QR Code Scavenger Hunt Guide: 25 Actionable Ideas

A QR Code scavenger hunt is a scavenger hunt where QR Codes are scanned as part of the game. You can make use of QR Codes to reveal hidden clues, challenges, riddles, or instructions on how to play the game. In short, it’s a digital spin on a scavenger hunt.

The good news is that you can create your own scavenger hunt game without relying on a separate app. The QR Code is here to play, so give your apps a rest!

How to use QR Codes for scavenger hunts

Looking for a QR Code solution to use for your scavenger hunt? Here are three to inspire you as you create, plan, and organize your game.

#1 Create a PDF document

Simplicity is key when it comes to any scavenger hunt. You want to ensure that the game’s rules are clearly explained so participants know exactly what to do, how to follow them, and how to win the game. Using a PDF document, you can create a list of instructions and objects for participants to find and convert it from PDF to QR Code. To complete the QR scavenger hunt, participants scan the QR Code to discover what they need to find—easy-peasy.

#2 Use online resources

You can use a bunch of online resources to make your QR Code scavenger hunt more exciting. Since this is a virtual way of playing the game, you also have plenty of options for using a website to either hide clues, reveal hints, or give participants more tasks to complete. The best part? You can create a QR Code for a URL by simply adding a website, landing page, or any other webpage that will propel your participants closer to the finish line.

A tablet showing an ebook with a QR Code in the top right corner.
Hide QR Codes in online resources to take the hunt to the digital world.

#3 Implement audio

Using audio files in your scavenger hunt can be a game changer when trying to keep your participants on their toes. There are also a variety of different audio files you can make use of, whether that be a song, a jingle, or a voice recording. Audio files, like those from a song, a podcast, or a voice recording, also happen to be a compatible match for a QR scavenger hunt. All you need to do is take the sound file and convert the MP3 to QR Code. The solution is perfect for leaving cryptic messages for participants to decipher.

How to create a QR Code scavenger hunt

Creating a QR Code scavenger hunt is pretty intuitive. Below you’ll find steps on how to conduct yours like a pro.

  1. Sign up for QR Code Generator. You get a 14-day free trial to try out all the features. 
  2. Select the Create QR Code button on the Dashboard in the top right corner.
  3. Choose your QR Code type, like the PDF QR Code. 
  4. Name your QR Code and upload the required content. 
  5. Choose the frame, shape style, edges, colors, and logo to customize your QR Code. 
  6. Once you’ve completed designing your square, test and download it.

Now let the games begin!

25 epic QR Code scavenger hunt ideas

Scavenger hunts can be thrilling, educational, and downright fun. QR Codes add another layer of creativity, anticipation, and mystery to your game. Include these little squares in your classroom, corporate event, or parties. Uncover the clues, work as a team, and take your problem-solving skills to new heights with a QR scavenger hunt!

#1 Trade shows

Stand out from the crowd with an awesome scavenger hunt game to keep participants at the trade show invested in your brand. Why not combine business and fun? Gamify your experience by hiding clues about your brand in your trade booth, and other locations around the venue to put a spotlight on your brand. With QR Code scavenger hunts, you can make an immediate impression on attendees while encouraging their participation. Plus, incorporating QR Codes at trade shows can be very effective for attracting more booth traffic.

#2 Classroom activities

Scavenger hunts can also be educational, facilitating learning in novel ways. Students can practice vocabulary by going on a scavenger hunt where they need to locate the missing items that correspond to the vocabulary that needs to be practiced. Each QR Code could contain a word students must scan to find the missing item. This could be ideal for pair work or even group work and adapted for different age groups. Bonus? Using a QR Code for school activities can promote collaboration in the classroom, making them invaluable tools for learning environments.

#3 Team building

Scavenger hunts are great for developing teamwork, learning on the fly, or just having fun. It can be the perfect ice-breaker for getting team members to get to know others outside of their department. Using QR Codes, get your team to solve a murder together. QR Codes may contain information about the murder mystery, GPS coordinates, or top-secret evidence that will help the team solve the case.

#4 College orientation

The first few weeks on campus can be confusing for college students still getting to know their campus grounds. Scavenger hunts can be a fantastic activity to help them navigate their way around. In order to help students learn more about the buildings and campus grounds, hide QR Codes throughout the campus, each of which describes a building or provides directions to the next.

#5 Interactive art

Looking for a new way to engage people with your art? Orchestrate a scavenger hunt at your next art event where you hide a number of QR Codes in your artwork. This way you get more attendees reaching for their phones to interact with your art. As a bonus, you could inform the participants that if they find all of them, they could win a prize, or even snatch one of your art pieces. Learn how QR Code art is making strides, and start innovating right away!

