How to Plan a Treasure Hunt for Kids (2024)

If you’ve ever seen the smiles on children’s faces when a kids’ treasure hunt has been announced, you’ll know that this fun activity is well worth the time and energy you put into organising and dismantling it. Kids love getting out and about, discovering new things, exploring, and using their powers of deduction – and the best kind of mess and dirt is picked up by kids having fun!

Here’s an easy-to-follow guide to planning great treasure hunts for kids – and don't forget to download our specialclue templates for treasure hunts! They are sure to make your treasure hunt extra special.And don't worry about any stains your little ones pick up along the way, check out our tips onhow to use laundry capsules to remove stains, like mud and grass.

1. Choose a location for your treasure hunt for kids

Before you even start thinking about treasure hunt clues for kids, or an end prize, you need to know how many kids will be participating in the hunt, and their ages. This makes it easy to select an appropriate place for the game to take place. You might consider holding your treasure hunt in the following places:

  • At home.

    Simple treasure hunts for a few young children can be set up in your home. Indoor treasure hunts for kids make a fun rainy day activity, and work well as part of a small, indoor birthday party for younger children.

  • In gardens or parks.

    This works well with larger groups of children, either working together or in teams. Great as part of a nature-themed trail, Easter egg hunt, or as an outdoor birthday game.

  • At museums or art galleries.

    These make amazing locations for themed treasure hunts for kids over the age of six. Many museums and galleries already have organized trails or treasure hunts for children; you can check online before you arrive to be sure.

  • Throughout your neighbourhood.

    This is a great way to explore the local area. Map or trail-based treasure hunt clues for kids can even use local landmarks as reference points. Just make sure your kids are aware of the proper road safety precautions and other urban safety requirements before you start.

2. Choose a theme and format for your kid's treasure hunt

If you’re organising a treasure hunt for a birthday party, you’ll want to match your hunt to the party’s theme. A classic treasure hunt for kids suits a pirate theme, of course – but the format can be adapted to fit almost any party motif. Here are some treasure hunt ideas for kids you might like to try:

  • Pirates.

    Give each team a treasure map with the general location of the clues marked on it (No. 1 in the bedroom, No. 2 in the kitchen, and so on). Each clue will have more specific information as to the location of the next one. For example, while the map indicates a room or an area of the park, or museum, and so on, the clue could specify the object: “I’m blue and I’m round and I have water inside” – a vase. Teams race to find where “X marks the spot” – chocolate gold coins and candy necklaces make convincing pirate treasure.

  • Detectives.

    A robber has broken into a safe and stolen some valuable jewels! The prize could be a bag of mixed sweets – choose treats that look like gemstones for an extra-realistic touch. The kids must find the clues to unlock the mystery and discover where the thief has hidden his loot.

  • Aliens.

    A group of extra-terrestrials have landed on earth, and have been leaving strange objects in odd places. Players must collect them all to spell out the location of the space ship and the prize that awaits them.

  • Ancient Egypt.

    Discover the lost treasure of the pharaohs by unveiling the location of ancient scrolls and deciphering the hieroglyphics! A combination of treats and jewellery made from foil or gold craft paper makes an excellent prize.

  • Magical Kingdom.

    The aim of this hunt is to collect enchanted talismans (jigsaw pieces) that, when put together, will direct players towards a magical reward! You could even use a hole punch to make each jigsaw piece into a necklace players can take home as a souvenir.

  • Football Competition.

    Kids work in teams and use their footy skills and knowledge to earn clues – small sports challenges along the way make this kind of hunt unique! Place clues at the end of small assault courses, or set it up so kids earn clues by scoring a goal, successfully heading a ball, or dribbling it around cones. The clues lead to a final play off for a big competition.

  • Destination Unknown.

    Players follow ‘blind’ directions (for example, “Walk to the bottom of the road and turn right”) to an exciting mystery location – a picnic lunch, cake shop, or ice-cream stall are all fun destinations.

3. Decide where you will hide your treasure, and work backwards

Every child wants to be a winner, so make sure you also have a selection of smaller prizes on hand for runners up, or offer one big prize that can be shared by a group. Decide where you are going to hide the treasure, and then design your clues leading away from that place – it’s easier to plan hunts backwards. Consider writing yourself a crib sheet of locations, so that you know where you’ve hidden all the clues.

4. Create your kids' treasure hunt clues

Persil has put together some greatclue templates for treasure huntsthat you can use – just print them off and fill them in! When you’re putting together your clues, remember that kids will get tired quickly if they’re too hard. Treasure hunt clues for kids don’t need to be complicated. In fact, for non-readers pictures can work as hints instead; and for those just learning to read, simple words like “Fridge” might be a challenge in themselves!

An educational treasure hunt for children who are still learning literacy could involve threading a ball of string through the house to connect letters, eventually spelling out the location of the prize. For older children, make clues fun using rhymes or riddles. For example:

If I had three legs, I wouldn’t be stable. I’m where you eat breakfast, I am a…(Table)

If you’re doing a themed hunt, create clues to match. For example, if the theme is fairy tales, you could lead to a clue written on a mirror by writing:

“Your journey’s only just begun, The prize is far ahead, An evil step-mum looked at me, But saw Snow White instead!”

