Backyard Treasure Hunt

There are lots of reasons why I love this activity, and why you should try it with your kids!

  1. It’s easy to set up.
  2. It’s exciting!
  3. It gets kids outside.
  4. It provides a purposeful reading opportunity.
  5. It can be modified for a range of ages.

If your child is at the beginning-to-read stage (like my 5yr old), keep your clues really simple.  I used the same short sentence on each clue. “Go to the _____________.”  Go, to and the are all high frequency words, and this is an excellent way to use them in context.

If your child is a more competent reader, increase the length and complexity of the clues.  A game like this really encourages your child’s reading as there is an inbuilt incentive!  They have to be able to read the clue, in order to find the next clue, which of course – needs reading too…

If you have older children, you might like to get cryptic (especially if you’re a bit of a fan of puzzles and crosswords yourself).  Older kids may even like to get writing and set up their own treasure hunt!

At the end of every treasure hunt of course, there has to be treasure.  The “treasure” doesn’t need to be fancy. Sometimes our treasure is morning tea wrapped in a box.  Sometimes it’s bubble mix for blowing bubbles, or a batch of playdough.  This time the treasure for Miss 5 was a little wooden table and two chairs for the fairy garden.  The set might have only been a couple of dollars from the cheap shop, but the tiny furniture is treasured indeed.

Have you ever set up a treasure hunt for your kids?

12 thoughts on “Backyard Treasure Hunt

  1. Great idea to encourage ‘holiday reading’!!! Love it :) But where on earth did you get the retro computer paper? I’m down to my last centimetre and it feels like I’m saying goodbye to a very old friend :*(

  2. Great idea! I’ve just made a set of sight words written on smooth white granite. Using your idea…..these could be arranged in simple sentences for the children to follow as clues.I could even write the clue words such as pond and sand pit on spare pieces. Hmmmmm now you’ve really got the creative juices flowing. Thank You!

  3. Cool idea! Thanks for sharing it with us. To answer your question. No I haven’t ever set up a treasure hunt.

    I even failed at easter, when having left a trail of little easter eggs my 7 year older confessed a few days ago that the easter bunny made a mistake.

    She the explained that the trail of little easter eggs didn’t lead to a pile of easter eggs (the treasure).

    When she goes back to grandmas (the scene of the easter egg hunt), she retraces her steps each time in search for the elusive treasure.

    However, with your inspiration I may attempt one tomorrow with some compass bearings included (my son’s 10 and loves maps).


  4. Love treasure hunts here. Often do them for birthday/Christmas presents, my husband likes to write really hard poem/puzzles for the older children.

  5. This sounds like so much fun. I once set up a treasure hunt for the kids at Playgroup – I followed an idea from Busy Brissy Mum by drawing the treasure hunt items on paper for the kids to mark off. It was a big hit and something different to our usual Playgroup activity. The last thing on the list was a “present”. It contained a little collage making kit which the kids could do once inside.

  6. I love this idea :) we did an Easter egg hunt this year – it took a fair bit of pointing in the right direction, but Miss 2.5 year old loved it. Though she kept thinking she would find eggs every time she went outside for a while after that!
    She loves being outside, so I’m thinking a pictorial backyard treasure hunt instead, with flashcard-like clues. Thanks for the inspiration!

  7. What a great idea. My daughter would absolutely love this. I don’t know why i haven’t thought of it myself! Thank you.

  8. We love treasure hunts too, but haven’t done one for a while. A few days ago we hunted for leaves and sticks to do a nature collage,and it would have made it even more fun to write the clues down for my son to read since he is starting to read for himself now, will try that next time, thanks!

  9. fantastic idea – it is so cold now and my grand daughters are visiting (4 and 6) so we are going to do it inside in the morning

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  11. What a great activity to take outside.
    I have done indoor treasure hunts with simple word and picture clues and never considered taking it outside. All we need now is a warmer, sunny Canberra day.

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