How to organize a treasure hunt at home ?

how to organize a scavanger hunt

Looking to prepare a birthday for your child but you don’t have any ideas for activities to keep them busy? Here you will find many solutions to help you organize a treasure hunt without too much stress! Indeed, it is not always easy to start, not everyone has the soul of an animator, especially for a group of about ten children. However, with the right tips, you can organize a treasure hunt at home that will please everyone! Also remember, if the treasure hunt is fun, and you put a lot of energy into it, it will necessarily please the kids 🙂

police investigation for kids 12 years old

A) The Basics of a Successful Treasure Hunt

1) Choose your theme carefully

– Pleasing the hero of the day

Organizing a treasure hunt is first and foremost a matter of choosing a theme. Indeed, it is important to please and question your child on the subject (unless it is a surprise). This ensures that the theme matches what he or she wants.

Know how to find a simple theme to set up

However, we know that the themes are often repeated. Knights, Princesses, pirates, cowboys, etc… nevertheless it is necessary to be prepared for any incongruous request, and to think well if yes or no it is possible to organize a treasure hunt under this theme. What we would say is to stay as much as possible in the classics, for several reasons:

  • These are themes that always please (and everyone)
  • These are simpler themes to prepare with easy-to-find decorations
  • They allow children to often come in disguise with their own disguise

And it is finally for you an insurance to be able to prepare a treasure hunt with elements of the house, or even images found on the internet.

2) The common thread

To properly organize a treasure hunt, it is also necessary to link several elements together :

– A story to tell

Let’s start with a story. This one can be simple, but it sets the scene for the scavanger hunt or treasure hunt. It thus allows children to take a first step in the adventure that awaits them. Treasure hunts are one of children’s favourite birthday games, so you can move forward without fear in preparing for this activity.

– Examples of invented stories:

The pirates
  • “Little pirates, that’s terrible! Indeed, the pirates of the Far Seas have stolen your treasure! Hurry up, and go in search of these freshwater bandits, in order to get your gold back. Nevertheless, you will have to be brave and fierce and pass many challenges, but I feel you are the best pirates for this great mission! Let’s go for the adventure!”
The princesses
  • “Princess Dezora has lost her crown, the whole castle is currently in search of this treasure which remains untraceable. In addition, the king asked for all the brave little princesses of the kingdom to unite and go in search of the princess’ crown. He promises a reward to anyone who finds the treasure”
The wizards
  • “In a faraway land, where witches and wizards live in peace, there is a dark and black threat to their kingdom. Indeed, a letter has just arrived at the office of magic tricks, and it is full of black magic. The expert wizards have deciphered the letter, it comes from the terrible wizard Gunael who stole a treasure so powerful that he could destroy the wizard’s kingdom if someone does not act quickly by finding the treasure, and bring it back to the wizards. Are you ready for this quest ?”

3) Produce material

Take the time to write the story on a piece of paper to introduce it to the children. This will help them to get into the mood. But above all, you will see that this material will be a valuable support for you in your role as a treasure hunt game master 😉

4) The spirit of adventure

Whatever you decide, always keep in mind the spirit of adventure. The children will then be quickly carried away by the game and you will be reassured. The perfect treasure hunt is yours !

B) creating clues

Once the story is told and the setting is set, the treasure hunt can begin. Yes, but how will you tell me ? Well, the rest is simple, you need clues.

1) Prepare the clues

To easily prepare your clues and to organize a fun and entertaining treasure hunt, cut a sheet of paper into 10 equal pieces of paper. You must then indicate on it :

  • the index number from 1 to 10
  • the location of the following clue
  • a little catchphrase
clue treasure hunt

2) The roadmap

It is also important to keep a roadmap for preparing your treasure hunt, nothing complicated but a general list of what you want to offer to children.

C) Prepare games

  • A reminder of the theme
  • The story
  • The locations where the clues are hidden (this is important because it is essential to follow the chronological order of the index numbering so as not to make mistakes and forget a clue on the way)
  • The games you will offer
  • Any other information that you feel is important

1) Games that work

– Ideas for games

During the treasure hunt, it is indeed fashionable to suggest games. This makes the scavanger hunt more fun. You can also get games on the Internet on the chosen theme quite easily. The games that work best for organizing a treasure hunt are as follows:

  • The set of 7 errors
  • The labyrinths
  • The rebuses
  • The Charades

– Presentation of the games to organize a treasure hunt

Thanks to these games, your knights, pirates or princesses will be able to do small missions during the treasure hunt. Make a note of when you want to propose them. For example, when discovering index n°3, children will be able to read on paper “it is time for little knights to pass the labyrinth challenge!”

2) The riddles

In addition to the games presented above, you can also suggest that children solve puzzles. Keep in mind that the enigma must be simple, because indeed the main purpose of the treasure hunt is to find a treasure! We give you some examples below, but don’t hesitate to use your imagination!

