Ready to make a treasure hunt?

make a treasure hunt

When you make a treasure hunt for children, you're the hero! These fun treasure hunt ideas will help you create the best treasure hunt games for kids and adults of all ages.

4 Steps to Make a Treasure Hunt

First, decide what your treasure is and where you will hide it. If you can't find a suitable location, consider hiding a treasure "ticket" that players can redeem in exchange for the real prize. Fun treasures might be candy, cupcakes, crafts, toy trinkets, stickers, a new game or deck of cards. A fun little game of some sort is my favorite kind of treasure because it extends the excitement and makes a natural transition to the next activity (playing the new game). 

Next, know your location. A family reunion treasure hunt that's part of a picnic in the park is going to offer different hiding places than a treasure hunt with a map or indoor hunt with the neighborhood kids on a rainy day. Whether indoors or outdoors, be aware of potential hazards and steer clear of them. In other words, don't send a bunch of kids running across a busy street. And don't hide a clue underneath a bridge, unless you want the participants to get wet.

Third, decide the basic format and rules. What ages will be playing? Teenagers and adults will have more stamina and need longer treasure hunts with harder clues. Younger children might do best with a treasure hunt map with pictures. Are you dividing into teams? Is clue hopping allowed? Define the game's boundaries and be sure to explain what is out-of-bounds to the players. 

Finally, set up your clues when no one is looking.

Make a Treasure Hunt with Riddles

Treasure hunt clues are the key ingredient for a successful adventure. The most basic of clues simply state where to go next. If you want a greater challenge, create clever riddles or poems describing the next clue's hiding place. You can also use signs, numbers, books or code as part of the clues or to help decipher them.

For example, if you were using the code: 








































The clue might read: "YBBX VA GUR ZNVYOBK"
which would be deciphered to say "look in the mailbox."

If you wanted to incorporate a book or magazine into the clue, you could say something like, "Walk approximately ____ ("Where the Red Fern Grows ,"
page 49, paragraph 3, 12th word) paces ____ (the top of every map)."

Use other numbers and signs in your vicinity to create additional treasure hunt riddles. For example, use a large obvious sign, such as "Welcome to the Picnic Park, est. 1967 in memory of George & Anna Smith" and create a clue something like: "Find the park's welcome sign. Walk 2017 minus ____ (the year) feet into the ____ (5th word). Look for a red object run by ____ (first and last name initials)." (The answer here would be a lawn mower… provided there really were a sign and a lawn mower that would make this clue work!)

Make a Treasure Hunt with Questions

Use these samples to brainstorm your own treasure hunt questions:

  • mailbox - What holds bills, letters and magazines?
  • basketball hoop - What has a net but can't catch bugs or fish? Instead, use a ball and score points.
  • lawn chair - Take a break. Can you find a portable resting spot to sit back and relax?
  • suitcase - With what do you carry your clothes on a trip?
  • flower - What kind of object comes in all colors and scents?

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