Learning can take place in a classroom with a pencil and a worksheet. Learning can also take place with children moving around, without a single thing being written down. It’s all about balance, meeting children’s needs and touching on various learning styles. Today I’m offering you an easy way to take learning beyond the classroom as children solve puzzles and work as a team with this Free School Scavenger Hunt.
We’ve had a few indoor recesses recently. Often on these days it can be beneficial to find ways to get children moving and exploring beyond their classroom, but it can be challenging because you are limited to staying indoors.
When I covered teachers prep periods, I tried to find activities that we could do outside of their classrooms. Often we went outside, but I also found that the children loved exploring throughout the school. This is when I started creating whole school scavenger hunts and adventures beyond the classroom.
Kids love scavenger hunts. They also love puzzles. This free school scavenger hunt combines both of these things and keeps kids engaged and learning while having fun!
So to all my teacher friends and educators, I am offering the scavenger hunt riddles/clues for free to give you a quick and easy activity to try with your students. You can use them today or hang onto them for a rainy day. If you like the scavenger hunt, you may also like the Classroom Escape Room for kids.
For homeschooling families, I have included a few simple ideas at the end of the activity description for how you can alter this scavenger hunt in your home or outside of a school setting. The riddles are a great learning opportunity for students regardless of where they learn.
Free School Scavenger Hunt Materials
One of the great things about this activity is that you don’t need to prepare any special materials. All you need is do is print the pages and spend a few minutes placing them around the school.
You can add a small treat or prize for children at the end of the activity, but that’s up to you.
For the Free Scavenger Hunt game you will need:
- Free Scavenger Hunt Printable Cards
The unique thing about this scavenger hunt is that it takes children beyond the classroom. They will be moving together throughout the school as they solve and follow the various clues. The locations for the clues are as follows:
- Front Doors
- Water Fountain
- Classroom of a Grade Above
If your school does not have one, or more, of these places, you can skip any clues that does not work for you.
As with all scavenger hunts and escape room games for kids, make sure to place all of the puzzles in a safe location. Also, make sure to stay with children while doing the activity.
Each of the cards are numbered so you know which order to hide them, as well as find them. On the bottom right hand corner of each card there is also the location that the page needs to be hidden.
Free School Scavenger Hunt Set Up
Once you have printed all of the cards/clues, take a few minutes placing them throughout your school at the specific locations. Depending on the size of your school, this can be really quick to set up. I can typically set it up during a recess break.
For a few of the clues, such as principal and custodian, it can be fun to include them in your scavenger hunt. If you are able to chat with them ahead of time, they may want to be part of your game, and students tend to love this. It’s also a great way to create a community feel within your school.
If you choose not to give the clues to specific people, you can simply tape the clue on or by their door for children to find.
Once you read a clue, children will work together to figure out where the clue is suggesting for them to go. Then together, the class will move through the school to the next location. They will know they correctly solved the riddle if another clue is found in the next location.
I currently teach kindergarten so I simply place the clue somewhere visible to kids as soon as they are in the right spot. If you have older children playing, you can actually hide the riddle in each location so children have to hunt in the library, gym or wherever, in order to find their next clue.
Also, depending on the size of your school and abilities of your class, I would put aside at least 30 minutes for this scavenger hunt.
You can set up and use this school scavenger hunt any day and any time of year. I love the idea of using this scavenger hunt at the beginning of the year to help familiarize children with the various rooms around the school, but it can be used just as effectively on a rainy day when children may otherwise be in the classroom the whole day.
Free School Scavenger Hunt Clue #1
The first clue can be printed and placed somewhere in the class that children will notice it right away. Or it can be read aloud to the class whenever you are ready to start the free school scavenger hunt!
The clue says to start at the doors at the very front. So children need to head to the front, or main doors of the school. If you have a few sets of doors that could fit this description, don’t worry, it’s up to you where you place the next clue.
If children head to one set of doors and don’t find the next clue, reread the clue to them and have them problem solve and brainstorm where else the clue may be. It’s okay if they don’t solve each clue immediately, that’s part of the fun.
Free School Scavenger Hunt Clue #2
Once children find the clue at the front doors of the school, someone can read the second clue aloud. It suggests to ‘go where there’s running, games and equipment too!‘
Again, this clue could fit a few locations in the school. If you have sports equipment in the classroom, children may want to check there. This is a great opportunity to discuss, as a group, and let kids share their guesses. Then decide as a team where they want to check first for their next clue.
The clue is intended to lead players to the gym, but it can lead children wherever you placed the next clue and fits the description.
Scavenger Hunt Riddle #3
Once players have found the third clue, read it to the group. The clue suggests for players to check the washroom.
Since most schools have several washrooms, I would suggest either placing this clue on the door of the washroom that the children use the most, or the closest washroom to where you read the clue.
Avoid putting the clue in the washroom, it can simply be taped to the door outside.
