One of my favorite childhood memories is of doing one of these treasure hunts. I remember it vividly for two reasons- one, because it was epically fun and ended with us digging up treasure that my parents had buried in the sandbox. And two- because my father wrote a clue on the wall of the foundation with chalk in a sheltered spot that managed to stay visible for at least ten years!
Will this treasure hunt be one of your kids’ favorite memories?
A few years ago, I tried to set one of these up for some kids I was babysitting, but to my frustration, I found that it took me longer to write the clues than it did for the kids to find them all!
Luckily for you, I’ve already done the hard part for you! With my ready-to-go printable clues, setting this activity up will be quick and easy, and you and the kids can concentrate on the fun part!
Because you’ll be hiding a treasure at the end, this activity is a perfect way to extend the fun and suspense any time you’re giving a gift. There are three choices for the final clue so you can hide the surprise in your cutlery drawer (if it’s tiny), their dresser drawer (good for candy or small gifts) or in the attic, if it’s something large.
You can do a treasure hunt on so many different occasions!
- on Christmas morning (or any other gift-giving holiday)- this would be especially awesome for large gifts like bicycles that you can’t wrap
- At a birthday party- the treasure could be a big gift for the birthday child or a collection of party favors
- At a play date- consider hiding some sort of activity kit, so that once the kids complete the hunt, they’ll have something exciting to do
- On a rainy day- the “treasure” doesn’t have to be an extravagant gift! You could hide a few pieces of candy and just let the kids run around for the fun of the hunt!
The nice thing about these clues is that they weren’t written to go in a specific order, so you can leave out ones that won’t work in your house (I know not everyone has a crib, for example), and you could really make the last clue any one that you want- maybe you want the hunt to end in the fridge, where they’ll find a healthy snack ready to go!
The possibilities are limitless!
Here’s how to set up your treasure hunt;
Step 1: Print and prepare the clues
click below to download the printable:
You probably won’t want to use all 20, so pick and choose what works best for you. Put them in the order you want the search to go. The longer the kids are running around, the better, right? You’ll want to make sure the clues are sending them back and forth to opposite ends of the house! For example, if the first clue is in the kitchen, the next should be in a bedroom far away, then back to the dining room, etc!
Once the clues are in order, you can number them, and fill out where each one will be hidden. Remember that if a clue leads them to a specific location, the next one should be in that place- as you see above, the answer of clue #1 is “crib,” so clue #2 is hidden under the crib.
Step 2- Hide the clues
Sometime when your kids are out or asleep (or just otherwise occupied- you can totally shut them in a room and tell them you need to prepare a treasure hunt for them!) you’ll need to run around and hide the clues- all but the first one! This is where having the hiding spot written on the top comes in handy, because you can sort them by room, so YOU aren’t running back and forth a million times. Ideally, they should not be in plain sight, so your kids don’t find them out of order.
Make sure your prize is hidden and ready to go as well!
Step 3- give them the first clue and send them off!
This activity is really best with older kids that can read and figure the clues out on their own. If your kids are younger, you’ll probably have to go with them to read clues and help them figure out answers.
Make sure you are around with the answer key to help them out if they really get stuck on a clue, and don’t miss their excited faces when they finally find the prize!
What will you hide for your kids to find? Leave a comment and let me know!
Ready to take it up a notch? Check out my Spy Mystery/Treasure Hunt and find out how to make your treasure hunt totally awesome! It uses escape-room style ideas, but designed for younger kids. Don’t miss the free printable and crazy cool clue ideas!
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