Beginner's Guide: How to Plan a successful Outdoor Treasure Hunt

I spend a lot of my time answering questions, and these are some of the most frequently asked questions about planning an Outdoor Treasure Hunt.

If you want to plan a great outdoor Treasure Hunt but you're feeling a little daunted by the task, then there are some things to think about first to help you avoid annoying bumps in your treasure hunting road.

What are some excellent outdoor Treasure Hunt Locations?

Backyards are a great location to hold a Treasure Hunt because they are contained and have a surprising number of great places to hide things. 

treasure-hunt-clue-with-chest-in-sand-with-spade

Playgrounds and school grounds are also good, especially if they have some playing equipment.  

Playground Treasure Hunt 

Public Parks are a good option, but if you want to have a treasure hunt in a public park, you'll need to scout out your clue hiding places well in advance unless you are very familiar with it. You'll also need to consider if you leaving clues is considered littering.

Treasure-hunt-in-the-park

If they have some obvious landmarks, then Forests and Woods might work for Teens and Adults but could prove frustrating for Kids and should probably be avoided for younger age-groups. If you really want to have an activity in a forest or wooded area, consider a scavenger hunt instead, where participants collect items from a list. They could take photos if you need to prevent flower and leaf pulling.

forest-treasure-hunt-clues

 

Communicate the Area in Play

Ensure players are aware of the boundaries and where is off-limits – this is especially important for kids where there might be safety concerns such as a carpark, a busy road or dangerous tools or equipment in the area.

How many people will take part?

The number of people working as a team will depend on the personalities and how competitive some of the treasure hunters will be. A good rule of thumb is no more than 5 for Kids because they will, more than likely, all want to have a chance at finding and solving clues. Teams of up to 10 can work for Teens & Adults who will probably be more relaxed and just get into the spirit of things. You want the treasure hunt to be an exciting and fun experience for everyone involved. If you are hosting a treasure hunt for a group of mixed ages, will the older participants make sure younger players feel involved?

 

Use your space

Make good use of the space available to you. Consider the area you'll use and try to use all the interesting places and all available nooks and crannies.

Also, try not to hide two consecutive clues near each other, e.g. if you are planning a treasure hunt in the area surrounding your home, don't hide clue 2 at the doorbell and clue 3 under the welcome mat – make them exercise!

 

Some Practical Matters

How will I stop a clue from blowing away in the wind?

You could hold it under a rock or place it in a crevasse, maybe with a little bit showing. If you want to ensure it is visible, roll it up in a scroll, tie a string or ribbon around it and secure it under a rock or tie it to something.

How will I stop the clue from getting wet?

Pop it in a plastic Ziploc bag. Double-bag for clues you will be immersing in water. If you think you will use the clues again in the future, you may want to laminate them.

 outdoor-treasure-hunt-wet-clue

What Treasure should I put at the end of a Treasure Hunt?

If you are planning a Birthday Treasure Hunt, a Christmas Treasure Hunt or some other occasion where you are giving a present, then using a treasure hunt as a gift reveal is the obvious choice.

However, if the treasure hunt is going to be used as a Party activity, and you don't want to leave any participants empty-handed, you could leave your already planned party favours at them. 

 

treasure-hunt-treasure-ideas 

 

For younger kids, seashells and other trinkets are an excellent idea. Personally, I'm not a fan of plastic beads or chains if they are just being used for a one-off novelty item and will probably just end up in the garbage. 

Certificates and tickets for treats are other options. And if you are out of ideas - just leave something sugary for them. I mean, most people love chocolate coins, right?

 

treasure-hunt-prize-chocolate-coins

 

Have you hosted an outdoor Treasure Hunt already? If so, what advice do you have, and what did you leave for the Treasure Hunters to find? Leave a comment below - we'd love to hear from you!!

 

Here is just one of the ready-made sets of Outdoor Treasure Hunt Clues that are available here at OpenChests.com. The templates are editable online, so you can make them work for most outdoor locations.