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How to Set Up a Treasure Hunt Game


Updated May 20, 2014

Boy using binoculars in grassy field
Cultura/jf/Riser/Getty Images
Kids are guaranteed to move, and giggle, when you send them on a search for clues in a treasure hunt game. Try it for a party, special occasion, or just a rainy day. Older kids can even be enlisted to set up a treasure hunt for littler siblings or cousins.
Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: 20-30 minutes

Here's How:

  1. Pick a prize (see Tips) and find a hiding place for it.
  2. Create your clues. Adapt them to your game players. Make picture clues for pre-readers. Clip images from magazines and catalogs or find them online if your drawing skills are as weak as mine are. Challenge older kids with riddles, puns, or even math problems: Tell them they need to take 3x6 steps or turn 45 degrees, for example.
  3. Try increasing the activity level in your treasure hunt. With each clue, include direction on how to travel to the next hiding place: hopping, crawling, waving both hands in the air, and so on.
  4. Hide your clues. Again, adjust difficulty to match kids' abilities. Aim for challenge, without too much frustration. Consider hiding clues under rocks, inside plastic Easter eggs, etc. Or see if you can find ways to leave messages without paper. Use magnetic letters on the fridge, or write on a chalkboard, say.
  5. Set ground rules: No running in the house, no pushing other players aside, and so on, as needed.
  6. Hand over the first clue and set the wheels in motion!


  1. Prizes can be anything from a large birthday or holiday gift—one that won't fit under the tree or next to the cake—to a small trinket or healthy snack.
  2. Aim for a trail of three to four clues for little kids (five and under) and up to 10 for older children. You want your treasure hunt to keep them busy, but not frustrated.

What You Need

  • Prize (see Tips for ideas)
  • Small slips of paper for clues
  • Creativity!
  1. About.com
  2. Health
  3. Family Fitness
  4. Ways to Play
  5. Games and How to Play Them
  6. Treasure Hunt Game - How to Set Up and Play

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