Welcome to "Grab-a-bounty" - a complete guide for you on how to organize
a successful treasure hunt for your kids.
The key to a great treasure hunt lies in ingenious riddles, clever
hiding places, and a prize catch.
The success of it all rests primarily on your ability to device riddles
that are simple, yet difficult to understand at first glance. Think out
riddles in a way that are clever, yet easy, and lead the little ones to
their bounty. After all, you don't want your kids to rack their brains
over your craftily devised little pieces, declare them to be too
difficult for them to understand, and give up their search altogether,
Secondly, your hiding places should be such spots that are out of the
way of usual activities. Else, your nicely hidden clues might just get
lost or disappear with no one ever noticing, or worse - noticing them
even before the hunt begins. Something that you will never want.
Third, the treasure should be something big for the young ones. Imagine
yourself in their shoes. Would you have liked a bounty that is not worth
the hunt? So make it big! You'll do well to relate the treasure with the
occasion (in this case, Easter).
With these three things in mind, you are ready to go over our
step-by-step guide to planning a successful Treasure Hunt.
Step 1: Hiding the treasure.
Behind every successful treasure hunt lies careful planning. And while
doing so, it is better to plan from the back - that is, from the spot
where you are going to hide the treasure. Choose a hiding place for your
treasure that's in or near your own yard. That way, you'll be at a good
vantage point to look over your kids and the participants of the game
and make sure that no one goes beyond the vicinity of the house and get
lost. A good way to hide your treasure is by placing it in a can,
plastic bin, or other bury-able container, bury it under a pile of
leaves or some loose earth, but not so deep that the kids need tools to
unearth it and dirty their hands.
Step 2: Write Your First Clue
Now is the time to jot down your first clue. While standing right at the
spot where the treasure is hidden, write a description of the location
on a sheet of paper. It's easier to do so at this juncture rather than
later from some other vantage point. A good way to do so would be in
using rhyming riddles. For example, if you plan to bury the tin of
treasure under the garden flower bed, you might write:
The smell of freshly dug earth,
will only give way to sweet fragrance
As soon as you finish composing your clue, number it. Remember, this is
the first clue you've written, but it will be the last clue the hunters
find. So you'll need to think about how many clues you want your hunt to
consist of. If you decide on ten clues (For your family's first treasure
hunt, this much will suffice), write #10 on the paper. Then fold the
clue several times so that it is small enough to hide.
Step 3: Hide Your First Clue
Find a good place to hide Clue #10. For young children, avoid making the
clues too hard to find by leaving at least a part of the clue visible
(you don't want the children to miss it altogether, do you?). Write this
location on your master list.
Step 4: Write the Next Clue
Again, right then and there, compose a new clue (#9) describing the
hiding spot of Clue #10. Say you have hidden Clue #10 in a case over the
mantelpiece. Your clue would in that case be something like:
It gives you warmth at cold
and clue to the bold
If you hide it in your shoes, your Clue #9 can be something like
Pirates of the Caribbean sea
In old shoes lies my key
For a Clue #10 hidden in an umbrella, your Clue #9 can be something on
The roof, that can be folded and carried
and bends like the turtle's back
is now your clue's sack
Step 5: Hide the Remaining Clues
By now you must have grasped the mechanics behind a Treasure hunt? You
must also have realized the benefit of building the hunt in reverse?
It's easy and fast because you never have to retrace your steps. Each
time you hide a clue, record a description of the location on a notepad
and then write a new clue on a separate sheet to fold and hide. Continue
using this method, counting down, until you have hidden Clue #2. When
choosing hiding places, always remember that a child's eye level is
relatively low. So be sure to leave your clues in such places that the
kids are likely to spot and reach.
Step 6: Creating Clue #1.
Now comes the most interesting part - creating the first riddle, the
Clue #1, that will set the tone for the whole hunt by inspiring the
tikes to set off in hot pursuit of the treasure. The clue can be a coded
message. It could be a message written backwards that you have to hold
up to a mirror to read, or a riddle like the ones used in successive
clues. It can also be a puzzle poem. Decoded, the message reveals where
Clue #2 is hidden. Say, you have hidden Clue #2 behind some painting.
Your Clue #1, in that case, can be a message like:
The painting yearns to be seen
what message has in it been
But the question is, how to present Clue #1 to them? You can device one
on your own or try out any of the following ways:
You can present the clue in the form of a well-timed mail.
It can be in the form of a well-timed phone message by a friend or
neighbor of yours. You can prearrange the phone-call. Ask the caller to
deliver the message in the voice of a popular cartoon character like
Scooby Doo or Daffy Duck.
Think of it - you turn on the VCR, and a preset video of a heavily
muffled person (it could be you) delivers a spoken clue. The disguise
can depend on your ingenuity. You can even use your children's puppets
and not have your face appear at all.
You can also let a prerecorded message run from some hidden place at an
opportune moment. It can reveal the whereabouts of the first clue.
Step 7: Begin the fun
On the D- day, get the hunt under way shortly after all of the guests
have arrived and before the food is served - the hunt will serve to
increase the appetite.