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How to have an at-home treasure hunt

Nothing is more intriguing to a child than the idea of hidden treasure. Whether you need a great rainy day activity, a birthday adventure or just something to battle boredom, a treasure hunt is the answer. Planned or impromptu, it’s sure to be as much fun for you as it is for the kids.

50 Days of family fun

Gather supplies

You can use almost anything as treasure:

  • Chocolate coins (not in hot weather)
  • Cookies
  • Cupcakes
  • Small toys
  • Pennies

Choose items that won’t break the budget but will provide an exciting finish to any search. If yours is an outdoor activity, you can even create a map to a tea table that has been set up in an out-of-the-way spot in the garden.

Hide the treasure

Hide the treasure somewhere that is challenging to find but not too difficult. Keep your children’s ages and attention spans in mind when planning the difficulty of your route. For a fun way to provide direction, paint symbols on rocks or create other clues to lead your kids along.

Make a map

Use brown paper to make a map. (A paper grocery bag works perfectly.) To make it look old and faded, use a brown felt-tip pen. Burn the edges of the map to make it look even older and more fragile.

Don’t make the directions too easy

Mark the route carefully, noting any special symbols or markings you may have made. Children who can read can follow written directions, such as, Walk eight steps forward to the oak tree. Take three steps to the right until you reach the rosebush.”

Hide the map

Most treasure maps are found accidentally during the course of a normal day. Put your map in a wide-mouth Mason jar. While an old, lipped bottle is traditional, a Mason jar will allow the children to get the map out easily. Put the jarred map where your child can find it.

More ideas for family fun

Go on a treasure hunt: A geocaching primer
Family time with fun and creativity
Easter activities: How to plan an Easter egg hunt

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