Looking for a good way to get your kids away from the TV, computer, and their video games? Treasure hunts are a fun and creative way to spend time with your child. If you have more than one child, it's a good way to get siblings to play together and cooperate. Or you could invite your child's friends in on the fun! Treasure hunts are also a great idea for a party game or an activity when you're hosting a playdate, and is sure to get all your young guests excited.
You can either plan the treasure hunt yourself, or help one or a few of your kids plan it out and let them have fun watching the other(s) follow their clues.
Decide on the Treasure
The most important part of the treasure hunt is the treasure! If you can get a treasure chest to hide the prize in, then all the better! Pick something you know your kids will like. This can be small, such as costume jewelry or chocolate "gold coins." You could even fill the chest with change and a few dollar bills or movie tickets. Have fun with this part!
Next decide on a place to hide the chest. In the summer time it will be fun to hide the chest outside, but during the cold months you can still think of a creative hiding place in the house: hidden under some towels in a closet, inside the dishwasher or washing machine, or in an empty cereal box in the pantry.
You can choose one of two ways for your children to find the hidden treasure. The first way is to draw up a map of the house (and the yard if the weather's nice) and have them follow directions on the map. This way is good for younger children. Draw a big 'X' where the treasure is hidden. Have your kids searching inside, outside, upstairs and downstairs. Include directions to get the kids active: "Hop 6 paces past the dining room table" or "Dance your way to the biggest tree in the yard."
Another way, better for older children, is to write clues on slips of paper, and each clue leads to another clue. Have the clues involve some thinking. For example, "Look where a piece of glass rests on a big brown circle" could mean to look around the wooden table which has a glass vase on it. Get your kids using their heads for this!