  • the treasure is hidden in a dark place, made of leather and that allows you to walk and run fast…answer: a shoe / basketball
  • Solve this puzzle: I’m a naked animal, I like to walk from branch to branch, give me a banana and I’ll give you the next clue…answer: a monkey
  • Rebus : Elbow / Letter L + a bow…
  • The next clue is in a sometimes humid place, where you like to do splashes! answer: the bathroom

3) Codes & secret messages

As far as secret codes are concerned, you can also propose one or two to be solved. For example, a code can allow children to discover a place once it has been deciphered.

– Examples :

  • The box code: Here is a very well known secret code. Indeed, it is the one of the alphabet to be deciphered. All you have to do is choose the sentence or word to decipher, then write the sentence or word in code on a sheet of paper. All that remains is to give the children the coded alphabet and the coded sentence chosen by you.
  • Let’s continue with this secret code always based on the alphabet. First you have to prepare an alphabet by shifting it. That is to say A=B, B=C, C=D, etc… First of all it is important to write your alphabet on a sheet of paper, this will allow you to write your sentence correctly. Also think about giving children decoding instructions in the form of a table.
A=BB=CC=DD=EE=F
F=GG=HH=II=JJ=K
K=LL=MM=NN=OO=P
P=QQ=RR=SS=TT=U
U=VV=WW=XX=YY=Z
Z=A

Example of a word to decipher “UIF USFBTVSF” = The treasure

  • Finally, I present you a last secret code which is rather a secret message, different from the others, but nevertheless just as amusing. Take a sheet of paper and a brush. Mix water (very little) and lemon juice in a small bowl. Write with a brush or cotton swab previously dipped in the bowl on the white sheet, then let it dry. Now you’ve just created your first secret message in invisible ink! To reveal the secret of the message, put it in front of a lamp and you’re done! Guaranteed success 😉

Want to know more about it ?

To learn more about secret codes, however, I advise you to discover this very complete book. After this reading, the secret codes will no longer have any secrets for you. I also found it personally in the media library, but I put the Amazon link by clicking on the image: -)

code book

D) Prepare diplomas and surprises

It is up to you to choose the form, but it is important to offer diplomas to the children at the end of the treasure hunt, as well as a surprise (a small bag of candy for example).

E) Ideas for games to complete your child’s birthday treasure hunt

1) Team games

Group games are indeed very interesting games to set up for a birthday, but also to include in a treasure hunt. Thus, many games exist, however musical and/or cooperative games are easier to set up. You will therefore be able to offer children adapted games such as:

  • Musical chairs game (cooperative mode) :
    Start by suggesting that the children turn around the chairs (number of chairs – 1 the number of participants), as soon as the music stops, they should all try to sit on one of the chairs. In order to avoid the win/win system on a birthday, keep the same number of chairs and then offer the child who could not sit down to come back and play immediately! And if you do not have enough chairs, proceed to a elimination by 2 or 3 😉
  • Disco game:
    Start the music and ask the group to dance (don’t hesitate to propose a modern music they like). When the music stops, they will no longer be allowed to move. If a participant moves, he or she must leave and will then be the coach and will have to support the others. Continue until there are only 2 participants left on the floor and offer a dance battle. Ask outgoing participants to applaud each of the finalists. The one who was the most applauded to win! You can also say that the two finalists (or 4 to choose from) cannot be separated and are the winners. A variant for the older ones: You can make 2 teams to promote team spirit in the game, or ask them during disco to stand on one foot, or keep their hands up, or make a face to make the game even more fun when the music stops.
  • The intruder’s game:
    Ask all participants to move around in a room, they will then have to observe each other because an intruder is hiding among them. It is up to you to give the indications that will allow children to find the intruder. Some examples: “The intruder with long hair”, “The intruder wears a T-shirt”, “the intruder has blue eyes”, etc… After a few deductions the children will find the intruder comrade and will be allowed to tell him “We found you!”. Finally, start the game again with a new intruder.

Feel free to read our article on “How to organise a birthday at home” for more details on how to organise a child’s birthday.

1) Outdoor games

Finally, if you are lucky enough to own a garden, don’t hesitate to make the most of this play and hiding place. Indeed, outdoor games are very funny and fun, and above all numerous. We will also soon publish an article on the subject on our blog, so don’t hesitate to follow us on social networks !

F) Tips to fully develop the chosen theme !

Finally, and in order to make your child’s birthday his most beautiful day, don’t skimp on the decor around your treasor hunt. Indeed the visual is very important to organize a treasure hunt that will certainly please, and although the decor does not have to be very sophisticated it can however make the happiness of the little monsters present at the birthday. So remember to decorate the table, the cake, but also the main room. In addition, we are currently developing a range of decoration kits, in connection with our treasure hunts. Indeed, these kits will be printed at home, and each pack will include “name tags” for the birthday table, “straw tags” and “cups bearing the effigy of the little characters we create” !

Visit our shop !

That’s it, I think we’ve told you everything about “how to organize a treasure hunt”. However, if due to lack of time you cannot start such a preparation, do not hesitate to visit our shop of treasure hunts and detective adventure ! Indeed, all the children’s favourite themes are grouped together there:-)

Discover our treasure hunts and detective adventures !

Also check out our presentation video !

And do you have any ideas on how to organize a treasure hunt? We would be happy to share your experience:-)

print and play game for kids
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