How to plan a treasure hunt for kids

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You’ll see the joy on the faces of children when the treasure (Speurtochten) hunt is announced. Children love to explore, discover new things, and use their powers of deduction. Kids have fun picking up dirt and mess!

Pick a place for your treasure hunt with kids

Before you start thinking about treasure hunt clues or an end prize for children, it is important to determine how many children will be participating in the hunt and their ages. This will make it easier to choose the right place to hold the treasure hunt. These are some places you might want to hold your treasure hunt:

At home.

You can set up simple treasure hunts in your own home for a few children. Indoor treasure hunts are a great activity for rainy days and can be used as part of an indoor birthday party for children younger than 5.

In parks and gardens.

This is great for larger groups of children working in teams or individually. This is a great outdoor game for birthdays, as well as an Easter egg hunt or nature-themed trail.

Museums and art galleries

These are great locations for themed treasure hunting for children over six years old. You can find out if there are any treasure hunts or trails at museums and galleries that you could join before you go.

All around your neighborhood.

This is a great way for local residents to get out and explore. Local landmarks can be used as reference points for treasure hunt clues that are map- or trail-based. Before you begin, make sure your children are familiar with the appropriate road safety precautions.

Your treasure hunt for kids should have a specific theme and format.

You will need to match the theme of your treasure hunt to that of a birthday party if you are organizing a treasure hunt. The classic treasure hunt for children suits a pirate theme. However, the format can be modified to suit any party theme. These are some treasure hunting ideas for children you might enjoy:

Pirates.

Each team should be given a treasure map indicating the location of all the clues (No. 1 in the bedroom, 2 in the kitchen, and so on. 2 in the kitchen and so on. Each clue will provide more information about the location of its next counterpart. The map may indicate a specific area or room in the park or museum. However, the clue might specify the object. For example, “I’m blue, I’m round, and I have water inside” could refer to a vase. Teams race to locate “X” – candy necklaces and chocolate coins make convincing pirate treasure.

Detectives.

The robber broke into a safe to steal valuable jewels. A bag of mixed sweets could be the prize. For an extra realistic touch, you can choose treats that look like precious stones. To solve the mystery and find out where the thief is hiding his loot, the children must search for clues.

Aliens.

Extra-terrestrials have arrived on Earth and left strange objects at odd locations. To find the location of the prize and reveal the reward, players must collect all the objects.

The Ancient Egypt.

Find the hidden treasure of the Egyptian pharaohs, and learn how to decipher the hieroglyphics. An excellent prize is a combination of chocolates and jewellery made out of foil or gold craft papers.

The Magical Kingdom.

This hunt is about collecting enchanted pieces (jigsaw pieces), which will guide players to a magical reward. To make each piece of jigsaw into a necklace, players could use a hole punch.

Football Competition.

Children work together in groups and use their footy skills to find clues. There are also small challenges that can be completed along the way. You can place clues at the ends of small assault courses or make it so that kids can earn clues by scoring goals, heading a ball successfully, or dribbling around cones. These clues will lead to a final play-off for a major competition.

Destination Unknown

Players will follow blind directions, such as “Walk to the bottom and turn right”, to get to an exciting mystery location, such as a picnic lunch, cake shop or ice cream stall.

Start by deciding where your treasure will be hidden. Then work backwards

Each child wants to win, so offer a variety of small prizes for runners-up or one large prize that can be shared amongst the group. It’s much easier to plan your hunts backwards if you know where the treasure is going to be hidden. You might consider creating a list of all locations so you can find all the clues.

Make treasure hunt clues for your children

Persil has created some wonderful clue templates for treasure hunting that you can print and fill in. Remember that children will tire quickly if the clues are too difficult when you put them together. You don’t have to make treasure hunt clues too complicated for children. Pictures can be used as clues for non-readers, and simple words such as “Fridge” may prove challenging for those who are just beginning to read.

Run a final treasure hunting run-through

Before you begin the hunt, make sure that you have checked that all clues and activities are correct. If you feel the hunt will take too much time, reduce the number clues. Make sure there are adults available to help keep everyone moving in the right direction.

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