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Zoom Scavenger hunt: How to set up and play the game virtually on a group video call

Who remembers going on picnics and class trips, teaming up with your mates, and running around trying to find an old tire? We do! Scavenger hunts are a super fun way to kill the time family and friends alike.

But in this current pandemic, when going out of the house is highly risky, we were wondering if you could play this fun game indoors! This article covers how to organize and play a Scavenger hunt over a Zoom video call.

What is a Scavenger hunt?

A Scavenger hunt is a game in which players have to run around in search of a particular article. This game can be played in teams or solo, and the larger the area you play it in, the more fun it gets.

The aim of the game is to gather as many points as possible by finding the object before the rest of the players.

Can you play a Scavenger hunt virtually over Zoom?

Yes, you can! All you need is a few things, and a good imagination to write the rules. It is an added bonus if all the players live in the same country (you’ll see why soon), but it is definitely not a necessity.

How to play Scavenger hunt on Zoom

Here’s everything you need to know to play Scavenger hunt on Zoom.

What do you need to play Scavenger hunt on Zoom

Here is a small list of things you need to play a Scavenger hunt virtually:

  • Pen/pencil
  • A4 sheet of paper
  • Ruler
  • Stopwatch/countdown timer (you may use the inbuilt stopwatch on your computer)
  • Computer with a webcam
  • Zoom account (Free, and required for the Host only)

How to write out a Scavenger hunt list

Keep these pointers in mind while writing out the Scavenger hunt sheet.

  • Keep the left side of the sheet for the list of items and the right side for the names of players and points acquired.  This helps keep it organized if the list is extensive.
  • The items on the list should be a mix of both challenging and easy to access. If the items are too vague, players will lose interest; while if the items are all easy to find, scoring players will become difficult.
  • Being a virtual game, the list should only include household items like car keys, dirty dishes, left slipper.
  • Keep in mind, that depending on where you live, the items in a household would vary. Make sure you are inclusive of items possibly found in all the players’ houses.

If you don’t feel like creating your own list of items, Google for Scavenger hunt ideas to quickly gather some interesting ones.


Once you have your list ready, follow these rules to have a fun Scavenger hunt with your friends or family over a Zoom video call.

Setup for Scavenger hunt in Zoom

Step 1: Create a Zoom meeting and wait until all the players have joined.

Step 2: One player must host the game. This is the player that must have the Scavenger hunt list. Explain the rules of the game, but make sure not to leak any items on your list.

Step 3: All players need to turn on their webcams for the host to know which player arrived first.

Step 4: Decide the amount of time allowed for each player to locate the item. (20 sec, 30 sec, 60 sec). Remember, the lesser the time, the tougher the game, but that also makes it more fun!

Rules for Scavenger hunt on Zoom

  • All players must be touching their computer before each round begins. This makes for a fair playing field.  For example, if a player is standing far from the webcam, they could reach an item faster than the others. 
  • The host calls out the first item on the list and starts the preset countdown.
  • The players must rush to find the item in their house and bring it to the webcam before the timer runs out.
  • Once the countdown ends, all players must come back to the starting position, irrespective of if they found the item or not.
  • The host then writes down the points won by each player, next to the item

Keep Scores in Scavenger hunt on Zoom

Since the idea of the game is to see who can locate and bring items the fastest, the point system is based on who reaches first.

  • The first player to reach their screen with the correct item wins 3 points.
  • The second player to arrive with the correct item wins 2 points.
  • The players who find the item within the time period but did not arrive first or second, receive 1 point.
  •  The rest of the players (who did not find the item, or found the item after the time was up) receive 0 points.
  • At the end of the game, the host adds up each player’s total, and the player with the highest score wins!

If you’re new to using Zoom, make sure you check out our article on how to create a meeting on Zoom. Also, Zoom has a 40-minute time limit for its Free users. So if your game exceeds 40 mins, you will need to start again. Luckily we have found a way to bypass this 40-minute limit so that you can continue playing the game undisturbed.

How to remove the 40 minutes limit on Zoom


Zoom Scavenger hunt ideas for Kids

Here are some ideas for kids to enjoy a game of Scavenger hunt on Zoom.

