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Treasure Hunt - A Fun Activity for any Occasion

Updated on July 2, 2012
Purple
Purple | Source

Fun for any Occasion

This kind of activity works especially well for children’s parties, though any time you get a group of people together, it can be fun to have a treasure hunt, or scavenger hunt. It helps to motivate your players if there is a prize involved, but it can be fun even with no actual prize. As long as you set the game up right for the intended participants it should go over well. I recently set up a treasure hunt for my kids and to my surprise even my 17 and 16 year olds were participating and having a good time doing it.

Location

To set up the hunt, the first thing to do is to make a basic map of the area where the game will be played. Be sure to add as many landmarks as possible and try to make it similar to the actual area. It doesn’t need to be a work of art, but it does need to be close enough for the players to associate it with the playing area. I have included a picture of the map I made for my most recent hunt. If you have a decent sized yard it should work fine, if not you could use a local park or area of a nature reserve. It will require a bit of preparation to make the map but it can be a lot of fun.

Map
Map | Source

Riddles

In addition to the map, you will need a list of riddles or clues that will each lead to a location on the map where something is hidden. I set mine up with ten riddles that lead to an area of the map with a hidden clue. The answer to each clue coincided with a specific area of the map. Each of those clues was a letter that when ordered correctly spelled out where the actual prize was located. The letters weren’t in any order so there was one last riddle to solve before the prize could be found. I wanted my kids to work together as a team and I wanted them to have to create a plan so I set a time limit on the game. I gave them the clues or riddles with instructions that told them to take all the time they wanted to make their plan, because once they started the hunt they only had ten minutes to find all the clues and then find the prize. The riddles and instructions were as follows.

Is it there?
Is it there? | Source
Climbing Wall
Climbing Wall | Source
Wow!
Wow! | Source

There are ten eggs hidden with a clue in each of them that will guide you to the ultimate prize. You can take all the time you need to figure out the riddles and the clue locations, and make a plan of how you will retrieve the clues, but once you go in search of the clues you only have ten minutes to find them all and get to the prize.

  1. Structure made primarily of mineral deposits
  2. Don’t climb on it
  3. _ _ _ _ _ _ the gap
  4. _ _ _ _ of cards
  5. _ _ _ _ N Roll
  6. People with swords do this
  7. The south _ _ _ _
  8. When you're in trouble you go to the _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
  9. Clip-Clop
  10. Your Smile

They didn’t have the answers of course but they were as follows, and remember each one lead to a specific area on the map.

  1. Metal Building
  2. Climbing Wall
  3. Bridge
  4. Deck
  5. Rock
  6. Fence
  7. Pole
  8. Doghouse
  9. Horse Shoe Pit
  10. Grill

Hurry!
Hurry! | Source
Really
Really | Source

The Outcome

I was impressed at how well my kids worked together to get the clues. I did help them a little with the riddles but for the most part they figured them out on there own. They got the locations figured out then split into teams to cover certain areas. They had all the clues but one in about three minutes, though the missing clue took them another five minutes to get. That left them with just over two minutes to put the letters together and find the prize. The letters were T H E O L D F O R D, not necessarily in that order as they found them. They figured it out and got to the old Ford truck with only seconds to spare. It was actually after the ten minutes when they found the hundred dollars hidden in the glove box, but I wasn’t about to tell them that they hadn’t earned it. I think they had a lot of fun, and I know I did. The next time you have a party you might consider setting up a treasure hunt as one of the activities. They can be very engaging for the participants; they encourage critical thinking and team work, and will create memories that will last a life time.

Do you like to try different activities to entertain guests at your parties?

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    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Nicole Canfield 

      5 years ago from Summerland

      Great video, awesome hub!

    • MomsTreasureChest profile image

      MomsTreasureChest 

      5 years ago

      Great idea, I like the idea of having a challenge at the end with the mixed up letters!

    • profile image

      whowas 

      5 years ago

      Looks like you all had a lot of fun!

