A virtual scavenger hunt is a super fun way to connect with your friends and family virtually! Print out one of the printable scavenger hunts included in this post, connect with your friends and family virtually, and play! It’s a great option for an icebreaker, virtual activity, or just something to do with friends when you can’t be together!
A Virtual Scavenger Hunt
If you’ve ever read my blog before, you might know that I’m a huge fan of scavenger hunts! Clue based scavenger hunts, seek and find based scavenger hunts – you name it, and I love them!
My husband and I have been brainstorming on fun games to play via Zoom (other than just the best board games) since we aren’t traveling as much and the idea to do a virtual scavenger hunt popped into my head.
We tried this virtual scavenger hunt out with five different families, and it was so much fun! It’s a fun way to pass the time while you’re safe at home but would honestly be fun no matter the time of year for people to do that aren’t located close together!
The basic idea is that one person, the moderator, says an item, and everyone else has to run and try and find it and show it on the screen.
Keep reading for all the details, ways to score the game, and two printable virtual scavenger hunt lists! This would be super fun to do if you’re looking for ways to celebrate birthdays at home or just looking for fun indoor activities for the entire family.
Or if you want something to do with remote teams in the office for something fun to do!
What is a Virtual Scavenger Hunt
Before we jump in, I wanted to give a little background on what exactly a virtual scavenger hunt is. It’s one of the most fun games you can play with people in their very own homes. You give them a list of things and people have to try and race to show them on the screen first to earn points for their team!
It’s a really fun way to do something a little different, especially if your whole team is remote or you think a friendly competition will get people working better together. Or if you want something fun to do for birthday parties when you can’t all be together, like my family that’s spread out around the country!
Use it as a team building exercise, a silly activity for family members of all ages, or ways for different teams to get more comfortable with others that are also working remotely. It’s also a really fun way to boost morale – any games and team building activities are!
How to Do A Virtual Scavenger Hunt
Doing a virtual scavenger hunt is super easy but there are some tips and tricks you’ll want to know before you organize one!
Here’s how we did it – feel free to change it up to do whatever works best for you. Ideally you’ll play with families or teams of people but you can totally play with individuals as well – just do whatever works best for you and make sure all of the team members are excited to participate!
I’ve also included a little video below that shows how to do it and how much fun it is!
1 – Schedule a time for your hunt and send out invites
The first step is to figure out a time that works for the majority of the people and send out invitations.
There are a number of different programs you can use for your hunt – Google Hangouts, Google Meet, Zoom, Skype are a couple I can think of off the top of my head. Pick whichever option works for your video call – ideally something you’ve used before that works well. That way you don’t have to worry about technology, just running your virtual hunt.
Oh and make sure that people are aware of what time it is in different time zones, especially if you’re playing with different ages and generations who may not realize that the invite auto calculates time zones!
We did Zoom for our scavenger hunt, and it worked really well. Just make sure that whatever you do, you need to make sure you can see everyone on the screen at once. And know that if you are just using a free account on Zoom, you’ll only be able to do a scavenger hunt for 40 minutes or less (if you have more than 3 people on). It’ll cut you off right at 40 minutes!
Figure out how you want to do the virtual scavenger hunt, give people the time, and give people a link ahead of time in case they need to download software, install anything, etc.
Also ask everyone to come to the scavenger hunt with a piece of paper with an X on it.
2 – Print out your list of items
Whoever is going to be your moderator needs to have their own screen (not sharing one with a family playing so they can share items with the rest of group). Have them print out the list of items that will be searched for and don’t show it to anyone else – the items need to be a surprise!
I’ve included two different scavenger hunt lists to download at the bottom of this post so you can have various items to choose from!
I did a list that’s specific to the quarantine period (e.g, toilet paper roll, hand sanitizer, Tom Hanks movie) and a list that’s more generic and would be good any time of year (e.g., first aid kit, school supplies, Dr. Seuss book).
The items I included have a mix of more challenging items and simpler ones. There are also very specific items (e.g., teddy bear) and items that are more subjective and open to the imagination (e.g., school supplies). Let people get creative as long as it’s within reason.
If you want to do this for Halloween, use this Halloween group text scavenger hunt list. If you want to do this for Christmas, use this Christmas scavenger hunt list! Really any scavenger hunt list should work, just stay away from anything called treasure hunt as those are often more clue based!
3 – Start your call
Get everyone on the call (aka zoom meeting) and make sure they all have audio and video working properly before you start.
Once everyone is up and running, explain how the scavenger hunt works – you’ll say something and they have to go find it. Scoring will be based on the order they bring back the item and show it on screen. (Details on scoring models below).
You’ll have one minute to find each item to keep the hunt moving. If you know for certain you don’t have something, put up a piece of paper with an X on it to signify you don’t have the item.
