The Complete Guide To Building The Best Outdoor Scavenger Hunt With PlayTours


Table of Contents

  • Why PlayTours?

Scavenger Hunt Basics

  • Scavenger Hunt Objectives
  • Scavenger Hunt Types
  • Route Planning

Using PlayTours

  • Structuring the Scavenger Hunt
  • Clues and hints
  • Creating Excitement and Engagement
  • Safety and coordination

Why PlayTours?

PlayTours is an app that can be used on a desktop, tablet or mobile phone. It’s a platform for you to create indoor or outdoor scavenger hunts and escape “rooms”.

It’s robust

PlayTours has all the basic and advanced features you will need. There is no need for you or your players to use any other software. There’s simply too many features to list here, and you can see how they are used further down this article.

It’s quick and easy

Once you have your scavenger hunt ideas thought of and written, putting it on PlayTours should take less than an hour with our easy-to-use admin panel.

It’s beautiful & professional

PlayTours allows you to customize the background, add photos & videos and looks great on any device.

It makes your game scalable

Paper and pen might be perfect for a group of 10, but you will quickly jump into issues if you are designing a game for a larger group. PlayTours allows players to collect items digitally as text, images and videos. Clues can also be given automatically by using limited “credits” that players can use to buy clues, or you can time a clue to appear if players take too long.

It helps with safety

PlayTours gives you a bird’s eye view of where players are and allows you to send group-wide announcements instantly.

Scavenger Hunt Objectives

It is important to know the objective of your scavenger hunt as it dictates the types of items and activities that players face. Prioritizing and knowing what your scavenger hunt is not for help when you are stuck while thinking of items and activities.

Typical scavenger hunt objectives are:

  1. Just for fun
  2. Explore and learn a new place
  3. Get players to know each other better
  4. Strengthen teamwork
  5. Learn something new
  6. Improve puzzle-solving skills
  7. Special occasions

Scavenger Hunt Types

Neighbourhood scavenger hunts

  • Find hidden items
  • Find specific landmarks or locations
  • Follow hidden clues to find another hidden location or prize
  • Solve puzzles that requires knowledge and observation of the neighborhood

Photo scavenger hunts

  • Players doing specific activities
  • Jump shots
  • Boy or girl band album cover shots
  • Standing near a sign
  • Making funny faces
  • Items of a particular shape or colour
  • Important landmarks
  • Things that rhymes with a specific sound or start with a specific alphabet

Nature scavenger hunts

  • Take a photo of a specific plant species or animal.
  • Identify plant and animal species by providing descriptions of different species.
  • Educate on sustainability efforts and being environmentally-friendly.

Field trip scavenger hunts

  • Fill-in-the-blanks puzzle based on information boards.
  • Exhibition items at the museum.
  • Items with special logos.
  • Types of animal species at the safari or zoo.
  • Shops that sell certain food items.

Google maps scavenger hunts

Although not actually outdoors, Google maps scavenger hunts using their street view functionality can be an interesting experience if done right.

  • Learn a new culture and how it is practiced.
  • Explore hidden and dangerous paths.
  • Solve puzzles that require finding clues based on what they see.
  • Finding the most optimal route from A to B for a pedestrian or bicycle.

Riddle/puzzle scavenger hunts

  • Use riddles to give players directions.
  • Use riddles to make players guess the item to find.
  • Use riddles to solve a bigger riddle.
  • Use items found during the hunt as clues to solve a riddle.

Escape-room scavenger hunts

You can add escape-room elements to your scavenger hunts to add an additional layer of excitement and intrigue.

  • Add time limits to find a certain item.
  • Players must find all items or complete all tasks before moving on to another area.
  • Players must escape from an imaginary trap surrounding an area.

Route Planning

A to B

  • Most basic and easiest to plan.
  • Best for smaller group sizes.
  • Best for simpler objectives, such as to explore a new place and to get players to know one another better.


  • Encourages players to discuss and deliberate the options and risks.
  • Gives a greater sense of adventure.


