Treasure Hunt for Kids

The end of the summer was the perfect occasion for a backyard treasure hunt

I, like every other living being, love a good treasure hunt. My two kids make the perfect participants, and the end of the summer was the perfect occasion for an event like this.

Pirate binder

Any treasure would have been suitable, but I had found a binder full of fun stuff at a garage sale. This was perfect. It was valuable to kids, but had cost less than $20. Also, two kids could split the contents.

I made a new cover with a pirate scene.

Pirates love metallic pens, by the way.

Clues in envelopes

The next step was to identify some good envelope-hiding places and to identify them with some easy clues. I guess these aren't really even clues, they are direct descriptions of places in the backyard.

umbrella hiding note

On the night before the hunt, I hid the binder. I then worked backwards, hiding the clue envelopes, creating a path to the finale.

Treasure envelope start

The final envelope hidden was the first clue. I left this one inside under the breakfast table, marked "treasure".

I was 95% sure the kids would ignore this envelope on the ground in the morning. My plan was to wake up, feed the kids and prompt one of them to find this first envelope. I think this makes a much nicer start of a treasure hunt than just handing over the first clue.

Finding the envelope

It worked! I asked them to clean up after breakfast and that got them poking around the table. Sure enough, they found the envelope and immediately understood the implications. They were off!

pineapple pot

The clues were simple, but they still had to find the envelopes. Here my daughter is looking in the dirt before she noticed the white envelope under the pot.


patio umbrella found

Finding the clue under the umbrella canopy. I didn't bury any of the clues this time, but this one was above her head, which is sometimes as good as invisible to a nine year old.

parking lot clue

This clue was "in the parking lot". When they thought they knew the answer, they ran to the next location.

hose clue

This was the answer to the most obscure clue, "the wet snake". I forgot that the kids had a toy snake that grew to "400% of its size" in water. Because all of the other clues were so literal, it was a poor idea to have this one composed like a riddle. But all was not lost. They figured it out.

lawnmower grass catcher

The treasure binder was hidden in the grass catcher bag of the mower. I thought they'd have a tough time opening that bag, but they worked together and yanked it open with ease.

energy cards

And that was it! They found the binder!

treasure hunt pose

The treasure was a collection of Pokemon cards! They loved it.

We already had one binder of cards in the family, so it was easy to split these cards without too much grief. They pored over their new treasure for the rest of the day, the last day of summer.

It was a snap to set this up, and a great way to give a gift that wasn't for a birthday or Christmas.


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