Ages: 1 to 8
You can host a fun themed party for your child or even adults. A treasure hunt theme is simple to expand on using the ideas here and using your own imagination. Treasure hunting can be fun and light, or more serious, even sexy for adults. Here are a few ideas for a basic treasure hunt party, aimed more at kids than adults.
Put together a sand treasure hunt:
Get an inexpensive large wash basin or kid’s swimming pool.
Fill the basin or pool with new sand, new silicon bead kitty litter or other granular substance.
Put coins (pennies, dimes, nickels and quarters) into the sand and bury them.
You can also put little toys, such as party favors in the sand.
Give out a kid size sand shovel or sifter to let the kids sift through the sand to find the buried treasures, or just let them use their hands.
Put together an outdoor treasure hunt
Similar to an Easter egg hunt, outside in a relatively small area (or large, if you have a lot of partiers) hide various party favors and wrapped treats (such as chocolates or candies) in the area.
Put together an indoor treasure hunt
Make riddles for the kids to follow as directions to find hidden things or other riddles that lead them to the ‘grand prize’. They can do this as a team, or in teams to find the treasure.
Put together a treasure box
Get a treasure box—this can be a regular box that you’ve decorated up to be elaborate. (The box should have a lid).
Take a box and some cardboard and fashion a lid to close over the box—even just a flap lid is fine.
Color, glue and decorate the box with shiny things such as tin foil, fake jewels etc.
Fill the treasure box with party favors, prizes and treats.
Have contests—who can find the most and least pennies in the sand box, who found the most and least items in the treasure hunt, dress up winners, etc. and let the kids pick from the treasure box.
Make a treasure map
Draw out a treasure map and let the kids find the treasure.
Draw out a treasure map and cut it into odd shaped pieces—hide the pieces and let the kids find them, then put the map together to follow to find a prize.
Have a treasure hunt dinner for your party
Ideas for serving a treasure hunt dinner are:
Alphabet soup—have the kids spell a word with their soup letters such as pirate, ship, treasure, party, fun or their names. Award prizes from the treasure box for the winners.
Serve berries and other fruit in whipped cream—no hands! Must find the berries with your mouth!
Hide coins in cake slices and let the kids find them.
Hide colored utensils around the house for the kids to find in order to eat.
Serve ‘pirate juice’ (any juice will do—you just have to call it pirate juice!)
Have a game where kids eat yummy food blind folded and have to guess what they are eating. Good ideas are gummy worms, fragrant fruits, candies and chocolates. Let the kids who guess correctly pick from the treasure box.
Tips & Warnings
As you lay treats and surprises outdoors for the treasure hunt, make sure you draw a map and label where you hid everything—just in case some aren’t found.
Good places to hide things are—hanging in the tree or on bush branches, in nooks or crannies, behind larger items. Leave some in obvious places, like on the stairs or in the middle of the yard to get the kids excited.
You can find a variety of cut out, ready to print pirate treasure hunt puzzles on the Internet.
Don’t forget about the age of the people at the party. Don’t use really small items for small kids in the treasure hunts unless they have an adult with them at all times.
For hiding the coins in the cake, make sure that adults are present and that the kids know there is something hiding in the cake. Don’t do this for little kids as they could choke on the coins.
Make sure that everyone gets a turn at the hunt and that everyone ‘finds’ something—even if you have to help and direct them in the general area of where something is hiding.
Make sure that everyone gets to pick a prize from the treasure box so no one feels left out.
Berries in fruit dinner suggestion—this is fun and messy! Wear smocks that can be washed so the kids don’t get anything on their clothes.
Things You’ll Need
A treasure box (you can make this one)
Coins to hide in sand or cake
Sand or other granular substance such as silicone beads
Candies, treats, chocolates