DIY COVID Friendly Mall Photo Scavenger Hunt Idea and List -- Pandemic Safe Frugal Fun For the Whole Family

My kids currently are on winter break and I wanted to make it memorable for them, to give them pleasant holiday memories, especially as a single mom. There are just a lot of strikes against us right now, because so many things aren't doable, because of Corona safety rules and shut downs, not to mention the weather. Once you add in an attempt to keep things on a budget, it's definitely hard to come up with ideas of fun and exciting things to do. 

However, currently, anyhow, malls are still open. There are very strict rules in the malls, like required mask wearing, temperature checks before entering, limited amounts of people allowed in each store depending on their size, social distancing required, no eating or drinking inside the mall, and no trying on clothes. But they are open. 

I thought of making a scavenger hunt with my kids at a nice mall because that seemed like the perfect free activity indoors, and got some great ideas of things to include on our list of things to find. However, many of the things I found on various lists are not doable because of the pandemic (things like trying stuff on, food related things, etc...) but Corona does give some more cute ideas of things to include on your scavenger hunt.

So I decided to share my list of Covid friendly scavenger hunt list ideas, some which we did on our scavenger hunt yesterday, and some that I got the idea for them mid scavenger hunt once I saw the state of things at the mall.

As for safety, well, that's up to you. Are you leaving the house at all? A mall that follows corona rules, as our local ones do, are relatively safe. I mean schools are currently open here; going to a mall following social distancing rules can't be less safe than that.

DIY COVID Friendly Mall Photo Scavenger Hunt Idea and List -- Pandemic Safe Frugal Fun For the Whole Family

How To Run a Photo Scavenger Hunt at the Mall

Just a few tips and ideas about how to run this before I share the list.

  • This list is a rather long one. It can take a long time to do it. Feel free to pare down the list and make it shorter if you want this activity to take less time. Our list was quite long and took a nice while (like over 2 hours) but we were entertained the whole time, but feel free to tailor this to the attention span of your party.

  • You can do this as a competition, for example, who got the better or more creative results for each thing (either with a judge or with group consensus), and add up points that way. Or you can do a competition and see who finishes the list fastest. Or you can have some other way of doing this competition. Or you can just give each group a list and let them have fun, no winners or losers. Up to you.

  • Feel free to make groups of various sizes, depending on how big your party is. We just split it, the girls and the boys, 2 in one group and 3 in another. Or you can just do it all together and just have fun on the hunt, not competing against anyone. I wouldn't suggest having anything fewer than 2 people per group so that you can take pictures of the other people in the group without needing to hand your phone to other people to snap the photos- not so COVID friendly that way.

  • Make sure every group has at least one cell phone (or digital camera if you're oldschool that way), but I'd definitely recommend a camera/phone for each person so everyone can get in on the fun. Make sure these are fully charged, two of the phones we were using died in the middle of our scavenger hunt.

  • This game is fun for all ages, though at least one person per group should be capable of reading the list. Even preschoolers can play this game, but keep it shorter for their shorter attention span. If you're playing with non readers go over the list regularly with them, in chunks, so that they can be reminded of what they are looking for. And of course, even adults would enjoy this one. Literally fun for all ages.

  • Feel free to set rules, like you can't take pictures of things on your phone or things that you brought in with you, or pictures of your team mates only works when written that way on the list. (Or you can leave out those rules and see which teams are smart enough to find these "hacks"/workarounds.) Also a good rule is that when it says something it must be a thing not a person.

  • I'd add to this list that it is a good idea to tell whoever is playing that while it is fine to enter stores to take pictures, not to bother store keepers because it's not so great to get their hopes up that you're going to make a purchase when you are only photographing, and if you are photographing other people to be as unobtrusive as possible and keep your distance because of Corona.

  • You can send everyone the list via email or messenger, or you can print them up and bring them along that way.
And now, here is the list of things to find. I was trying really hard to find out how to make checklists and a printable list for you, and I hope it works, since I really am not a techy person.

COVID Friendly and Social Distancing Friendly Mall Photo Scavenger Hunt List

  •  Someone wearing their mask incorrectly
  •  An angel
  •  50% off sign
  •  Now Hiring sign
  •  A child with their dad but no mom
     A child or teenager with no adults
     Someone pregnant. Bonus point- two pregnant people together.
  •  Kids play area/ride
  •  Person with 4+ bags
  •  An ice cream store
     Worker in a uniform
  •  A corona related sign
     A mannequin wearing blue
  •  Something plaid
  •  Someone with a COVID related job
     A big hat
  •  Something Harry Potter
  •  Something Super Hero
     An animal
  •  A cool mask
     Something Disney. Bonus point- a Disney Villain
  •  Dinosaur
  •  A very expensive item (most expensive item wins- include price!)
  •  Group member(s) lying on a bench
     Buy one get one free sign
  •  The number 9 (change this to the age of the birthday child or any relevant number to your event, if desired)
  •  A funny mask
  •  Group member(s) going the wrong way on an escalator
  •  A knife
     Pretty flowers
     Something with wheels
     A store with Z in the name
     Group member(s) hiding behind a tree or a bush
  •  Something closed because of COVID
  •  Group members all together in a bathroom stall
     A princess
     Something with animal print
     A hand sanitizer dispenser
     Pink shoes
     Something Chinese
     Something British
     Something Mexican
  •  Something American
     Something funny
     A fancy/chic/glamorous mask
  •  Socially distanced corona store line
  •  Something sparkly/glittery
  •  Something shimmery
     Group member(s) mimicking a statue (not a mannequin)
     A fairy
     Something magical (non fairy)
  •  A mask with cartoon characters on it
     Group member(s) with holiday decor
  •  Mall security
  •  Group member(s) mimicking the pose of a mannequin

Last but not least, have fun! 

Have you ever been on a mall photo scavenger hunt? How was it? What technique and rules did you follow? Is it competetive or collaborative?
What are the current safety rules where you live? Are malls open? Is this the type of thing you'd be able to do now with your family? Does this look like something your family would enjoy?

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal


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