Color-coded Scavenger hunt

Kids love colors and what better way to stimulate their brains and have them explore new colors while playing a game of Scavenger hunt. Depending on the age of the kids involved in the game, make a list of up to 20 colors and print it out for them. In case your kids are quite young, you can opt for basic colors like red, blue, white, black.

If they are a bit older, you can step up the game by including shades like off white, grey, magenta, lavender, and so on. And if you really want to give your kids a challenge and have them discover new colors then you can opt for the likes of crimson, carmine, sapphire blue, and so on.

While you’re stuck indoors, the goal would be to simply find the objects that resemble the color at hand the closest. The first one to come up with objects of all the colors in the list would win the game. You can increase the stakes by adding a prize for the winner which will give your kids an additional incentive to play the game.

Sound-based Scavenger hunt

Just like colors, the sound based Scavenger hunt can help your kids learn about different sounds produced by various different materials and instruments. You can even include everyday sounds that your kids might not have paid attention to before but might be hearing every day.

Instead of collecting the objects, your kids can go around the house and simply name the things that resemble the sounds listed. You can even record sounds in your phone and use them as hints for your kids to add an additional layer of fun to the game.

If your kids are young you can opt for mundane everyday sounds and in case they are a bit older you can opt for complex sounds like metal screeching, glass breaking, cars honking, birds chirping, electricity buzzing, and much more.

Toy-based Scavenger hunt

A toy based Scavenger hunt will be fun for the whole family. If you have kids in your home then chances are that you have a lot of toys laying around that haven’t been used in a while. You can use them to your advantage to create a complex Scavenger hunt that can be played right inside your home.

If your kids are quite young you can simply name the toys in the list and hide them for your kids to make the Scavenger hunt a bit more interesting. On the other hand, if your kids are a bit older than you can skip the naming part and describe the toys by their looks. This will get your kids thinking in order to have them find the right toy in the process.

Word-based Scavenger hunt

The word-based Scavenger hunt can be fun for the whole family. It can be played like bingo while helping your kids learn new words and their spellings in the process. This will require a bit extra preparation on your part but trust me it will be totally worth it.

Start by forming a list of easy to difficult words depending on the age of your kids. Now make a list of all the letters and write them on different cards. Make sure to include enough duplicates to give each member of the game a fair chance. Now hide the letters all around the house and start out by calling the first word when the game starts.

The players will then have to go find all the letters that make up the word in order to complete the first task. You can award points in a deprecating order depending on who comes up with the word and correct spelling first. The player with the most points at the end of the game will be the winner.

Shape-based Scavenger hunt

This is a Scavenger hunt more for the younger kids that are learning the importance of shapes in their life. Depending on the age of your kids you can include a list of shapes in the Scavenger hunt list and they can then go around the house that consists of the listed shapes in order to win the game.

If your kids are young, you can opt for easy shapes like square, circle, rectangle, triangles, and so on. If they are a bit older than you can use 3D shapes like cones, spheres, quadrilaterals, and more. This way you can help them learn about shapes in the process while playing a fun game of Scavenger hunt with them.

Feeling-based scavenger hunt

Kids love to express what they’re feeling and don’t shy away from letting others know about it. If you wish to engage your little ones in a fun scavenger hunt, you can ask them to procure things that they feel different ways about. This way you can expand the reach of the scavenger hunt and also learn more about your kids and what they love.

Feeling-based scavenger hunts can include a chart of emojis or the following things:

  • Something that makes your kids feel happy
  • What makes them feel sad
  • What scares your kids
  • What makes them laugh all the time
  • Things that make them mad/furious
  • Something that makes them feel bored
  • Something that makes your kid feel embarrassed
  • What surprises them everytime

Outfit/clothing-themed scavenger hunt

Scavenger hunt is most fun when the players have access to the same kind of things in their surroundings. For this to work on Zoom, you can ask your kids to find different items of clothing from their household from a list of things.

This could include a belt, hats/beanie or any kind of headgear, buttons, earrings, cloaks, gloves, scarfs, sneakers, sunglasses, tie, jackets, bowtie, and any other piece of clothing you can think of.

