If you are organizing a mall scavenger hunt I’ve got a list of ideas and considerations that you will need.
Scavenger hunts have been a fun activity for kids for decades. Put kids in a group, give them a mission and they will accomplish a lot.
Kids like puzzles and they like to have fun. The perfect thing about a scavenger hunt is that it allows kids to problem-solve and have fun at the same time. It’s a mentally and physically stimulating activity – healthy all around!
If you want to use the mall as your “playground” it’s important to be aware of a few things.
First, there could be liability concerns (not something anyone wants to hear).
Second, it’s important to know the make-up of the group because they will need to be respectful at the mall.
Third is a positive reason for a scavenger hunt. It is a really good place for socializing and exploring different shops and items.
In the sections below I’ll share a few scavenger hunt options, considerations, possible themes, rules, and a long list of mall scavenger hunt ideas. I’ll also attach a printable pdf so you can use my ideas for your activity. Let’s get started!
>>also read about free typing games for kids
Options For A Mall Scavenger Hunt
#1 A scavenger hunt where each group must complete a task before moving on to the next task. The group will need to complete the first task in order to move onto the next task.
This makes everything more organized and if all the groups have similar directives, the group that finishes first will be the winner. It can also be frustrating for a group if they can’t solve a task – then they won’t be able to move forward to the next task.
#2 A sequential hunt where completing a task will lead the group to the next task. This is similar to the first option, however, it differs because all the tasks are tied together. Completing one task provides the next clue to solve the next task.
In order to complete this task, the organizer will place clues in the mall beforehand with instructions to find the next task. Clues must be places in areas where mall employees won’t discover and remove them.
Similar to the first option, if the group can’t solve a task they may become frustrated and disinterested (just make sure you don’t make the clues too difficult).
#3 A simplified game where the groups will need to find generic objects in the mall and take photographs. This involves more imagination and creativity from the group. It’s also easier on the organizer because print-outs are widely available online (we have a mall scavenger hunt printout below).
The group will have 20 or more tasks (or things to find and photograph). The group can choose any task and the team with the most tasks completed win (it can also be based off a point system to reward more difficult tasks).
- Groups of kids hustling around a mall could be dangerous.
- Liability – nobody wants to be sued.
- Time of day and time of the week – usually better when the mall is busy.
- Behavior – is your group well-behaved and respectful.
- Will the scavenger hunt involve observation, participation, or finding actual items that you’ve hidden?
- Permission from the mall or from people who will have their photo taken
>> also read my long list of ideas for bored teenagers
Scavenger Hunt Themes
- Hidden Gems (when the organizer has gone into the mall previously and hid items to find)
- Observers (looking for mall customers with a specific appearance or action)
- Price Warrior (looking for cheap or expensive items)
- Food Testers (involves trying mall food – but probably expensive and not viable)
- Models (looking for clothes, both fashionable and not)
Establish Rules For Your Mall Scavenger Hunt
- No running
- Use inside voices
- The group must stay together (can’t split up)
- Photo must be taken of each completed task
- If you need assistance ask nicely (dressing rooms etc.)
- Be respectful to employees and if you’re told to leave, then leave
- All groups will start at the same spot and return to the same spot
- Must finish the scavenger hunt before the allotted time (or lose points)
- If you use an item from the shelf, put it back neatly.
- One group member will have a paper and pen to mark activities.
- One group member will use their phone to take photos.
The 45 Best Mall Scavenger Hunt Ideas
1. Take a group photo with one person holding up the largest pair of pants you can find. And take a photo of the pants size (largest size wins).
2. Take a photo of your entire group on an escalator
3. Photo of your entire group in an elevator.
4. High-five with a McDonalds employee.
5. Take a photo of the most expensive Barbie you can find on the shelf (highest price wins).
6. Take a photo of the ugliest shirt you can find.
7. Clearance rack, cheapest item.
8. Pose as models next to a mannequin.
9. Take a photo behind a cash register at the store
10. In a single photo, shows group members on two levels of the mall.
11. Take a group photo with a surfboard
12. Take a group phot with hats (each person with a hat on is a point)
13. Take a photo with a fancy car in the parking lot
14. Take a photo with a funny t-shirt
15. Take a photo with someone at the Information table and get their name
16. One group member playing a video game
17. Take a photo with a group member holding a Kenny Chesney album
18. How many stores in the mall are empty (out of business)
19. Take a photo of the largest shoe size you can find
20. Take a photo wearing a wig
21. Photo in a bathrobe (over your clothes)
22. Take a photo of a group member in a stroller or shopping cart
23. Take a photo next to a lightbulb that is out (not working)
24. Take a group photo next to a going out of business sale
25. Get a group photo next to a popcorn machine
26. Group photo next to the biggest tv you can find (and a photo of the tv dimensions)
27. Photo of a group hug with a professional athlete
Photos of other people (mall customers)
28. Someone wearing a cowboy hat
29. Someone wearing capris
30. Someone with blue, green, or bleached hair)
31. Someone with dreadlocks
32. Someone eating ice cream
33. Someone holding a baby
34. Someone running (not your group)
35. Someone in a referee shirt
36. Someone wearing all white shoes
37. Someone carrying 3 bags
38. Someone talking on the phone
39. Someone with 3 kids
40. Photo of a redhead
41. Photo of a movie poster
42. Someone wearing sunglasses inside
43. A man carrying a child on his shoulders
44. Someone getting a makeover
45. A senior couple holding hands
Example Printable Mall Scavenger Hunt
I’ve created two printable pdf for the ideas I listed. The first is a photo mall scavenger hunt that will require the team to find items and take photos (read about fun handclapping games for kids).
The second is also a photo scavenger hunt but the group will need to find people who match the task (for example, seniors holding hands).
A mall scavenger hunt is a fun and challenging activity for kids. You might have wondered, “why the mall?”
A mall provides a busy and stimulating place filled with stores and items to explore. There’s always something happening at the mall!
Although it’s not meant to be a playground, it can be a great place to take a group of kids for a party. Keep the scavenger hunt brief and to the point so the kids won’t get distracted or disinterested.
My list of themes and considerations should get you on the right track for planning this activity, but be sure to come up with your own ideas to make the event special. More thought and planning could make the event a huge success.
But if you don’t want to put your personal touch on the scavenger hunt, just use my printable scavenger hunt pdf. I’ve come up with a bunch of fun ideas that can be found at most malls.