You don’t have to be a pirate to get googly-eyed over treasure! Treasure hunts are a fun part of any party. Once you learn the basics of how to set up a fun and easy-to-follow hunt, you can customize it for any event!
AgePreschool, School-age, Tweens, Teens
Number of Players3 to 4, 5 to 10, 10 to 20, 20+
Team DivisionEvery man for himself (individual players), Teamwork! (divide into teams)
CompetitivenessEither/or (can be played either way)
DifficultyAttention, please! (a few rules to follow)
Indoor or OutdoorEither
Space NeededLarge (gym, outdoor field, reception hall), Extra large (football field, warehouse)
Mess FactorDustpan, please
Prep Time20 minutes or more
Game Time Length15 - 30 minutes
1. Hide a bunch of treasure in your playing area. Be sure to keep a sample so you can show the players what they will be searching for.
2. For older kids, you may want to create a check-off list of the items and have them find 1 of each item, as in a scavenger hunt.
3. When you are ready for the hunt, hand out a bag for each player. Explain to them the boundaries and where the treasures will be found.
How to Play
1. On “Go!” release the players to find their treasure.
1. Make the hunt a little trickier by numbering each item that you hide. Assign each player a number - players should only claim the treasure with that number. This is fun for older kids because it gives them the option to "barter" with other players, since no one can end up with another player's treasure in the end.
2. Provide each child a list of clues leading to specific hiding places. This takes a lot of preparation though, and is suggested for a very small group.
3. Flashlight Hunt: play “Treasure Hunt” in the same way, except at night in the dark. Use flashlights to discover the treasure. Use shiny treasures, or even better glow-in-the-dark treasures such as light-up rings and glow necklaces.
4. You can also hide one item and have all the children search for it. The person that finds the item gets to hide it the next time. For example, for a Mermaid Party, a shell that holds the mermaid's voice is hidden.
5. “Treasure Hide and Hunt”: break the group into teams. Give each team a designated area. Pass out even amounts of “treasure” (pennies, candy coins, figurines, etc). Each team has 3 minutes to hide their treasures in their designated area. After 3 minutes, the teams switch areas and have 5 minutes to find the hidden treasures of the other team. Everyone then comes back together and counts the treasures found. Teams with the most found wins!
1. Younger children may need help finding treasure, so make sure an adult or older child is there to help point out hidden items.
2. If working with younger children, make sure the treasures are in plain view.
3. Make sure everyone gets the same amount of treasure. You can do this in a couple ways:
A. Tell everyone ahead of time how many pieces they can find.
B. Give everyone a list of items, and let them just find one of each.
C. Have everyone combine their found treasures in a big pile, and then sort the loot so that everyone gets the same amount. You can do this by having everyone sit in a circle and one at a time take a piece, till all the treasure pieces have been dispersed (this could take a looooong time).
Teachers, you can make this game educational by matching academic questions with specific answers (to be found on hidden treasures). This can be used as a review game, recall of old information, or a lesson summary.