15-Minute Christmas Scavenger Hunts

Today I’m sharing ideas for simple Christmas scavenger hunts and races to add to your homeschool day. This is a great way to inject a little holiday spirit into your home – and homeschool during this busy time of year.

This post is part of my 12 Days of Christmas series. Find more free Christmas resources and ideas here!

15-Minute Christmas Scavenger Hunts

Why Scavenger Hunts?

We love scavenger hunts. And I use them all year round for several reasons.

Simple for Kids

First, they’re a simple way to add some fun to our homeschool routine.

Since we’re a book-loving family and use Sonlight, a Christian homeschool curriculum, as our spine, we spend a lot of time, well, reading! And while we love books, it is fun to get up, move around, and even head outdoors for a change.

Scavenger hunts are simple for kids to understand and complete. And since they can use pictures instead of words, they’re great for prereaders, too. Or why not change it up and try a reading scavenger hunt using your family’s favorite Christmas stories?

Easy for Mom

Second, they’re fast and easy to arrange. And as a working homeschool mom, I love fast and easy. This is especially true during December. I’m often juggling Q4 goals with client deadlines.

And I have fun taking part in these scavenger hunts too!

Usually, I’ll just do a quick search for whatever topic/season/activity I’m looking for. For example, “December scavenger hunt ideas for kids.”

Promote Problem-Solving & Teamwork

Third, as the Institute for Educational Advancement explains, scavenger hunts have educational benefits for kids. They help hone problem-solving skills, encourage teamwork, and are easy to customize based on your children’s age and other factors.

Suitable for All Locations

Fourth, scavenger hunts can happen indoors, outdoors, online, from magazines, and on car trips…..so they’re flexible. This is particularly important when the weather gets cold.

Christmas Scavenger Hunts for Preschoolers & Kindergarten Kids

One of the easiest activities to keep preschoolers and kindergarten kids busy involves having them search for things. And during the holiday season, when working homeschool moms have their plates full, finding simple Christmas activities can help you achieve your goal of a stress-free Christmas.

Print off a simple scavenger hunt holiday printable for your preschooler. Show them what they’re looking for. I suggest keeping these really simple for children between the ages of three and five. For example, use scavenger hunts based on

  • colors – red, green, silver, gold
  • shapes – bells, stars, snowmen, angels
  • Christmas items – decorations, wreaths, signs, and even gifts.

In the past, I’ve used a holiday kindergarten scavenger hunt printable to keep my younger daughter occupied for fifteen minutes while working on math lessons with my older daughter.

Find even more Christmas printables for scavenger hunts for kindergarten kids.

  1. Playdates Parties for Kindergarten
  2. Laptops and Naptimes Christmas Eve Treasure Hunt for Kids
  3. Talk of the Trains Christmas Lights Hunt
  4. Peace But Not Quiet Picture-Based Hunt
  5. KCEdventures Picture-Based Holiday Scavenger Hunt for Children

Holiday Scavenger Hunts for Elementary School Kids

Creating a scavenger or treasure hunt for elementary school kids can be even simpler than making one for younger children. That’s because you can stick with word-based instructions.

However, if your children already read, you also have the option to make your holiday hunt a little more complex.

For example, instead of handing your children an instruction sheet and sending them on their merry way, you could actually hide clues around the house.

So first, either create your own clues or print off a scavenger clue sheet (see below for several options.)

Next, cut the clues out and hide them in the house. Each clue will have a hint about where to find the next clue.

The last spot should have a prize for each child. Something like Christmas candy or a small gift works well.

Here are a few places to find free holiday scavenger hunt printables for big kids.

  1. Typically Topical Christmas Scavenger Hunt printables
  2. Play Party Plan Best Ever Christmas Scavenger Hunt
  3. House Beautiful Christmas Scavenger Hunt Clues for Big Kids
  4. 123 Homeschool for Me Free Christmas Scavenger Hunts Printables
  5. Moritz Fine Designs Free Christmas Hunt for Kids

Turn Your Hunt Into a Race

Are your kids competitive? Mine sure are.

That’s why we sometimes turn our holiday scavenger hunts into races. This works best if your children are close in age. Give the winner a privilege instead of a prize.

For example, maybe the winner gets to choose the old-fashioned Christmas book to read tonight. Or to pick the pioneer Christmas craft to work on this weekend.

If you have less than 30 minutes for holiday Christmas crafts, check out my Christmas construction paper placemat activity.

More Great Scavenger Hunts for Homeschoolers

Looking for more year-round and holiday scavenger hunt ideas? Here are a few more places to try!

  1. Good Housekeeping 22 Best Scavenger Hunt Ideas for Kids
  2. The Many Little Joys Preschool Scavenger Hunts
  3. Parade 29 Scavenger Hunt Ideas for Elementary-Aged Kids
  4. How We Learn Scavenger Hunt Ideas for Kids
  5. The Spruce Outdoor Scavenger Hunts for Kids
  6. An Off Grid Life Seed Catalog Scavenger Hunt
12 Days of Christmas: 15-Minute Scavenger Hunt text overlay

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