Thrift Store Scavenger Hunt (with FREE printable game form!)

Shopping at thrift stores is for people who have more time than money. To show you what I mean, please refer to this garish infographic that I spent all night making. If your green (money) lines are lower than your orange (time) lines, then thrift store shopping might be right for you!

infographic 3As the graph shows, in my late twenties I experienced a brief span of having more money than time. I actually bought clothes and stuff brand-new, at fully-staffed retail outlets with working bathrooms. It felt so indulgent: The dressing rooms had mirrors and the price tags weren’t stapled to the clothes. I didn’t even have to check the sweaters for burn holes.

Then my two youngest were born in quick succession, and suddenly I had neither time nor money, but — perhaps out of boredom — the urge to thrift grew even stronger.

Most kids won’t fight a trip to the thrift store. It provides endless stimulation and lots of new smells. Now that they’re too big to be strapped down, I let them play with whatever they find in the toy aisle… Until I get a friendly reminder from the manager that the toy aisle isn’t a drop-off day care center. IMG_4478To maximize my scavenging time, I decided to give the kids jobs. “Go find mommy a giant bra!” or, “See which one of you can find the most disturbing clown figurine!”  Guess what? It worked! No longer were they playing hide-and-seek in the plus-sized men’s pants, they were busy discovering the magic and wonder of second-hand retail.

As a public service to the other Scavengers with bored children or spouses, I’ve developed a Thrift Store Scavenger Hunt, guaranteed to give you at least 45 minutes of carefree shopping time.

INSTRUCTIONS: Print out this FREE scavenger hunt form and hand out to your whiny spouse or children:
THRIFT STORE SCAVENGER HUNT (downloadable PDF)

Give each player a time limit and a shopping cart. When you have finished your shopping, add up the points and give the winner a special prize, like a half-used bottle of hand lotion. Each time you play, encourage your little scavengers to take their game to the next level.

BEGINNER SCAVENGER:  RACCOON   (0-10 points)
INTERMEDIATE SCAVENGER: BLACK BEAR   (10-20 points)
ADVANCED SCAVENGER: VULTURE    (20-30 points)
MASTER SCAVENGER: HYENA (30+ points)

Now, let’s start scavenging! Below is a preview of the items and their point values…

BOOKS AND MUSIC:

  • Microwave cookbook ①
IMG_4464

Now you, too, can make Moroccan-themed baby poop in your microwave.

  • Church cookbook ①
  • 100% non-English cookbook ①
  • [Anything] for Dummies ①
  • Chicken Soup for [Anybody’s] Soul ①

IMG_4425

  • Outdated Pregnancy, Baby, or Parenting Books (1 point for each decade old)
  • Christmas Album ①
  • Polka Album ①
  • Vintage Striptease or Erotic Polka Album ②

IMG_4422KITCHENWARES:

  • Tupperware in the shape of food it’s containing ①
IMG_3183

Only a MILLIONAIRE would take a slice of pie to work in its own custom Tupperware!

  • Coffee mug expressing frustration at having to work ①
  • Coffee cup expressing ethnic pride ②
IMG_4433

Can’t argue with that logic.

  • Jell-O mold in the shape of an aquatic animal ①
  • Someone’s crappy art project being resold as a legitimate, food safe container ①

IMG_4436

  • Taco Holder ②

IMG_4477INTERIOR DECOR:

  • Sheer, lacy, “grandma” curtains ①

IMG_4439

  • Clown-themed porcelain figurines ①
IMG_4453

The placement of the Virgin Mary and Baby Jesus on this shelf could be inspiration this year’s Nativity Scene.

  • Framed portrait of Pope John Paul II ①
  • Framed portrait of Pope Benedict ⑩
  • Any furniture seen on the set of the “Golden Girls” ①
IMG_4432

Note the rain barrel full of golf clubs

  • Antique Furniture re-upholstered in Muppet fur ②

IMG_4418ELECTRONICS AND HOUSEWARES:

  • TVs more than a foot thick ①

IMG_4474

  • TVs more than two feet thick ②
  • Grab bag of cables, wires or chargers ①

IMG_4430PERSONAL HYGIENE:

  • Grooming appliances that Mommy used in 8th grade ①

IMG_4431

  • Unsealed pack of adult diapers ①
  • Sealed pack of adult diapers ②

IMG_4476LADIES’ FINER GARMENTS:

  • Bra sized 32-AA to 44-DD ①
  • Bra sized 44-DDD to 58-J* ②

IMG_4447

  • A real Muu-Muu dress** ①
  • A Bridesmaid’s Dress ①
  • A Wedding Dress ③

IMG_4454OFFICE SUPPLY:

  • Three-ring binder albums ①

IMG_4441

  • Albums with photos still in them ②
  • 3½-inch floppy disks ①
  • 5¼-inch floppy disks ②
  • 8-inch floppy disks ③

IMG_4443

  • Corded telephones with giant numbers ①
  • Electric typewriters ①

TOYS / CHILDREN:

  • Disney Princess Sleeping bag ①

IMG_4438

  • Assortment of plastic toys in a sealed plastic bag ①
  • Dolls that are missing either a shoe or a whole foot ①

IMG_4482

  • Board games that reinforce outdated gender stereotypes ②

IMG_4480IMG_4481SPORTS AND LEISURE:

  • Trophies ① (Bonus points available for oldest trophy, most obscure sport, and furthest location)
IMG_4442

Is anyone gonna call that foul?

  • Golf clubs ①
  • Baseball or golf cap bearing the name of an alcoholic beverage ①

IMG_4444ADVANCED LEVEL BONUS ACTIVITY POINTS (10 points each):

  • Find a thing you already own that you probably bought new at IKEA
IMG_4437

Yup, that’s our bedspread.

  • Find a group of unrelated items in a pile and create a theme. For example: Suitcases on top of Foosball on top of patio furniture = Vacation Fun?

IMG_4466

  • Untangle all the vacuum cleaner cords

IMG_4473

  • Locate a working and sanitary bathroom.

 

* I looked it up, 58-J is the largest bra size on earth.
** The plural of Muu-Muu is Muu-Muu.

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9 thoughts on “Thrift Store Scavenger Hunt (with FREE printable game form!)

  1. Woman after my own heart, sigh… where were you when my kids were little?
    Hey, here’s an idea I love and you might – find old, tacky landscape paintings and have the kids paint monsters in the landscape! Doesn’t that sound totally fun! I think it would be a great auction art project 🙂 Once my 13 yo son and I found a painting that at first glance looked like Jesus roasting marshmallows next to a lake – we could not stop our laughing fit for a long time 🙂

    Like

    • Funny you say that, cause my kids and I just picked up a big framed 70s cityscape print from our alley. I like it cause it looks like Chicago’s skyline, but there’s way too much brown and orange. I was thinking of keeping the buildings, but painting the sky something strange and beautiful.

      Like

  2. American thrift stores are one of the joys of my heart. Alas, here in the UK our equivalent (charity shops) simply don’t have the same scope for sheer wackiness. They’re basically just regular shops where you can buy normal things for lower prices and bonus moral superiority.

    Like

  3. We have an entire UK vacation album from the 80’s of my family members taking pictures of each other in front of “Spastics Shop”s. The PC was a little slow making it over the pond.

    Also, 100 points for Sonja Morgan’s Toaster Oven cookbook. When it comes out.

    Like

  4. Our shops in Oz are also not up to standard. Too many rather well used workwear garments in a limited colour palette of yellow, blue and orange, too much ratty acrylic knitwear, too much kitch Nana-style china… Your experience looks like a whole lot more fun!

    Like

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