A treasure hunt is better for a single child or small groups so each child can take a turn reading the clues. With too many children they might split up if some of them misunderstand the clue or argue amongst themselves.
If you are doing it with a group larger than 6 children you might want to think about imposing rules such as no one is allowed to run to the next clue and they all have to agree where they are going to go and children must pair up with someone to read the clue together.
A treasure hunt should be geared towards the age of the child or children that are involved with it, so the younger the child the easier the clues should be. For very young children this would mean the clues would be simple such as "Look under the blue chair in the living room' , for a slightly older child the clue might be, "Look under the chair that is the colour of the sky", Then it can progress to clues that rhyme.
Having a theme for your treasure hunt can make the rhymes more interesting. If it is a Pirate Birthday Party then your clues could be with a pirate theme such as "Yo Ho Ho and a bottle of glue, Go to the chair that blue" or "Follow the clues of Pirate Pete, Now go look under the toilet ______" (needless to say the toilet and toilet seat would have been sanitized before you taped your clue to it).
Try to get the guest involved as part of the clue, "Look for the girl whose eyes are blue, then look for the clue that's left in her shoe." This can be fun as an ice breaker for a small group that don't know each other very well.
In doing the clues for a younger crowd you should write the clues on brightly coloured paper that they will be able to easily spot but if you are doing clues for the tween or teen crowd you can get a bit trickier. If you write the clues out on white paper then you will be able to place them in areas where they would be camoufaged such as a white door jam.
The clue could read,"Go to a door in the house like no other, Through this door is your pesky older ______(brother)". Or a clue could be written in dark marker and carefully taped to the inside of a lampshade, the clue to it would read,"In the living room is a lamp that shines bright, to see your clue go turn on the _____ (light). Test this out first on any lampshade that you are thinking of using as some lampshades are too thick to use or they are so thin you see the clue right away. Do not leave the clue there with the light on as the heat from the light bulb could ignite the clue.
For younger children 6 to 10 clues would be fine and if you are ambitious you could do up to 20 clues for teenagers. Before you start writing out your clues think of what areas of your home and garden you might hid them. You want the clues to be spread out so if you plan to do 10 clues then you would want 3 upstairs, 4 on the main floor and 3 in the basement (or outside).
On a piece of paper write out the 10 locations and think of what order you want the children to go to each one. Write them out in the order you want the children to find them and number them 1 to 10. The first clue you would hand to the children the second clue would be placed in the 1st spot, the 3rd clue would be placed in the 2nd spot, the 4th clue would be put in the 3rd spot etc. at the 10th spot you would have your treasure.
You might find it easiest to write out the rhyming clues and number them 1 to 10 then take the list of where they are going and mark that 2 to 10 then you would just put clue 2 in spot 2 etc. Any which way you do it have a test run to make sure that all the clues are in the correct place.
Don't wander to far from the treasure seekers because what might seem an obvious clue to you might stump them. The clue that reads "Look in the place that goes round and round" meaning the dryer might send them looking in the microwave oven. Also be prepared to tidy up the house a bit if you are having guest participate and if there are places that are strictly off limits tell them before they start and post a "Do not enter" sign to that area to remind them.
Photography and Content
Copyright Ingrid Talpak 2009