Additional scavenger hunt ideas

Looking for a few more scavenger hunt ideas? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

Piece of history [Tech only]

Gather your friends and embark on a mission to find ancient technological jewels. From old floppy disks and cassettes to scrapped CRT monitors and VHS players — nothing is off the menu. Go deep and rediscover your childhood.

Piece of history [Artifacts]

The idea is similar, but the horizon has been broadened to add more items to your list. You — and your friends — could look for decade-old currencies or a board game that has gone out of commission: “outdated” is the keyword in this game.

Things that are warm to touch

This fun idea would also work like a charm with your kids. Simply ask/help them to find stuff that are warm to touch and let their imagination run wild. From the back of your laptop to the pillow you were lying on, every object counts, as long as they are reasonably warm to touch.

Things that make a crinkling sound

Unlike most scavenger hunts, this one asks your kids to use their auditory skills. Simply ask them to find objects that make a crinkling sound — newspaper, aluminum foil wrap, etc. —  and see the little maestros get to work.

Riddles

If you’re looking to shake things up, there’s always the option of incorporating a few riddles. To get started, take a look at the list below [Courtesy: Icebreaker Ideas and Freya Wilcox]

  • With four strong legs, I stand with pride. But please, don’t hesitate to take a ride. Though I love to stand all day, I was made for your rump to stay. (Chair)
  • Open me up, there’s lots to see. But sometimes, you still frown at me! You’ll say I’m not diverse enough. It’s not my fault you don’t buy new stuff! (Closet)
  • Rub away, if you must. Let me collect all that dust. Just stomp away, I never hide. I keep the outdoors away from the inside. (Welcome rug)
  • Open, shut, open shut. When you’re bored, I take the brunt. But there’s nothing here, you see. Time to visit the grocery. (Refrigerator)
  • Fill me up and make me fat, you like me best when I’m like that. But lose track and you will see, you’ve nearly finished what you put in me. (Wallet)
  • Feeding from me they float on air, wings beating fast, they best be quick because soon there won’t be enough to last (Birdfeeder)
  • A metal box with numbers is usually the norm, for this thing that keeps our food warm (Microwave)
  • I get bigger when I eat but die weaker when I drink. What am I? (Fire)
  • Can you find something which has keys that open no locks, with space but no room and allows you to enter but not go in? (Keyboard)
  • A place where water falls down like rain, after it falls on you it goes down the drain (Shower)

Memories from your childhood

Old memories serve a purpose of enlightening how far we’ve come through and also shows us how much of our past contributes to our present. Bringing back an old story is always nostalgic and what better way to serve it than playing a game of scavenger hunt with items from your memories.

Most of us still treasure some of the things from back in our childhood or some version of it. You can organize a scavenger hunt based on items that you can recollect from your childhood or a version of it or create one with photos of certain memories. If you’re playing with your friends, you can play it with these ideas – first picture of you, your first birthday, your school sports team, your first pet and so on.

Items from your kitchen

So you’re too lazy to sort through your cluttered shelves to find something from your past. Fret not! You can play scavenger hunt with the things you have readily available at home and the one place that is common for most homes are items in the kitchen.

You can create a list of items people can find in their kitchen like a can opener, peeler, measuring cups, bowls, spoons, whisk, grater, and other kitchen utilities. This should make for a fun scavenger hunt and the spoonful of entertainment when someone mistakes an item or two for something else.

Bonus: Father’s day ideas

With Father’s Day fast approaching, it may be a good idea to engage in a Father’s Day-themed hunt. Here are a couple ideas you could try:

Find five favorite items

The aim here is to find five items your father can’t live without. From a Scrabble Board to favorite watch — everything counts.

Selfie Scavenger Hunt Challenge

Just show you old man how much you value him by clicking adorable selfies. Your father may need some convincing to click a few cheesy ones, so, be ready to turn on the charm.

Find office essentials

From wallet to spectacles: this hunt asks you to list (and find) the things that your dad needed before zooming off to office.


We hope you enjoy playing your Virtual Scavenger hunt. If you have any questions, feel free to drop us a comment below. We would love to hear the items you put on your scavenger list!