Creative Clue Ideas for a Treasure Hunt

Kids looking for clues on a treasure hunt

Coming up with clue ideas for a treasure hunt can be difficult for even the most creative parent or teacher. Clues end up being one of the most exciting parts of the hunt.

Treasure Hunt Clues

Treasure hunt clues are necessary for adding suspense to the adventure. Sending kids off to find a treasure with a map may only take a few minutes. Clues turn the hunt into a fun game for kids that will fill a rainy afternoon, chilly winter morning, birthday party game time or indoor recess.

Working together to find the next clue and/or solve the clue helps foster cooperation and teamwork amongst children. It is a great family reunion game, allowing kids to reacquaint themselves with one another.

Themed Clue Ideas for a Treasure Hunt

Clue ideas for a treasure hunt need to be easy enough for the kids to figure them out without doing research, but hard enough they are not finished with the game in five minutes. Theme clues around the reason for hosting the party, like family trivia or birthday-related items. Other themed clues could include:

  • Favorite Characters: Choose a favorite character from a book, television show or movie. Write down clues that include an aspect of that character in them or lead to an item that relates to the character, such as I'm big, red, furry and slobber a lot. My best friend's name is Emily Elizabeth. This clue will lead children to another clue, hidden behind a stuffed Clifford.
  • Holidays: Parties planned near Halloween, Christmas, Easter, Valentine's Day and the Fourth of July offer numerous clue ideas. Christmas clues could be lines to a favorite holiday tune; Fourth of July clues might lead kids outside as they hunt for red, white and blue clues.
  • Educational: A treasure hunt can give kids a hand with their studies. In order to receive their clues, students must complete a task, like a science experiment, sentence diagram or mathematical problem. The next clue will include another problem that needs completion and so on. The clues should lead kids around the classroom or family room, until all of the tasks are finished. The first child/team to complete all the clues is the hunt winner.
  • Rhymes: Rhyming clues are simple and easy for kids of any age to understand. Older children may appreciate riddles, while younger ones may need more of a hint. For example, one riddle might be I live in a house outside, but I'm not quite big enough to ride. When I talk, I say bark not moo, and by my dish is your next clue.

Audio Clues

Written clues are common in treasure hunts, but they are not the only way to get the message across. Instead of creating a hunt using written clues, make a treasure hunt using audio clues. Prepare a few CDs that only have one song line/verse on them. Each song line could lead to the next line, with the "treasure" going to the first child to figure out the artist or song title.Alternatively, songs can also hint at other clues. This can be more difficult, as many songs are about abstract concepts, like emotions. The best songs to use are ones from groups aimed at preschoolers, as songs are often about day-to-day realities, like brushing teeth, putting on shoes or riding a tricycle. Use portable CD players in each hiding spot or mp3 players that have a speaker. Other songs to consider include:

  • Splish Splash: Hide the next clue in the bathtub.
  • 8675309 Jenny: The song repeatedly mentions a phone number, so hide the next clue by the telephone.
  • Grease Lightning: Put the next musical clue in the front seat of the family car.
  • Under the Sea: Put the next clue near a fish tank.

Audio clues do not have to be songs, either. Record everyday sounds to make clues for a treasure hunt. Ideas include recording the dishwasher, toilet flushing, shower running, garage door opening, dog barking and the doorbell ringing.

Picture Clues

Young children who cannot read will find picture clues the easiest to decipher. Use photographs or pictures from a magazine of familiar objects in the house. Hide the next clue underneath or next to that object. Treasure hunts for kids need clues that are easy for them to understand without a lot of adult help.

Picture clues are not just for the youngsters. Make a rebus puzzle, or picture puzzle, that makes older kids figure out the meaning in order to find the next hiding place. will generate free clues based upon the words and phrases entered into the message box.

Think up clue ideas for a treasure hunt several weeks before the actual party. Writing themed clues, making audio CDs or finding picture clues can take more time that originally planned. The best activities for kids are ones that keep them interested and involved until the activity ends. Creative clues do just that in a treasure hunt.

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Creative Clue Ideas for a Treasure Hunt