Quick & Easy Back To School Scavenger Hunt

As a former {and one day will be again!} teacher, I see August as my new year. In the past it’s often been a time of reflecting, self-evaluating, seeking improvement, and determining new routines.  I think I carry this into my family life as well.  Although temperatures still blaze, my thoughts drift to cool{er} Saturdays that start with College Game Day and include visits to the Imperial Farmers Market. And, of course, I’m ready for some tailgate food and Texans football. But I also love the structure of a weekday when school is in session, and I’m particularly ready this August after a loose summer spent becoming a family of five.

My oldest is returning to preschool. He was a champ last year. He began each school day without tears and met me with all smiles in the pick-up line. I don’t foresee any trouble with him returning this year. That being said, he is a home body. And he loves being with his Momma. He’s done so much adjusting and growing up this past summer becoming the big brother to two younger siblings in two years, and we just wanted him to feel encouraged and loved as he starts up again.

After racking my brain a bit, I decided to put together a quick scavenger hunt back to school care package to help him feel our support as he takes on another year of learning and fun outside of the house. I can see it becoming a family tradition, and I hope my three boys are rolling their eyes {but secretly loving} our fall scavenger hunt as high school students.


Because I often find myself finding a project on Pinterest last minute and stressing because I don’t have the materials and won’t get them in time, I decided to make this scavenger hunt quick and easy. You can use what you have on hand; you don’t need a fancy printable; and your artistic skills are irrelevant.

Quick and Easy Back to School Scavenger Hunt ::

  1. Grab a puzzle template like this one or create your own. Seriously, you could sketch it quickly in a pinch.
  2. Gather “encouragement” items. Use what you have on hand, or if you are ahead of the game, pick up materials on your next grocery trip. {See below for ideas!}
  3. Decorate the front of your puzzle and write clues on the back of the puzzle pieces. I used places around the house that our son would have to visit in order to get ready for school days.
  4. Hide your clues and encouragement prize and have fun making back to school memories!

PicMonkey Collage

 Back to School Scavenger Hunt Prize Ideas ::

  • Oreos or chocolate chip cookies – You are one smart cookie!
  • Goldfish – Follow the Golden Rule.
  • S’mores Trail Mix {Golden Grahams, Marshmallows, Chocolate Chips} – Be ready to learn S’more!
  • Bouncy Ball – Have a ball!
  • Fun Dip – Have fun this year!
  • Eraser – It’s okay to make mistakes.
  • Stickers or glue stick – Stick to your goals.
  • Glow in the dark stars – Do your best.
  • Reese’s Pieces – We love you to pieces!
  • Extra Gum – Go the extra mile.
  • M&M’s – We love you more and more each day!
  • Lifesavers – Reach out and be a lifesaver to those around you.
  • Starbursts – Shoot for the stars!
  • Rubber bands – Stretch your mind!
  • Tootsie Rolls – Roll with the punches.
  • Fun shaped sponge – Soak it all in!
  • Hershey Hugs and Kisses – Hugs and kisses!
  • Pens/pencils/crayons – Write your own story.
  • Travel size hand sanitizer – Lend a helping hand.

We obviously didn’t use all of these, and to be honest, our scavenger hunt happened quickly as I plated dinner for a cranky toddler. I didn’t have everything I wanted on hand, and my puzzle wasn’t exactly fancy. But our preschooler had a smile on his face discovering each new clue, and as I juggled plates and sippy cups of milk to the table, I couldn’t help but smile as my husband bounced the baby in his arms and read our words of encouragement after Wyatt put together his puzzle.

With school right around the corner, join me! Whether your kiddos are headed to their very first days of preschool, kindergarten, middle, or high school, or returning to a familiar scene after a long, hot summer – a little encouragement can go a long way in providing a successful start to the school year.


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Jenn is an English teacher turned stay at home mom to boys Wyatt {2010}, John {2013}, and Abram {2014}. South Louisiana born and raised, North Louisiana educated, and Texas “polished,” she has found Houston to be home with her husband for the past ten years. After infertility struggles, in 2010 she traded in A Tale of Two Cities for Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site and has since been busy discovering ways to learn while playing, maintaining a semi-scheduled family life, and integrating both Texas and Louisiana culture into her family. Besides making memories with her boys full time, she enjoys reading, running, crafting, cooking, and football. Y’all stop by When In Doubt, Add More Salt to read more about family adventures with the boys and Jenn’s thoughts on hot summers and Pinterest pin attempts, and her love/hate relationship with March Madness brackets.


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