Make sure to go over the three rules below as well.
- You can’t take the device you’re using with you (i.e., if you’re playing on a phone, the phone needs to stay put).
- No using phones for answers (i.e., you can’t look up a picture of a Tom Hanks movie on your phone or use a photo of the item in any way).
- An item cannot be used for two different answers (e.g., Toy Story movie couldn’t be used for Tom Hanks movie + Disney character)
4 – Play!
Now it’s time to play! Say your first item and let people go on the hunt to find it.
And make sure to have fun doing it!
Scoring Your Virtual Scavenger Hunt
There are a number of different ways you can score your virtual scavenger hunt. I’ve included the three options that work best below but if something else works better for you, go for it!
And if you’re doing this with just little kids that would rather just do a scavenger hunt around the house and not a competitive one, you can get rid of the scoring idea all together!
Scoring Option #1: First, Second, Last
For this scoring option, the first person to come back gets five points, the second person to come back with their item gets three points, and anyone else who comes back with the item within the minute gets one point.
This works best if you have a smaller numbers of groups (less than 10) playing because it can get a bit cumbersome to keep track of individual scores for more than 10 teams.
The thing I like about this is that you never know who is going to come out on top with the highest number of total points. Winning one round and getting five points is a big deal and could take you from worst to first in one round.
For this option, I do highly recommend having a scorecard that is visible to the entire group at all times – maybe setup a separate screen or something so people can see it. Or if you don’t do a visible one, at least do a check-in every five or so items so people know where they stand.
Scoring Option #2: One Point Per Round
For this scoring option, the first person to bring back an item gets one point and “wins” the round. People keep track of their own wins and the person who gets the most points total wins the scavenger hunt.
This option works best if you have a really large group of people and don’t want to track individual scores.
Scoring Option #3: One Point Per Person
The last option would be to basically just say anyone who comes back with the item within a minute wins one point. There’s still a level of competitiveness as people have to try and get the item before the timer runs out but it’s not as much about competing with each other.
This option tends to keep the scores a lot closer throughout the game since you don’t have people getting three and five points. It also means that you may end up with a tie or people really close together in final scores.
You could also give out bonus points for teams that are super creative or if a team does something like gets their item first five times in a row!
Other Virtual Scavenger Hunt Notes
A couple of other notes to help things go smoothly with your virtual scavenger hunt.
1 – Make sure people can hear you clearly before you get started. It’s not fair if someone has a terrible connection and can’t hear anything.
2 – Have a screen that’s dedicated to showing the scorecard and a digital timer if at all possible. People want to see the score and they’ll need to see the time, ideally. Also, don’t give too little time or too much time to find items. These are all pretty simple items so they really should only need a little bit of time!
3 – Be flexible and have fun. If it can kind of fit the category and they put in effort, let it count!
5 – Play this in larger groups by splitting into small teams (you want a group size of max 4-6 people) then have teams rotate through who is the one hunting down the item for each set!
Virtual Scavenger Hunt Prizes
If you’re doing this as a fun little competition, it’s always fun to include a virtual prize for the winner or winning team, or maybe even top three! Here are a couple of virtual prizes that I think would be a hit with teams!
- Electronic gift cards – since no one is shopping in stores right now, give an electronic gift card for some online shopping. Amazon is always a hit!
- An on-demand movie – there are so many movies coming to at home release right now. Give a prize that allows someone to watch one of those on-demand movies whether it’s a movies anywhere gift code, Amazon Prime, iTunes, etc.
- A code for a home delivered treat – think things like SugarWish, Popped Passion, Edible Arrangements, etc.
- Food delivery gift card – GrubHub, Uber Eats, you name it
Virtual Scavenger Hunt Items
I’ve included the full lists of both of my scavenger hunt downloads below. You can get printable versions of these to download, that also work well as scorecards, at the bottom of this post.
If you need another list, the items on this alphabet scavenger hunt would work great too, especially for littler kids!
More Virtual Scavenger Hunt Ideas
You could totally use any of these as virtual scavenger hunt ideas or just use them as regular scavenger hunts! Just grab the list and use those for seasonal scavenger hunts instead! Even though they may seem like a simple scavenger hunt, if you use these lists for a virtual one – it’ll be just as fun!
- Christmas scavenger hunt
- Thanksgiving scavenger hunt
- Halloween scavenger hunt
- Birthday scavenger hunt
- Easter scavenger hunt
- Valentine’s Day scavenger hunt
Download the Printable Scavenger Hunt
Enter your first name and email address below to download the virtual scavenger hunts. You’ll receive an email with a link to the scavenger hunts!
If you’d prefer to not give your email address, you can also purchase a copy in my shop here.
The PDF will include a copy of the stay at home list above and a copy of the generic list above.
If you do not see the form below, click here to get to it.