      We used to do this sort of thing - treasure hunts - from time to time with my theatre company but the clues were encounters with characters in costume (usually fantasy stuff) or puppets who would give the riddle and help if necessary to point the kids on the way. There would also be folk who jumped out and surprised them, too!

      You don't need to have a bunch of professional actors to do it, either. Anyone who is game and wants to have some fun can do it - and the kids love it!

      Thanks for an inspiring hub.

    • dmop profile imageAUTHOR

      dmop 

      6 years ago from Cambridge City, IN

      teaches12345, The kids were stumped on a few of the answers, so I helped them out with some extra clues, but they got them figured out. I hope you have your own treasure hunt soon and have as much fun with it as we did. Thank you for stopping by, have a great day.

    • dmop profile imageAUTHOR

      dmop 

      6 years ago from Cambridge City, IN

      Mhatter99, The assassin's game sounds like a lot of fun, though the name sounds a bit extreme. I'm glad you stopped by and thank you for the comment. Have a nice day.

    • dmop profile imageAUTHOR

      dmop 

      6 years ago from Cambridge City, IN

      starstream, Yes, creating and setting up the hunt was fun, but the real enjoyment came from the kids as they worked their way through it. Thanks for stopping and have a great day.

    • dmop profile imageAUTHOR

      dmop 

      6 years ago from Cambridge City, IN

      always exploring, it was a lot of fun, watching the kids work together and get excited was priceless. I'm glad you liked the video, it was much longer but I figured no one would watch it if it was too long. Thanks for stopping by, I hope you have a nice evening.

    • dmop profile imageAUTHOR

      dmop 

      6 years ago from Cambridge City, IN

      rfmoran, I bet the grand kids do love a good treasure hunt, what kid wouldn't? I'm sure it is one of the great pleasures of being a grand parent when you get to spend real quality time. Thanks for stopping by and for the comment, I hope you have a fun and safe 4th celebration.

    • dmop profile imageAUTHOR

      dmop 

      6 years ago from Cambridge City, IN

      TToombs08, I agree that this could be fun for party goers of all ages. Thanks for stopping in and for the comment, have a great day.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      6 years ago

      This would be a really fun activity at a party. I like the riddle suggestion you posted. Haven't played treasure hunt in years, but I am now ready for one.

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 

      6 years ago from San Francisco

      Treasure hunts are GREAT! try the assassin's game. give everyone a badge. winner is person collecting the most badges. if you lose your badge you must return "home" to get a new one. all badges must be worn on easy breakable thread around neck in clear view.

    • starstream profile image

      Dreamer at heart 

      6 years ago from Northern California

      Fun hub. I know you enjoyed creating the treasure hunt too.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      6 years ago from Southern Illinois

      This must have been soo much fun..Thank you for sharing. The video is GREAT..

    • dmop profile imageAUTHOR

      dmop 

      6 years ago from Cambridge City, IN

      Redberry Sky, I never did anything like this as a kid, I wish I had though. I love watching the kids get excited as they get closer and closer to the prize. I'm sure I'd enjoy doing it myself, but would need someone else to set it up. I suppose I get to experience it through my kids though so its still a good deal. Thanks for stopping by and for the nice comment. I hope you have a fun filled day.

      dmop

    • rfmoran profile image

      Russ Moran - The Write Stuff 

      6 years ago from Long Island, New York

      A Hub for Grandpas! My grandkids absolutely love treasure hunts. I notice that this is becoming a freature of kid friendly museums such as maritime museums

    • TToombs08 profile image

      Terrye Toombs 

      6 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

      This is a wonderful idea for a party, and not just kids! VUMS! :)

    • Redberry Sky profile image

      Redberry Sky 

      6 years ago

      I used to love treasure hunts as a kid, reading this makes me think of organising one for the Girl Guides I work with sometimes. Great ideas (and great riddles too!) :)

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