#6 Virtual games for remote teams

Remote work comes with pros and cons. The challenge for companies then is constantly finding innovative ways to engage their employees using virtual tools. But there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Plan a scavenger hunt for your team where employees can momentarily switch off from their tasks. You can keep it simple by including QR Codes in a presentation, each revealing tasks employees must complete to get to the next round. The task can be as simple as finding an object around the house to sharing your best pickup line.

#7 Haunted houses

Haunted houses are all about amping up the spooky. The scarier, the better. If you want to turn up the horror meters and give attendees a spine-chilling experience they’ll never forget, get them actively involved in a scavenger hunt. Because behind every haunted house is a gruesome backstory. The idea is to scatter QR Codes around the house that detail a horror story with clues to finding the next missing item. The QR Codes each participant finds should guide them to the next one, eventually leading to the end of the game.

#8 Easter egg hunt

Looking to entertain your kids with minimal effort around the Easter holidays? Get the whole family involved in an Easter egg-themed QR Codes scavenger hunt! QR Codes can reveal clues about the missing Easter eggs, or they can also be hidden within the Easter eggs themselves. Adding squares to the game can even make it more entertaining, as they add an extra level of challenge. Ready to try your hand at a QR Code Easter egg scavenger hunt?

#9 Summer camp

Taking part in a scavenger hunt is a great way to break the ice at a summer camp. Using QR Codes, give the participants mini-challenges to meet different summer camp attendees. One challenge might be to find someone wearing a red t-shirt and ask them where they’re from, another might be to find someone wearing glasses and ask them about their favorite movie. By doing so, participants have the opportunity to converse with other attendees, and perhaps develop a relationship.

#10 Murder mystery

In this scavenger hunt, players must work together as a team to solve the murder mystery. Numerous clues will be scattered around the venue, waiting to be uncovered and figured out. Along the way, participants will participate in a QR Code scavenger hunt to collect information, tips, and hints that will help to track down the killer. Each QR Code leads them closer to discovering who the mysterious murderer is, hidden in obscure, unexpected places.

#11 Learning about marine life

Looking for a fun way to get children more informed about marine life on a school outing? Organize a QR scavenger hunt with your local aquarium, planting QR codes on signs throughout the aquarium.  Before the scavenger hunt begins, the teacher gives the class a list of marine animals that they need to find. In this game, the objective is to locate animals and scan the QR Code to learn about them. Then, come up with one fun fact sentence for each animal.

#12 Museums attractions

Do you want to attract more visitors to your museum and get people more enthused about art or ancient artifacts? Conduct a QR Code scavenger hunt in your museum to encourage participants to explore historical objects. Through gamification, participants could scan QR Codes in order to reveal cryptic messages about the next artifact. These messages could include elaborate descriptions of art or directions to finding other historical objects. QR Codes in museums are becoming increasingly popular, so you don’t have to worry about your guests not being able to interact with them.

#13 Promos at malls

Malls are hotspots for hosting promotional events. Malls already attract a lot of foot traffic, so it’s an ideal location. You can also use this opportunity to promote your product and do a scavenger hunt simultaneously since you have a crowd. Hide QR Codes in multiple locations around a mall and get the participants running around to find them. The best part of using QR Codes is that participants can use their smartphones to advance in the game. A prize could also be awarded to the person who scans the most amount of QR Codes, encouraging participants to play.

#14 Escape rooms

Escape rooms are riddled with challenges meant to test participants’ problem-solving skills. The clues, though cryptic, are designed to nudge participants closer to the end goal—to escape the room. As a game master, you make an escape room a kind of scavenger hunt, getting participants to solve puzzles, and find cryptic notes and hidden objects. QR Codes are an excellent addition to making your escape room even more mysterious. It can act as a mysterious symbol, or reveal hints given by the game master.

#15 Landmarks and tours

Get tourists to discover new cities, landmarks, and hidden gems with a scavenger hunt. Along the way, tourists could receive clues, and discover hidden QR Codes while exploring historic landmarks. Additionally, the scavenger hunt QR Codes might lead them to a checkpoint as a clue to when they’re nearing their next clue. This activity is not only a cool way to get to know a new city, but one in which you can build lasting memories.

#16 Farmer’s markets

Want to create more buzz around your farmer’s market? Host a scavenger hunt event to drive more traffic. This can be a fun and educational experience for family and friends. Through QR Codes at farmer’s markets, participants can learn about fresh produce, answer comprehension questions, or solve puzzles. The purpose of using QR Codes in the scavenger hunt is to encourage participants to play the game with their smartphones. In doing so, they can explore the entire market, while having a good time.

