How You Can Create an Incredible Back Garden Treasure Hunt
Treasure hunts have long been a staple weekend or school holiday activity for kids of all ages – challenging their problem-solving and teamwork skills. But rather than copying a boring old treasure hunt, we’ve compiled a set of tips to help you create an exciting hunt for your brood and their friends. Here’s the step-by-step guide to creating an incredible back garden treasure hunt.
Set the Boundaries
The last thing you want during a treasure hunt is for the kids to misinterpret the rules and head off far from home in search of treasure. Create a clear, well-defined boundary for the treasure hunt, and specify this on the treasure map so the kids understand that all the clues lay within the safe boundaries of your garden.
Pick a Theme (And Stick with It)
Use the treasure hunt as a form of escapist play for the kids – creating a whole new world for them to explore. Pick a theme for the hunt (either a classic like ‘pirate island’, or something a little more unique like ‘under the sea’), and stay true to the theme throughout. All prizes should be relevant, and the language used in the clues should be worded in-keeping with the theme. Something related to the kids’ interests and ages will naturally be preferable, increasing the chance they’ll become really engaged with the game.
Create a Base
Adding to the authenticity of the hunt and the theme, create a base from which the kids will
start their adventure. This guide can help you and the kids build a back garden teepee – which could serve as the perfect base for a great Cowboys and Indians treasure hunt.
Spring a Surprise
Most kids love surprises, so make the entire treasure hunt a surprise for the participants. With little warning, spring the hunt upon them and thrust them straight into the action. This will make the treasure hunt feel more exciting and less like a contrived exercise – getting the endorphins pumping and the mind working.
Also, it will negate the risk of the kids trying to solve clues before the treasure hunt even starts!
Even Out the Teams
If the kids are to be placed in teams, try and make sure they’re evenly split. Organise the kids by age and ability and share them evenly between all the teams. This will ensure the hunt is even and competitive – removing the risk of an absolute whitewash (and any resulting tantrums which may occur).
Consider the Patience of Children
It can be easy to get carried away when crafting a treasure hunt, ending up with the longest, most in-depth and difficult back garden treasure hunt in living memory. But don’t forget, the kids’ attention span, and willingness to stretch their mental capacity to its furthest reaches, may not be the same as yours. Stick to roughly 10-15 clues to ensure the kids’ attentions are still on the treasure hunt by the time they approach the final few clues.
Also, ensure the kids understand they are making progress, and working their way towards the final goal, by alerting them when they are halfway through the clues, or coming close to the end of the hunt.
Work Backwards from the Last Clue
This tip has been included to ensure you don’t confuse yourself. Map out the final hiding place of the treasure, and the strongest clue pointing to it, straight away, and then work backwards from there. This will make it easier to create a more organised and fluid treasure hunt for the kids to enjoy.
Use a Selection of Questions, Rhymes and Riddles
All kids’ minds work in different ways, so it’s important all their bright and brilliant eccentricities are accommodated in the game through the use of different clue types. This will make it fairer, and ensure all the kids get chance to enjoy the treasure hunt.
Additionally, it will keep the hunt fresher and more challenging for the participating hunters.
Incorporate Games Throughout
Some clues can come in the form of games and puzzles. Not only will this challenge the kids’ minds in different ways, but will add an extra layer of fun – keeping the kids’ attentions on the hunt.
And Make Sure Everyone Gets a Prize
Whilst dishing out prizes might feel like bribing the kids to have fun, we all know most children enjoy themselves more with the prospect of a little payoff. Small prizes dotted throughout the treasure hunt can increase the chance that every hunter goes home with at least one prize. Keep a few prizes behind though in case one or more children are coming to the end of the hunt empty-handed. Host an impromptu themed quiz or bonus round to make sure everyone walks away with a prize and a smile on their face.