- 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 great clue templates for treasure hunts that 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.