Birthday Treasure Hunt

A Birthday Treasure Hunt is a super easy way to add fun to a kids birthday party. In fact a treasure hunt is my favorite party game!

Why? Because treasure hunts are so adaptable and everyone loves the thrill of the hunt for the grand prize. They are one of the easiest and most popular kids party games to organize at a party and what is exciting is that the treasure hunt is different every time. 

You can easily adapt a birthday treasure hunt to your party theme and it can be played indoors or outdoors, with big kids, little kids, adults (it's amazing how competitive they get!), with big groups, small get the idea.

As with any treasure hunt, the idea is to hide some treasure and then make up some clues that will lead the players to the treasure. The hardest part of setting up a treasure hunt though is thinking up the clues.

Planning your Birthday Treasure Hunt

As with all party games, you need to adapt the rules/clues to suit the age of the participants.

This is the order in which to plan the birthday treasure hunt:.

  1. Choose your location.
  2. Choose the treasure to hide.
  3. Decide what types of clues you want to use depending on the ages and size of the group.
  4. Decide how many teams are playing. Advice for having several teams.
  5. Create and hide the clues.
  6. PLAY!

Types of Treasure Hunt Clues

There are lots of different types of clues and you can use a mixture or just go with one clue type. The main treasure hunt clue types are:

  • Riddles - A phrase or rhyme that provides clues to a location.
  • Puzzles - A sentence, picture or activity that the treasure seekers must decipher in order to find the next clue.
  • Word/sentence scramble - Words or phrases are scrambled and the have to be put back in the correct order to find the next clue.
  • Picture - A picture or object is the clue.
  • Music and sounds - Sounds such as a door banging or a particular song which indicates where the next clue is.

Step by Step Guide to Laying the Clues

Now the fun starts! The easiest way to organize the clues is to start backwards from where you want the treasure to be hidden.

To get started, you will need some treasure, pen, small pieces of paper to write the clues on. Plus arm yourself with a little notebook so that you can note down where you have hidden everything and what the clues are. Believe me it is easy to forget!

Step 1 - The Treasure

Choose a spot to hide the treasure.

Step 2 - Writing the first clue

Firstly decide how many clues you want to create. The younger the kids, the less the number of clues you want to have. What I do is have the same number of clues as the average age of the group. So for a bunch of 10 year olds I would have 10 clues. However if you only want the treasure hunt to last half an hour then reduce the number of clues.

Let's assume you are going to have 10 clues. Whilst standing over the spot where you have hidden the treasure, write a clue that would lead the kids to this spot.

Label this CLUE #10.

Example: The treasure is hidden under a plant pot. The clue could be:
"You may go potty when you read this clue,  but a bloom of color is waiting for you".

Step 3 - Laying the first clue

Take CLUE #10 and find a hiding place for it, away from the treasure. Make a note in your notebook of where you have placed the clue.

Place the clue in your hiding spot and at that spot, write CLUE #9.

Example: You pin CLUE #10 to a door. So CLUE #9 could be:
"Knock, knock who's there? Open carefully and see what's there."

Step 4 - Laying the second clue

You repeat the same process for the second clue as outlined in step 3. So find a hiding place for CLUE #9 (don't forget to write its hiding place in your notebook) and then whilst there, write CLUE #8.

Step 5 - Repeat until you are on Clue#1

Once you are down to CLUE#1, do not hide this clue. This will be the first clue that you give to the players.

Birthday Treasure Hunt - Playing in Teams

If you have a small group of kids then they can all play together as one team. However what if you want to split the kids into two or more teams? This takes a bit more organizing but is perfectly doable.

Let's imagine you are going to have 2 teams for the birthday treasure hunt. Allocate each team a color. For each clue that you create, put the clue in a colored envelope (or use a colored sticker on the envelope) to match the team. So for 2 teams, you will have 2 of the same clues each in a colored envelope.

In order to stop the kids all descending on the first hidden clue all at the same time, it is a good idea to change the order of clues for each team. So just follow the steps above again but this time place one teams clues in a different order. Make a note in your notebook!

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