  • Best if you need players to return to the same spot.
  • May not be ideal if players can see the same areas when they are returning. The loop must ideally not be overlapping.


  • Best for larger group sizes where players and teams should not be at the same location at the same time.
  • Can create a sense of excitement as players can see what others are doing and how they are progressing from one area to another.
  • Allows more to be done at a specific location instead of forcing the items and activities to be on a long trail.


  • Best for scavenger hunts that have a lot of items, puzzles or activities near each other and require players to figure out where to go first.
  • A good way to increase complexity if the scavenger hunt area is relatively small.

Using PlayTours

The following sections will guide you on how to set up your scavenger hunt on PlayTours. To try the actual demo, click here.

Structuring the Scavenger Hunt

Placing items on the map

You can place “?” icons around the map to give players an indication that there is something there.

Step 1: Add an item under the “Items” section.

Step 2: Select location and configure “Shown on Map” to “Yes”.

What players see:

Scavenging for items

Using location

Step 1: Create a new task and set the “Type” to “location” and select the location.

What players see:

Using QR or barcode scanner

Step 1: Create a new task and set the “Type” to “qrbarcode” and click “Add Possible Answer”.

What players see:

Using a text code

Step 1: Create a new task and set the “Type” to “text” and click “Add Possible Answer”.

What players see:

Moving to another area

You can use different chapters to move from 1 area to another. Once a chapter has been completed, the next chapter can have 1 single task that will tell the player to go to a new location.

Clues and hints

Clues are important in every scavenger hunt.

  • Prevent players from feeling too frustrated and helpless.
  • Ensure that players can complete the hunt within the time given.
  • Provide an opportunity for the team to discuss whether to use their limited credits to buy a clue or continue finding the items without help.

Give a clue if players spend too much time

Step 1: Add an item under the “Items” section.

Step 2: Set “Chapter” and “Minutes from Game/Chapter” accordingly.

Let players buy clues using limited credits

Step 1: Under “Details”, set the total number of coins for the entire game.

Step 2: For the specific task, set “Has Hint” to “Yes” and configure “Coins Needed” accordingly.

What players see:

Players can click on Buy hin

Players will be notified of the number of coins needed

Players will then be shown the hint

Creating Excitement and Engagement

Give time limits

You can set 2 types of time limits:

Game time limit

Chapter time limit

What happens when players exceed the time limit?

They will still be allowed to complete the task but points earned will not be counted in the leaderboard for that game or chapter.

Give different tasks different points

Giving different items or tasks different points encourages the team to discuss and decide as a team on what tasks to prioritize.

The team could choose to do the 3 tasks above or 1 difficult task below

Give different route paths

You can give 2 different tasks that require players to choose 2 different paths.

Showing the leaderboard

You can configure the leaderboard to be shown or hidden. The leaderboard is a live view of where other teams are in terms of the number of points, encouraging teams to work faster and better.

Step 1: Set “Hide Leaderboard” as “No”

What players see:

Safety and coordination

Setting ground rules

You can use the very first chapter to educate the players on ground rules.

Checking team locations

Step 1: Add a session from the Manage PlayTour page

Step 2: Enable “Require Teams’ Position”

Step 3: During the game, use the Facilitator’s Link to open the Facilitator Dashboard.

Step 4: Scroll down and you will see the “Teams’ Positions” map.

Making announcements

Sometimes you will need to make announcements to the entire player base. Use the “Broadcast Message” feature from the Facilitator Dashboard.

Step 1: Open the Faci Link in the Session Manage page.

Step 2: Go to the "Actions" tab.

Step 3: Select “ALL TEAMS” or specific team names, if applicable.

Step 4: Write a message and click “Broadcast Message”.

What players see:

Letting players seek for help

Step 1: Add a session from the Manage PlayTour page

Step 2: Enable “Allow team-to-faci messaging”

Step 3: Reply to players from the Facilitator Dashboard


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