Host a Camera Scavenger Hunt

Gather great outdoor memories at your next special event by getting everyone taking photos.


What You Need

  • Cameras
  • Chalk (optional)
  • Clipboards or temporary ones made from corrugated cardboard
  • Flags, scarves or any brightly colored item (to show boundaries of the hunt)
  • Pencils or crayons
  • Scavenger hunt lists
  • String or yarn


What You Do

  1. Ask everyone to bring a camera or phone that takes photos
    You can use disposable cameras, but they create waste and usually have limited photos you can take.
    This is a great activity for birthday parties, so in the invitations, ask each person to bring a camera. You might gather some back-up cameras from friends to help those who forget.
  2. Prepare a scavenger hunt list per guest
    If the guests are younger than seven, it’s better if the list shows photos and words, not just words. You could use our Backyard Scavenger Hunt list. (Correct Link?)
    It helps the guests if you put the lists on a clipboard and attach a pencil or crayon with a string. If you don’t have enough clipboards, you can make temporary ones from corrugated cardboard.
  3. If you make your own list, be specific and imaginative
    Be descriptive

    • winged bug rather than just bug
    • open flower rather than just a flower.

    You can ask for scavenger hunt photos that let the participants use their imaginations such as:

    • something fuzzy
    • an object that is your favorite color
    • a chalk drawing you just made

    You can ask for photos that test their camera skills, such as:

    • something moving
    • a silhouette
    • a shadow
    • something zoomed in but not blurry

  4. Include on the list behaviors of other people
    Maybe they can take photos of each other doing various behaviors such as:

    • a person swinging on a swing
    • someone laughing for real
    • someone being kind
    • two people dancing

    Maybe they must take three photos of the birthday kid.

  5. Kick off the scavenger hunt
    You might pair up smaller children with an adult, or have older kids work in pairs. That way, if they wander out of view, you know everyone is safe.
    But that brings up a key point – you must now set the boundaries for the hunt. Do they have to stay in your backyard? If you are at a park, what are the boundaries? If it is not super obvious, you might tie flags on trees or poles to remind them of the boundaries – to keep things safe and fair.
    Also, tell them how much time they have, and what will be the signal to come back. Perhaps you will ring a bell or hit a gong!
  6. Let the festivities begin!
    While everyone is out hunting, you might have a few adults patrolling to help answer questions. Some kids will be more savvy with cameras than others, so you might need to teach children how to look on the camera to see if their photo was taken.
  7. Call everyone back
    It’s great to have some kind of acknowledgement for everyone’s efforts – so this is a good time to pull out a special snack or make medals from recycled metal lids attached to ribbon.
  8. Make a slideshow of everyone’s findings
    If you have a tech-savvy person at the party, you could ask them if they could make a funny slideshow for everyone to watch when it is time to eat cake.