Making sure your kids have a fantastic time while on vacation doesn’t always have to mean spending a ton of money. And if your plans change due to unexpected bad weather, an indoor Hotel Scavenger Hunt may be just what the doctor ordered to keep your kids busy and having fun at the hotel. Best of all, it’s free!
You’ve spent all this money on an amazing vacation and arrive at your destination – let’s say Disney World – only to have your plans derailed by rain. Sure, you can bundle up and go to the parks and you probably will, but can you really handle 16 hours outdoors in the rain? I can’t! So what’s a mom to do?
Time for a Hotel Scavenger Hunt
Hotel scavenger hunts are a great way for your kids to become more familiar with the resort, and even learn a few fun things along the way. You can have little ones search the room for things, and set older kids and tweens free to explore the hotel.
This kind of treasure hunt is the perfect way to keep kids active! And if you’ve just arrived at the hotel, a scavenger hunt is a great way to burn off extra energy after sitting on a plane or in the car on a road trip all day.
You can find free printables online (or order an instant download game sheet from Etsy), but I highly recommend designing your own game. Customize it for the hotel where you are staying! During a stay at the Wyndham Lake Buena Vista, an official Walt Disney World property that is the closest hotel to Disney Springs and had a great time putting together a scavenger hunt.
Do a Photo Scavenger Hunt
Photo scavenger hunts combine technology and exercise – it’s a win-win! Have kids use their phone cameras to take pictures of their finds, rather than collect tangible objects. By not having to gather items like “5 travel brochures” or a “10 packets of sweetener” you really cut down waste at the end of the game. Plus it is easier for kids to play since they don’t have to carry around random items.
This kind of scavenger hunt game also opens the door for some very creative ideas – you can take selfies and photos of so many more items than you could ever bring back to the room.
- Find a red chair.
- Find a picture of Pluto.
- Find a fire extinguisher.
Count Your Way to the Win
Designing a scavenger hunt for kids that instructs them to count things is also a great way to play that does not require collecting items. Just come up with a list of items they need to find and count.
Have your kids count how many:
- Light fixtures in the lobby?
- Stuffed animals in the gift shop?
- Stairs on grand staircase?
- Computers are at the front desk?
- Kinds of potato chips in the vending machine on the third floor?
Hotel Scavenger Hunt in the Room
You can create a fun game right inside your hotel room if your kids are young or you’re not comfortable letting them wander around the hotel on their own. In this case, make it a little more challenging by having clues that lead them to the next clue and then the next. This is my son’s favorite way to play; in fact, he enjoys coming up with the riddles and having me do the scavenger hunt more than he enjoys searching for the clues himself.
A sample in-room scavenger hunt for a young child:
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- This is where mom makes her morning drink (coffee pot)
- You go in here to get clean (bath tub)
- When you’re tired, you put your head on top of this (pillow)
Make Them Do Their Research
In addition to finding items, asking older kids to dig for information is a great way to engage them in a hotel scavenger hunt. Design questions that peek into the hotel’s history, or make them read signs or ask questions to come up with the right answers.
Here are some examples from our stay at the Wyndham Lake Buena Vista:
- What year did the hotel open?
- What was the hotel’s original name?
- What are the hours of the hotel’s restaurant?
Stay Safe on the Hunt
It goes without saying, but remind your kids to follow general safety rules to keep themselves and others safe. No running. No going outside. No talking to strangers unless they are on staff at the hotel. And absolutely, positively, no going inside anyone’s room!
Finally, have a prize in mind for the winner of the hotel scavenger hunt. It doesn’t have to be anything big – maybe a special treat from the gift shop or the promise to have your winner sit in the front seat of the roller coaster first, if that’s their gig.
However you end the game, make sure it’s something lighthearted and fun. And maybe give a little something to all the players, so nobody’s feelings get hurt.