Scavenger Hunt Clue #4
Once students find the right washroom, the next clue is very straight forward.
The clue suggests for children to go to the place with ‘lots of books.’
Off to the library!
Scavenger Hunt Game Clue #5
If you want children to move through the clues quickly, place the library clue on the library doors. If you want your students to explore the library and make the game more challenging, place the clue on a shelf or somewhere less visible in the library so players have to hunt.
This clue tells players to look somewhere that ‘you can fill a bottle or take a drink’ so players start searching the water fountains.
With this clue there are likely many water fountains throughout the school. You can choose to place the next clue at any of the fountains you want and children will enjoy walking, moving and searching.
Free School Scavenger Hunt Clue #6
Once children find the water fountain with the next clue, you read the riddle:
“Teachers use this to make a copy of a sheet.
Once you find this machine, look down around your feet.”
Off to the photocopier!
School Scavenger Hunt Clue #7
If you have a photocopier that children can pass by, place this clue near the copier around the bottom. Make sure to place it in a safe place for children to search. It does not actually have to be on the photocopier.
It can even be somewhere in the room, even on the lower part of the wall, near a photocopier.
Free School Scavenger Hunt Clue #8
The next clue is one of my favorites, and you can keep it as simple, or interesting as you want. Children are led to the classroom one grade above the grade they are in now. So a group of grade four children will visit the grade five classroom.
If you are in a school like mine, there are more than one grade 5 class. That’s okay, children can try different classes until they find the right one.
This clue can either be placed on the door of the next class, or if you want to make it more fun, plan for the teacher to have the clue and have your students ask the teacher one grade up if they have a riddle for them.
Then the teacher, or even a student in the class, can read the riddle to everyone. It’s a great way for your children to meet another teacher and see their classroom.
Free School Scavenger Hunt Clue #9
Once they have the riddle from the older grade, students are led to the person(s) who ‘work hard to keep the school clean.’
They are looking for the custodian/janitor. Make sure to stay with children as they find your custodian so that they are not searching through their room or materials.
Like the previous clue, you can integrate your custodian into your scavenger hunt. Students have to find them and ask them if they have a clue for them. Once asked, the custodian can bring out, or even read, the next riddle to the class.
The next clue reads: “Throughout the school, the principal helps everyone. Walk to their room to continue the fun.“
Principal Riddle #10
Children make their way to the principal’s office. This clue is another great opportunity to include other educators in your game. It is also a wonderful reason for children to visit the principal and a fun interaction for children to have with them.
However, including other staff can be tricky because the school day is busy and they are often out of their rooms/offices. If you have it planned for your class to visit another staff, but they have to leave, they can stick the riddle on their door so that your scavenger hunt can still continue.
The Final Clue
The principal gets to let children know that they are almost to the end and they are about to win. The final stop is, ‘the room that you always work in”.
Back to your classroom! The final clue will lead you all back to where you started. Ending back in your room is also an easy way to keep children together and finish the game.
There is a completion clue that reads:
Congratulations, you did it! You worked together and didn’t quit.
For all your hard work, there’s a surprise. Open it up for your prize.
Once back you can give children a small treat, such as an extra recess or special game. You could also ask a teacher who will be near your room while you and your class are out doing the scavenger hunt, to move the congratulations card and box with the treat(s) onto a table for students to notice as soon as they reenter the room.
Once you are back in your room, you have successfully completed the free school scavenger hunt! Your students were able to decode the riddles and find each of the clues.
Everyone was learning as they problem solved to figure out the clues, practiced team work as they moved through the halls together and are ready to focus on the next activity or lesson since they have had a chance to move their body.
Free School Scavenger Hunt Extension Ideas
I try to create activities that can be done just about anywhere. This school scavenger hunt does require several locations that can typically only be found in a school. However, with a little creativity, you could alter the game to be played in other locations.
To play the scavenger hunt in a home or location that does not have all of the places listed in the clue cards, you can remove any of the cards that don’t fit for you. You can simply skip the card and move onto the next.
Another option is to place the cards in a place closest to where the riddle is describing. For example, instead of children searching a gymnasium, children can check where sporting equipment or games are played in their house.
Instead of a photocopier, children may check a computer printer in their house. You can even print pictures, or words for the different locations and children have to search around for the printed picture of the location their riddle suggests.
In the free school scavenger hunt printable I have also included a free clue card. Here you can add in your own riddle to add more places in your game or a special location that you want your students to visit.
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More Scavenger Hunt Ideas and Activities
If you love this school scavenger hunt, then you’ll also love this collection of 35 scavenger hunts for kids. From printable games and lists to hands-on activities and treasure hunts, this post has it all!
More Hands-On Teaching Ideas
If you enjoyed the free school scavenger hunt activity, and are looking for more engaging, hands-on activities, check out the ideas below. From free escape room games and outdoor scavenger hunts to more escape room scavenger hunt games to try at school, there is lots to keep kids busy and learning!
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