You might prefer to give clues on a hand out, or make treasure maps for kids instead – but remember to keep everything age-appropriate. The more detail you put on a treasure map, for example, the more confusing it could be for a younger child. At the same time, older children enjoy more of a challenge, like games that are rewarded with clues, or unveiling parts of a greater mystery.

5. Do a final treasure hunt run-through

Before you start the hunt for real, double check that all the clues (or activities) are where you left them, and that they lead to each other in the right way. Make sure the hunt doesn’t take too long – reduce the number of clues if you think this will be the case. Finally, make sure you have adults on hand to keep everyone going in the right direction.

For more themes and ideas on planning your treasure hunt, just keep reading!

Get those tricky mud stains out of clothes after hunting for all that treasure withCleanipedia's article.

How to Plan a Treasure Hunt for Kids (2024)


How to organize a children's treasure hunt? ›

How to have a treasure hunt
  1. Plan the hunt first. ...
  2. Draw pictures for each of the clues. ...
  3. Hide the treasure and the clues while your child is supervised somewhere else.
  4. When you're ready, tell your child it's time for the treasure hunt. ...
  5. Talk with your child about the treasure hunt.
May 9, 2023

How to write clues for a treasure hunt for kids? ›

How to Write Scavenger Hunt Clues for Kids. First, simply identify an item you want to be found. Next, match a clever phrasing that indicates where the item is located but in a somewhat mystifying way that requires some problem-solving. Writing scavenger hunt clues for kids can be easier than you might think!

How to make treasure hunt questions? ›

40 best clues for your ultimate scavenger hunt
  1. You cut me on a table, but I'm never eaten. ...
  2. A band that doesn't play instruments but has plenty of styles. ( ...
  3. Everything ends with me. ...
  4. How many glasses of water can one drink on an empty stomach? ( ...
  5. I am not a lamp, but I can light up. ...
  6. I am not an organ, but I have 13 hearts.
Oct 12, 2022

How do you structure a treasure hunt? ›

How To Plan Your Own Scavenger Hunt
  1. Choose your location(s) and time. ...
  2. Pick a theme. ...
  3. Create your lists and riddles. ...
  4. Hide the clues and/or objects. ...
  5. Write your riddles/clues. ...
  6. First one to solve all the clues and grab the final object/figures out the end result wins!

How do you set clues for treasure hunt? ›

The most common way to give treasure hunt clues is to create a trail, so that the answer to one clue reveals the next one. You can either write the riddle on a piece of paper hidden at the chosen location, or enter the puzzles into an online treasure hunt app that gives clues one by one.

What is the rule of treasure hunt? ›

Teams must be at the same clue site at the same time, and you must stay within sight and earshot of each other. Team members should not use cell phones to communicate, unless you've become separated for some reason. Members should not run ahead of the others to solve clues.

What is an example of treasure hunt activity? ›

List of treasure hunt ideas
  • Inked Treasure Hunt. An Inked Treasure Hunt is one of the best funny treasure hunt ideas for adults. ...
  • Photography Treasure Hunt. ...
  • Clothing-themed Treasure Hunt. ...
  • Name Hunt. ...
  • Bilingual Ensemble. ...
  • Code Hacking Hunt. ...
  • Color-themed Desk Hunt. ...
  • Cooking Ingredients Hunt.
Dec 11, 2023

How to do an easy scavenger hunt for kids? ›

How to play:
  1. Create a list of things to find, hear or do. ...
  2. Create a time limit (optional).
  3. Give children the list and let them scavenge around and find, smell or do all of the things on their list.
  4. The player or team who ticks everything off on their list first, or ticks off the most items before the time is up, wins.

How many clues for a kids scavenger hunt? ›

If you're running the hunt for kids and want it to be relatively short, you should not have more than 10 items, as it will become overwhelming for them. However, if you're aiming for a longer game with adults who can quickly decipher clues, your items could range anywhere from 20 to 50.

How do you set up a treasure hunt in the classroom? ›

Post “cards” around the room (or into the halls) with specific learning tasks on them. Prepare an answer page that each student will carry around. Students are told a starting point in the scavenger hunt. After working through the first card (their starting point), students walk around to find the answer.

How do you make a treasure hunt at school? ›

You can use riddles and rhymes as clues to create a fun and engaging scavenger hunt. This encourages children to think carefully about the clues and helps them to develop key critical thinking skills.

How to start treasure hunting? ›

Steps To Become a Treasure Hunter
  1. Get organized. ...
  2. Research the topic. ...
  3. Join an online treasure-hunting forum or community. ...
  4. Learn about metal detecting. ...
  5. Buy a metal detector and accessories. ...
  6. Learn how to use your metal detector properly. ...
  7. Find a good search location. ...
  8. Follow local laws and regulations.
Mar 1, 2023

What is the difference between a scavenger hunt and a treasure hunt? ›

In a treasure hunt there is only one thing to find (a chest with gems, for instance, which is short lived as once the thing is found it's done). A scavenger hunt gives a group of children opportunities to find many things through a quest-based format.

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