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How to Plan a Fun Treasure Hunt Activity That Kids Will Love

A fun activity for kids to do is to have a treasure hunt.  Not only is it fun to do, but it also engages children's minds.  As your kids go around your yard finding clues, they must think what each riddle means and where the hidden treasure may be.  If you are thinking of planning a fun treasure hunt for your kids, read on.  Today I'll be going over the basics of planning a treasure hunt, great prizes for your kids to find, how to write out clues, where to place clues in your yard, and the many benefits of planing a treasure hunt for your kids.  Let's get started.

How to Plan a Treasure Hunt

Planning a treasure hunt is very simple.  You will first need to consider where you will have the treasure hunt go.  If you don't have a yard, you can always have a treasure hunt indoors or at a local park.  But if you do have a yard, this is probably the best way since it is right in your own yard and nearby the house.  After planning out where you will have the treasure hunt, decide what kind of clues you will use.  If you have a garden, you could have the treasure hunt go that way and write down something that has to do with the garden.  Make sure you are clear where clues may or may not be.  For example, if you are having a treasure hunt at a park, be clear that there is no clues near the water.  Only write and place clues in safe places.

If you have young children, you probably won't be able to write down the clues because he or she may not be able to read yet.  If this is the case, you can use clues that are made for your child's age.  For example, instead of writing out the clues you could draw pictures.  So if you have a garden, draw a picture of it and maybe point out where the next clue may be.  You could also take a picture of all the places your kids have to look.  If your kids are very young, you may want to introduce treasure hunts to them by having them search through a box for coins or dig through the sand to find hidden toys.  But if you have older children that can read, feel free to make the treasure hunt as long as you want.  Your children will love searching through your yard for hidden clues.

How to Give Clues

A treasure hunt is based on reading clues in order for your kids to find the hidden treasure.  Like I mentioned above, you will want to consider what your yard is like and where you could hide clues.  Birdhouses, gardens, fences, mailboxes, and trees make excellent places to hide clues.  Another consideration is if you want to make the clues rhyme or not.  Most treasure hunts have rhyming clues, but yours doesn't have to.  Here are some rhyming clue examples:

  • I'm a friend to parents who like things neat.  They really like it when you wipe your feet.  Answer:  Doormat
  • I give privacy from the folks next door.  If you have bad neighbors, you need me more.  Answer:  Fence
  • I'm not really needed during the day, at night I'm turned on to show you the way.   Answer:  Outdoor Light
  • I'm a comfy spot without a doubt, although it can be tricky to get in and out.  Answer:  Hammock
  • Some people think I look a little weird with my pointy hat and my long white beard.  Answer:  Garden Gnome
  • When it's chilly outside, I can't be beat.  Light me up and then make a toasty treat.  Answer:  Fire pit
  • Climbing me can be quite a lark.  I'm not a dog, but I do have a bark.  Answer:  Tree
  • I make music for you when you're out in the yard.  I make the most music when the wind blows hard.  Answer:  Wind Chime
  • I'm sort of like sneakers, but for a car.  I help it run really fast and far.  Answer:  Car Tire
  • Some people think I'm nasty and yuck, but without me for your trash, you'd be out of luck!  Answer:  Trash Can
  • I measure all the power you use.  I hope your bill isn't bad news!  Answer:  Electric Meter
  • I'm a giant piece of petrified matter.  If you dropped me, I'd make quite a clatter.  Answer:  Landscaping Rock
  • I'm like a small house, but no one lives in me.  Tools and gadgets are all you will see.  Answer:  Tool Shed
  • Use me to give thirsty plants a drink.  Or use me to clean your car, fast as a wink.  Answer:  Garden Hose
  • I sit very still when I don't have a rider.  Sit down and learn why I'm called a glider.  Answer:  Garden Glider
  • I have a ring, but you can't wear it.  Sometimes so loud that you can't bear it.  Answer:  Doorbell

Clue Credit:  The Spruce

These are a list of some simple clues you can use.  You don't have to use all of them; only use the ones that fit the features of your yard.  If you want to be creative, you can make up your very own clues.  Have fun choosing clues that will fit your needs.

Great Prizes for Your Kids to Find

At the end of the treasure hunt there will need to be a prize for your kid.  If you have multiple kids doing this treasure hunt at once, it is important that you have enough prizes for everybody.  A nice (and cheap) prize could be a basket or bucket full of toys from the dollar store.  Anything will work - necklaces, crafting kits, jump ropes, bubbles, chalk, small plastic toys, tiaras, etc.  Money is also a great price to give.  Simply fill a jar with coins, and allow each kid to take a handful of coins.  Other ideas include food (granola bars, crackers, chips, cookies, candies, etc.) or a family outing.  This means that the winner will get to pick an activity for the entire family to enjoy, such as an afternoon picnic, going to the movies, or going out to eat somewhere special.

Many people choose to plan a treasure hunt for their child's birthday.  If that is what you plan on doing, make sure the prize is the birthday present.  If other kids will be playing too, make sure to have other toys available for them.  If your party has a theme, make sure the present/toys are based on that theme.  For example, if the theme is on pirates you may want to have the prize be a treasure chest full of treasures.

Another common reason to plan a treasure hunt is for holidays like Easter.  If this is the case, make sure the prize at the end is an Easter basket.  It may be fun to hide the clues in Easter eggs.  If you will be having an Easter egg treasure hunt, here are some clues you may use:

  • The animal in the spotlight is the Easter Bunny.  He thinks your next clue is where you keep your money.
  • The Easter Bunny is known for his over sized ears.  Now look in the car where you change the gears.
  • Speaking of ears, the insides are usually pink.  You'd be wise to go peek under the kitchen sink.
  • Bunnies always have a cutely twitching nose.  The next clue is where you keep your nice clothes.
  • Easter also means lots of beautiful flowers.  Look behind the item you use to check the hours.
  • The bunny travels with a hop, hop, hop.  Go check the book case, look towards the top.

Image Source: Kids 101

The Benefits of Having Your Kids Do a Treasure Hunt

  • Treasure hunts engage your children's brains and force them to quickly think of answers.  For younger children, treasure hunts can be a great learning experience because they must read the clues, decide what they mean, and then go search for the next clue. 
  • Treasure hunts are a great way to get your kids outside and moving.  Even if they are not walking or running fast, it is still more exercise than they would get by watching TV.  
  • Treasure hunts help relieve stress that children may have.  If your kids are having any fights, a treasure hunt can help them get along and all work together to reach the same goal.  Besides, the vitamin D can help with depression and stress.  

Final Thoughts

Are you considering planning a treasure hunt for your kids?  If so, hopefully you found this article to be helpful.  Today I went over how to plan a treasure hunt, clues and prizes to give, and the benefits of having your kids do a treasure hunt. You may want to choose a theme for your treasure hunt, such as a pirate theme or seasonal theme.  Also, a treasure hunt can be fun to have for your child's birthday or for a holiday.  In this article I gave some ideas for prizes to give out at the end of the treasure hunt, as well as some examples of clues to give.  Just remember to be creative, and of course to have fun.  

Mariann Foster

I am one of our content writers for Everything Backyard. I am a mother and business owner of Big Horn Mountain Alpacas in Wyoming. I love farm life, cutting my own firewood in the mountains, and participating in local trail run races.

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