With the Kids

Summer Camp for Kids: Photo Scavenger Hunt

Summer Camp guest post by Marisa of MakeHappy

My kids love scavenger hunts. I love scavenger hunts, too, because it can turn a mundane walk to the grocery store into a fun outing. (I live in a teeny tiny town, you see, and we walk everywhere. The grocery store, the library, the post office, school, and the park. I love it!) The only thing I don’t like about scavenger hunts is that the kids, at age 7 and almost 4, always want to bring their findings home. And I don’t know about you, but I’m not super excited to have pine cones, acorns and twigs stashed in my kids’ rooms. So we’ve started doing photo scavenger hunts.

The kids bring their cameras (disposables also work well for this) to take pictures of the objects on our list. I bring my camera, too, so I can practice—I’m always striving to take better photos. And I act as the list-keeper, crossing off items as we go.

For this outing, we did not have a particular destination. We took a short drive to the Hood River (Oregon) Marina for a special Alphabet Scavenger Hunt. I prepared our list with each letter of the alphabet and we set off to find at least one object that started with each letter.

 Some letters were easy—the letter B in a marina, with boats and boathouses everywhere, was a no-brainer. Others, like N, were particularly difficult. As a team, we decided that we could include letters on signs if we couldn’t find objects. My resourceful daughter was the one who finally found N at the end of our trek. She said, “Mom, N is for Nikon! You have an N on your camera!”

During these long summer days, finding an activity both my kids enjoy that lasts for longer than 20 minutes is like gold to me. You can be sure we’ll be doing several more photo scavenger hunts before school starts in September.

Marisa Cieloha is a small town girl, a mother of two, a hobbyist photographer, and in her daughter’s words, crafty like a fox. She prefers to cook without recipes and sew without patterns. She is the creator, writer and photographer for MakeHappy, a blog full of crafts, food, and fun. She has recently added a PhotoFriday segment to document her journey learning photography in manual mode.


  1. What did you use for your bonus questions. My son and I are going to do this this weekend as he has showen in interest in the camera all of a sudden and it’s a good way to get out into our MN/WI fall weather and him to work on his words (he’s in 1st grade) Any suggestions or ideas will help and are appreciated ASAP. Thanks

  2. Kelly, I keep a scrapbook of sorts for my family, and in this case, I would print a few of the best ones for the scrapbook. The kids and I looked through all of the digital photos on the computer and discussed them, then I printed our favorites. Hope this answers your question!

  3. Love this idea, but one question…what do you do with all the pictures? I can’t see printing a million pictures of pine cones and random objects. Do you just delete them afterwards? Would love to know what you do with them all. Thanks!

  4. This is such a good idea. It reminds me of something I saw in the paper one year, where a teacher had single use cameras donated to her classroom and sent one with each student, with the assignment to find all the letters of the alphabet in the everyday objects around them. So, for example, the bars of a swingset might make the letter A, a telephone pole might be T. It was really cute.

  5. Such a great idea. I love sending the kids off with the camera and seeing what they come back with. This activity gives them a little direction.

  6. Love this! Going to dig up my old point and shoot and set the girls to work!

  7. Fabulous idea! My kids love stealing the camera and taking mindless pictures of the tv show they are watching. This is a much better use of both their time and the camera! Thanks!

  8. Hi Marie,

    I got your site address from my husband (Ray). My name is Cali and I’m in your new ward. I just wanted to tell you how much I love your blog… love all the ideas.

    That’s all. I hope you’re having a good week


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