A woman standing next to a QR Code product label at a veggie stand.
Make buying food an interactive experience with QR Codes.

#17 Botanical gardens

Doing a scavenger hunt in any natural environment is an excellent way to inspire curiosity about the natural world for adults and children alike. Whether it’s for a school activity or a family activity, everyone can learn something new about the world around them. When it comes to hosting a scavenger hunt in your nature reserve, park, or botanical garden, QR Codes are absolutely invaluable. By hiding the squares in nature, participants can scan them to find the next plant, flower, or tree. At the end of the game, participants can share photos of the items they found with the game master.

#18 Theme parties

Forget secret Santa and hop on board with a Christmas scavenger hunt that will capture the spirit of holiday cheer. Get your participants to work in teams to locate Christmas-themed items. You can give your participants hints with QR Codes so that they must use their phones to retrieve missing items for the scavenger hunt. Choose any location that makes the most sense for you, and adapt the theme to fit your party, such as Halloween or St. Patrick’s Day. Looking for more Christmas QR Code ideas? Find more on our occasion marketing page.

#19 Business Conferences

Getting attendees interested in your presentation or talk at a conference may seem like work. But all it takes is a strategic approach. Scavenger hunts can attract attendees to your side of the building if you make the game worth your attendee’s time. You can leave a landmine of QR Codes all around the conference center that attendees can follow straight to your talk. Make sure you reward them for their participation.

#20 Nonprofit organization fundraising

Take your fundraising efforts to the next level by organizing a scavenger hunt. Recruit local residents in your neighborhood for a fun game while raising funds for your next cause. Your scavenger hunt can consist of challenges, trivia questions, and hidden QR Codes dispersed around the neighborhood to amplify the game. The great thing about including QR Codes is that you have exciting ways to hide clues because participants have to scan them to find out the missing information. Looking for ways of implementing QR Codes for nonprofits at your organization? Find out more on our industry page.

#21 Bachelor parties

Give your groom or bridal party a night they won’t forget. Organize a scavenger hunt with challenges ranging from dares to finding missing items. Then you could hide the challenges within QR Codes getting participants to scan them to rise up to the task. You could even set up these challenges for the bride and groom themselves. The great part is that you can make up the rules and add a variety of QR Code types that will be the most fitting.

#22 Brand awareness

A scavenger hunt can be an extremely effective tool for boosting brand awareness. And you could use QR Codes to get people to participate. Using social media, announce a scavenger hunt where participants must locate and scan QR Codes in different locations to win prizes. The prize could be anything that promotes the brand’s product. By engaging your target audience in QR scavenger hunts, you can educate them about your brand or products and enhance customer loyalty.

#23 Zoos

Looking for a way to entertain kids while educating them at the zoo? Scavenger hunts in zoos are excellent learning opportunities. When you use QR Codes, children can discover new information and knowledge about animals and their habitats, in a hands-on way. Plus, they make for a more interactive scavenger hunt because children can use their smartphones to access multimedia content about animals. Children can track down animals, solve puzzles, and receive rewards for participating in different challenges.

A sign with a QR Code displayed in front of a leopard in a cage.
Combine education with fun using QR Codes during your trip to the zoo.

#24 Library

Get your classroom excited about books with a good old-fashioned scavenger hunt. Librarians and teachers can use this activity to teach students about libraries or inspire them to read. In each QR Code, you could find clues such as directions, riddles, or fill-in-the-gap word games to help you find your missing item. Game masters may hide QR Codes in various locations, including posters, bulletin boards, or even inside books.

#25 Festivals

Ever thought of hosting a scavenger hunt at a festival before? Festivals provide the right conditions for playing a game. So if you have a stall at a festival, you have a brilliant opportunity to conceptualize an exciting experience for some eager festival-goers. A QR scavenger hunt is a fun way of getting people to interact because they can use their mobile phones to participate. The attendees can scan QR Codes that reveal trivia about your brand or about the festival. Don’t forget to offer a grand prize to participants who complete the whole game. By using QR Codes for your scavenger hunt, you can create an unforgettable brand experience that could drive traffic to your booth.

Final words

By using QR Codes in scavenger hunts, you can enhance classroom activities, promote brand awareness, add gamification to corporate events, and more. You can integrate them into your game without a separate app, and they’re pretty straightforward to set up. If you’re looking for ways to make your scavenger hunt more engaging and interactive, look no further.

Robyn Albertyn

Robyn Albertyn is a content writer for Bitly from Cape Town, South Africa. She’s previously written about preventative health and wellness, and specializes in creative writing and copywriting. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her hiking up majestic mountains, or discovering the best coffee hotspots in her city. Feel free to say hi to her on LinkedIn.

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