A Treasure Hunt is a fun party game that gets everyone involved and exploring clues! You can do a treasure hunt for all sorts of occasions, from holiday parties to birthday gatherings. Treasure hunts can work well for all ages, from young kids all the way to adults. They involve quite a bit of preparation, but don’t worry — we’ll help you set up a memorable one! Just follow the following steps and you’ll be good to go.
Setup for Treasure Hunt
Think about your participants and generate a list of ideas that would be age appropriate and tailored toward their interests and things they like. This planning stage is critical for a successful treasure hunt!
First, ask yourself: what themes would your audience be interested in? Animals? American history? Football? A certain cartoon character? A particular movie series having to do with pirates or wizards? Write these down on your list.
Then, determine how long your treasure hunt should take. 15 minutes? 30 minutes? 2 hours? It is important to have a good sense of timing to prevent things from ending too quickly or running too long.
Next, what foods, snacks or candy should be used, taking special consideration if anyone has any food allergies or any other issues.
After that, determine the format you wish to use for the activity. Individual? Pairs? Small teams?
Then, decide what the final treasure should be. Ideally, this should be something nice that fits in with the theme. For younger kids, you may wish to have enough “treasure” so that everyone can win.
Finally, determine a good place to set up your treasure hunt — this can depend on the age of the participants. Be sure to provide careful supervision at all times to ensure safety, especially for younger participants.
- Young children (3-5): it is ideal to be indoors at home.
- Kids aged 5-10: it is best to be indoors as well.
- Kids aged 10-15, consider going to a school or local park..
- Teens: A larger park or part of a small town.
- College students: a section of a college campus.
You will likely have to visit the location in advance in order to make sure the area is suitable and won’t have anything dangerous or disruptive. It is ideal to reserve the area so that no one accidentally ruins the treasure hunt.
Once you have a good plan in place, you are ready to purchase materials and get them done.
2. Purchasing materials.
Once you have successfully planned your treasure hunt, you can obtain the materials you need to run a good treasure hunt. There is a lot of creativity involved, but here are some items you may wish to use:
- A treasure map that shows where clues are, especially the first clue.
- Notecards for written clues.
- Colored markers or stickers to make the clues more interesting.
- The final treasure (something big or interesting) and smaller treasures to be obtained along the way (can be something like small candies or little toys).
- Consolation prizes for those who do not find the final treasure.
You can buy all of these materials at our Party Games Guide store.
3. Preparing materials.
Next, you’ll have to create several clues based upon the theme you have chosen. Again, this will depend on the age of your participants. Young children have a very short attention span, and may only be able to go through 3-5 clues. Older participants have a longer attention span, but the sequence of clues needs to be logical and make sense.
Here are some recommendations.
- Make the first one the easiest clue to figure out. You want to capture the player’s interest and get them started with some momentum.
- Consider making the clues a short rhyme. For example, “In here you can find the milk and juice. Open the door, and you’ll find the next set of clues!” and then hide the next clue inside the refrigerator.
- The final treasure should be wonderful and well-hidden. Figure out the best place to hide something. Be sure no one can find it too early. The last clue should lead to it. For the final treasure, consider using an aluminum tin or a cardboard box.
4. Playing the Treasure Hunt
Once you’re all set up, you’re ready to play! Give the players the first clue, whether it’s the treasure map or a notecard. Supervise the treasure hunt and be available to help people when they get stuck. Whether it’s a birthday party, marriage proposal, or treasure hunt for kids, have fun!