit your objectives:

Hold your event in the office. Tell teams not to reveal they are doing a scavenger hunt to colleagues. It’s more fun that way!

Put items on the list that have meaning to the teams but are hard to get hold of. A favourite coffee mug is always a winner.

The more creative clues are the better! It’s worth considering including a couple of clues that are open to interpretation. Ideal if you’re interested in creative thinking problem solving activities.

On a final note..

Choose the date and time of a scavenger hunt carefully. In the middle of a big project isn't a good time! You’ll get a more successful outcome from an activity when staff aren't distracted by deadlines.

For more team building ideas, see our index page of Corporate Team Building Activities.

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