A treasure hunt is a very fun event and is easy to prepare if it's too cold outside, for a birthday party, or the kids are just looking for something fun to do. Besides being very fun, this activity will also improve their physical and intellectual development.
Step 1. Know the character of the participants
Things to consider include:
- Age and gender of children. You have to make sure that the child's intellectual abilities can follow this game.
- Perfect hunting time. Young children tend to get bored quickly and get angry when restless.
- Party theme (if applicable). Don't make a pirate-themed treasure hunt if the kids' party is themed with Disney characters (unless the characters are Jake and Neverland Pirates)
- Gift things that your child likes. Do not use chocolate for treasure hunting outdoors during the day as it will melt.
- Find out if your child has allergies. Avoid foods that contain nuts, because many children are allergic to peanuts.
- Weather. Don't force a treasure hunt in the midst of heavy rain and storms or the scorching heat of the sun. Therefore, make a plan and inform guests of the suggested outfits.
Step 2. Choose the right location
Here are some ideas we can provide:
- For children aged 2-4 years, treasure hunting should be done in a home they know well. Hunts are carried out in a small area and are closely monitored.
- For children aged 5-8 years, do it outdoors. Of course, activities still need to be closely monitored and, if possible, separated from the public.
- For children aged 9-12 years, hunting should be done in a location such as a school or park. This will help the child become more independent.
- For teenagers, do a hunt around the village or the people's market. Thus, the territory explored will be broad and affect the sense of competition.
Step 3. Determine the format of the treasure hunt
Treasure hunting is more than just directing children through clues.
- Create a theme. Try creating a scavenger hunt using a map and compass or all participants in costumes.
- Want to add a sense of competition? Divide the children into two teams, and race them to find the treasure. This can increase the teamwork and communication skills of children (make sure children are old enough and mature enough to play).
Would you like the hunt to have some sort of final act?
- One option is “puzzle hunting” where each clue has a puzzle piece, which when collected will reveal the location of the treasure.
- A treasure hunt can also be a cooking party, where clues lead to the location of the ingredients for a "secret" recipe to follow.
Step 4. Start creating hints
As a general rule, children's patience usually lasts twice as many clues and their age.
For small children:
- Use pictures as clues. A picture or photo of the place to be investigated.
- Make up rhymes. "As a first clue, look for two squares that are exactly the same"
- Include the game in some hints. For example, prepare three identical plastic cups. Tell the children that the clue is in the glass they are pointing at. Then, quickly randomize the position of the glass. The children then have to guess which glass the clue is in.
For older children:
- You can use puzzles. For example: what walks in the morning on four legs, in the afternoon on two, and in the evening on three? (man)
- You can also use a secret code that can be found online or use see-through ink (use a see-through pen to write something and then ask the children to figure out how to read it.) Another idea is to take a close-up photo of an object, then ask the children to the child guesses the object.
- Finally, close the eyes of one of the children and whisper the instructions for the location of the next clue.
- For children of all ages, you can turn off the room lights until it is completely dark. Ask the children to look for clues with a flashlight.
- Remember that the first clue should be easy. The farther the hunt, the more difficult the clues.
Step 5. Decide how to give the children the first clue
As a general rule, the answer to the first clue leads to the next location, where the new clue is located. This continues until it ends at the treasure location.
- You can take it out of your back pocket and shout, “It's treasure hunting time!”
- You can try something more creative. For example hiding clues in their snacks or starting the show with a magic show.
Step 6. Prepare a cool treasure
Place the treasure in its hiding place, then prepare the final clue that leads to that location.
- Decorate the box with wrapping paper or construction paper, then fill it with items such as candy, coins, or toys.
- Children love compliments! Prepare a trophy or medal for the winner.
- For young children, also prepare consolation gifts.
- Don't make too many clues so the kids don't get confused.
- Overall, treasure hunting is done for fun! Make hunting fun and interesting.
- Depending on the age and confidence of the children and the location and difficulty of the instructions, participants may not want to be assisted by an adult. It's best to ask children what they want.
- When preparing clues, make them in reverse order. Starting from the treasure, then the last clue, then the second from last clue, and so on until the first clue.
- Always follow the theme of the party. If the theme of the party is fairy tale princesses, decorate the hints with a princess tiara and use royal words.
- Make sure the instructions are not monotonous. Use a variety of codes, anagrams, puzzles, riddles, and games so that no clue of the same kind appears twice.
- Let the children take turns reading the instructions to avoid being too competitive.
- Instructions written on paper, preferably folded in various forms. Try looking for different ways to fold origami.
- Make sure the treasures satisfy the kids. While the instructions are fun and engaging, kids will want a reward they can be proud of.
- Have some clues arranged to be retrieved with a puzzle-like mechanism. For example, put a clue on a toy boat in the middle of the pond and provide a fishing net and let the children guess how to pick up the clue.
- For older children, you can use a phone call or email.
- There is an app on mobile devices called Home Treasure Hunt to make treasure hunts. The app suggests hints, which you write on paper. Enter the hint answer into the app. Choose a hiding place for each piece of paper. Once all clues have been hidden, and entered into the app, participants can use the app as a tool to help find clues. Wolfi, the treasure hunter will guide participants to each clue. Once participants find a clue and enter it into the app, the treasure box will open and Wolfi will guide to the next clue.
- Give all the children the same amount of treasure! Don't let a child cry just because he has less candy than the others.
- If necessary, consult the owner of the treasure hunt location. No one likes it when their property is vandalized by small children!
- Children can get bored, even while hunting for treasure. Don't take it too seriously.
- If hunting involves food, make sure none of the children are allergic to it.
Depending on the location, children will need adult supervision.
- Children under six years of age should always be supervised by an adult.
- If the hunting location is not at home, children under ten years of age should be supervised at all times.