A Treasure Hunt

Nothing is quite as exciting as a treasure hunt; especially because this time of year we know there is treasure to be found … ! Sometimes as adults we can loose touch with our inner child; planning and doing a treasure hunt can be a great way to remember those feelings we used to get.

Most of us adults are pretty adept at rising to the yearly challenge of hiding eggs; naturally making it more challenging and exciting as times goes on! For us it’s usually the house and garden but as the weather is looking (currently) ok for Sunday morning and we have a window of opportunity for our daily exercise in the morning we are going to get out and about. Without wanting to teach your grandmother to suck eggs, I’ve put together some ideas for out and about ‘treasure hunting’.

We love a map in our house, especially an authentically tea-stained map.

Above is a basic map of our village with routes that our children know well as part of their daily exercise; less than an hour to go around. The starting point is a red cross. They will have to identify it based on what they know.

At the first point they will have a clue wrapped up like a mini scroll which will be tucked out of general eye sight and off ground level where a dog might lift its leg! This one will have an image on it but the next scrolls will be either challenges or riddles.


  • Treasure hunts will need to be planned in advance; plan your route backwards from where the treasure will be found.
  • They can be based in the house, garden or wider area
  • Set between 5 & 10 points
  • Make a 3d map using natural materials if you are planning your treasure hunt in a restricted area where the children might come back and refer to it. On the home front use whatever is to hand to create it.
  • Taking photographs of the points is a great way to lay a trail as an alternative to a map. Challenge your children’s familiarity of route by taking abstract details.
  • Treasure hunting is great for finding natural signposts and landmarks: a lone tree or a clump of trees make great treasure hunt points. Each tree species will have pretty distinct features. Most trees are not yet in leaf so a real challenge would be to identify them by bud.https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/media/48347/twig-id-sheet.pdf I personally love how some have distinctive ‘eyes’ on their trunks. Trees can also be personified in different ways – looking like certain characters.
  • It would be fun to plan a route based on these tracking signs https://www.scoutresources.org.uk/SR/codes/codes_tracking.html or lay clues based on the classic bunny prints. Use out of date flour and a homemade template or chalks. Chalks may withstand being in place overnight.
  • Younger children will also enjoy the hunt/trail more if the next point is within eye sight or is a familiar place
  • For older children incorporate challenges & riddles as well as clues. https://treasurehuntdesign.com/host-your-own/just-for-fun/treasure-hunt-riddles will give you a hand starting your own riddles
  • Use a compass to set directions between points
  • Older children may also enjoy using an os map and compass if you have these to hand and find points using co-ordinates. Here’s a good scouting resource that explains how to set and read map references. https://members.scouts.org.uk/documents/OS/D05838a_0312%20A%20guide%20to%20the%20Navigator%20Badge%20-%20Scouts.pdf
  • If the children don’t know the area like the back of their hands make sure you give them specific instructions where to go: ‘walk 50 paces East where you will see a large tree; when you get to this tree turn and face the South; walk another 20 paces South.
  • Get your children to really think about the clues; try really hard not to tell them too much, but also
  • Remember to get on their level and remember the excitement!
  • THERE BE TREASURE: and there will be more than you set out to find! We found a beautifully intact rabbit skull by chance on one of our last visits to a woodland path. Amazing as it was we left it as someone else probably had done but not without feeling really lucky to have seen it.

Let us know how you get on x

Title photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Compass image Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

2 thoughts on “A Treasure Hunt

  1. Thanks for the highly detailed and imaginative post. Looking forward to creating audio maps by composing riddles and creating visual clues using the scout’s sign posting. Love the stick identification sheet, for woodland nature walks.


    1. carrieonintonature 12th Apr 2020 — 8:32 pm

      Thanks for this lovely feedback!


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