In society, people often think of a treasure hunt as something for kids to enjoy as they play with other children. But the reality is, a treasure hunt can be a great way to spend an afternoon for both adults and children alike.
Treasure hunts can bring families together and give you an excuse to discover all sorts of new places. Developing your own treasure hunt isn’t always easy, so below are 15 treasure hunt clue ideas to help get you started!
Easy Treasure Hunt Clue Ideas for Adults and Children
1. Pirate Themed Riddles
Why not start with the theme that began it all? A pirate themed treasure hunt with riddle clues like these ones outlined in Jenn’s Blah Blah Blog can be simple enough for kids to solve on their own, or you could make them more difficult if adults are playing. In the example listed, the prizes found at each of the riddled locations were healthy snacks, but you could also switch these up for gold chocolate coins, small trinkets, or any other reward you feel like hiding!
2. Chore Treasure Hunt
This one is probably only for kids, but it’s a great way to get your children to do their chores! You will just need to create cards like these featured in Crafting Chicks, and hide them somewhere where your kid can’t find them unless they complete the chore. For example, if you need them to clean their room, hide the card underneath something you believe they will pick up last! These cards can be kept general or made to specifically address your house and the chores assigned to each child.
3. Direction Clues
Making a treasure hunt around your city can be a fun activity when you’ve got friends and family visiting from out of town. Just make clues that read like directions as they did for this UK-based treasure hunt featured on Treasure Hunt People. Then you will give the clues to your guests and let them experience the town. You can always go with them on the treasure hunt to spend time together, but this is also an activity which could easily keep guests busy while you have to work.
4. Picture Clues
Using only pictures as clues can help to incorporate even the youngest children into a scavenger hunt. You can make sort of a matching game where kids will need to find all of the picture pieces hidden in secret locations. This idea featured on Queen Of Theme Party Games can also be used for adults in a fun city type scavenger hunt. In the adult version, you would take pictures of certain locations around your city to make the clues. Just make sure the clues aren’t too easy to solve, and that you incorporate a lot of fun spots to visit.
5. Map Clues
This awesome treasure hunt idea does take a little set up, but your players will absolutely love the final results. Draw or print off a map with blank spaces the players must fill in. Then as they go about the treasure hunt, you will reward them with additional pieces of the map. When this idea was mentioned on Chica And Jo, they went as far as to burn the edges of the paper and place the clues and map in glass bottles painted to look like a cork to get everyone into the treasure hunt mood.
6. Write Clues In Code
Challenge your artistic skills by developing a code where each letter corresponds to a picture like this example in Party Delights. Or you can also use the computer and save yourself some time. Either way, older children will love trying to decipher the coded clues you’ve left for them to follow! You can even make this treasure hunt more difficult by using the code to transform challenging riddles into pictures to keep your kids deciphering for hours.
7. Colorful Clues
Turn your child learning colors into a fun scavenger hunt game with riddles that are at their comprehension level. Use these clue examples by Imom, or create your own easy riddles of items your children can find around your house. If you can, try to use rhyming phrases because that will make it easier for young children to come up with the answer while also being introduced to the critical thinking skills needed to solve riddles.
8. Romance Is In The Air
Just because you don’t have kids doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a treasure hunt! For a fun date night idea, make a treasure hunt for your significant other like this one in The Tip Toe Fairy. You can have the clues lead them around the house, or maybe the answers will correspond to major events in your relationship. No matter what you decide to do, have the clues end with finding you with a bottle of champagne and you both are sure to enjoy the evening.
9. Word Search Treasure Hunt
For those looking for an extra challenge, consider turning all of the clues into word searches. You can take a traditional word search and have the first letter of each word found correspond to a clue location, or you can use a cross out word search like in this example by Coolest Kid Birthday Parties. Because the word searches can be made easier or harder, this treasure hunt can be used for both children and adults, or you can make mixed teams for your next family night.
10. Make The Clues Math Problems
Create an educational treasure hunt by asking your kids to do math problems to get their clues. In this example by Mama Geek, the children were given a math problem with three possible answers, each of which corresponded to a letter. At the end of the math problems, the kids will have a full word of the next clue location, but only if they did all of the problems correctly! One of the reasons we love this idea is because you can create math problems of varying difficulty depending on your child’s math level.
11. Fill In The Blank
For an effortless and quick scavenger hunt, you can create clues that are sentences or phrases and have your child fill in the blank. You can do so much with this idea from using these types of clues to have them check locations, do chores, or even solve rhyming riddles. An example of this idea is outlined in The Holderness Family, but this is another scavenger hunt that is best personalized by you for your family.
12. Morph Your Clues Into A Maze
This particular scavenger hunt idea can be very difficult to create without using a computer. But the good news is, there are a number of websites out there you can use to generate mazes. Use one of them to create a maze filled with letters, and the path to the exit of the maze will have the correct letters to spell out the clue word. This idea was used by Treasured Chaos to create a school wide scavenger hunt, which was extra fun because the kids were racing to see who could finish the maze and solve the clue first!
13. Mirror Clues
Ever tried to read mirrored writing? It can be quite a task! Keep your child guessing with clues put in mirrored writing like this clue featured on Padlet. Don’t worry if you aren’t good at writing in mirrored text, as there are several computer programs that can help you to mirror text with ease. This can also be made into a unique game for a kid’s birthday party by giving each child a small compact mirror to solve mirrored clues to find a prize!
14. Clue Up The Internet
This is an excellent scavenger hunt for both the kids and adults in your life! You will simply write clues that can be found using an internet search. For kids, you can have them search for specific words and articles based on the clues. For adults, you can follow this date night idea by The Dating Divas and use a scavenger hunt to find out more about each other, or to share your dreams in a laid-back manner! The internet is truly endless, so this version of treasure hunt can definitely be replayed over and over again.
15. Recipe Clues
Do you have a child who loves to bake? They will absolutely adore this unique scavenger hunt idea! Find a recipe that is kid-friendly and isn’t too hard for them to complete on their own, or under your minimal supervision. Then you will turn the cooking instructions into clues! You can get ideas from Queen of Theme Party Games where this idea was featured, but only you know your child’s abilities in the kitchen, so it’s best to tailor this idea specifically for your child.
Whether you design a treasure hunt that takes place at your home, or around the town, you and your family are sure to have a great night. And with all of these ideas beneath your belt, you can design the best treasure hunts clues for both the kids and adults in your life. But don’t be afraid to combine multiple ideas on this list to make one giant treasure hunt that will have your friends and family running all over to try and beat each other to the grand prize!