We recently threw a Disneyside party for a group of boys and surprised them with an exciting treasure hunt. We had the perfect location nearby: a sandy beach.
As I chose each clue location ahead of time, I used my cell phone to snap close-up shots of them. Then, I sent the photos wirelessly right from where I stood directly to my HP printer at the house. By the time I made it back home, the photos were ready to use as clues in the treasure hunt.
Along with the photos, we wrote and printed out clues for the boys to decipher, and just for good measure we threw in a couple of surprises, too.
The boys had a blast figuring out where those photos came from and following the clues to the hidden treasure.
Want to stage your own treasure hunt? Click through this gallery to find out how we did it, what worked and what didn’t, and get some tips on creating your own treasure hunt at home.
Clues 1 of 14
Tip 1: More Years, More Clues
One of the challenges for this treasure hunt was the age range of the participants. I had three 6-year-olds, two seven-year-olds, an eight year-old, a nine year-old, and a twelve year-old. So we divided them up into three groups and gave them different types and different numbers of clues. Some clues, for the older boys, were complicated riddles, others were simply photos. But the older they were, the more clues they had to follow.
Zeroing in 2 of 14
Tip 2: More Photos for Younger Hunters
Here, the boys are zeroing in on a new clue location after examining a photo clue. Since the younger boys are just learning to read, complex written clues aren't much fun for them. But they had a great time figuring out where those pictures were taken. Also, the photos kept them in the hunt right along side the older boys.
Racing for the Next Clue 3 of 14
Tip 3: Have Them Work Together
Working together is half the fun. Watching those kids running from place to place and looking for clues was thrilling. I loved watching them work together to solve clues. Each group had different information, some had more clues to figure out, but they had to share and collaborate to get the whole picture and find the next clue.
Clue Feast 4 of 14
Tip 4. Leave multiple clues at each hiding spot.
At least one clue each for groups A, B, and C was hidden at each spot. We were worried they might take more than their designated clues, but the kids were in too big a hurry to find the treasure and were really good about just taking the clue meant for their own group.
Audience Appreciation 5 of 14
Tip 5. Craft clues with the readers in mind.
This clue directed the boys to a canoe down by the water. "To the people of Mexico, Guatemala, too,/ 'Pueblo viejo,' is the name on this clue./ It floats on the water, be careful to choose,/ the one that is yours, has red as it's hue." About half the kids in the group spoke both Spanish and English, so the only word they needed help with was "hue!"
Puzzle Challenge 6 of 14
Tip 6. Throw in a few puzzlers.
Here, the boys are reading the clue found at the canoe, a math puzzler. They had to tie a rope to two specific spots and mark out semi-circles. Then they had to dig in the sand at the spot where the two semi-circles crossed. "X" marks the spot!...
Counting Knots 7 of 14
...But before the boys could mark out their semi-circles, they had to know where to draw them. Here the boys are stretching out a rope and counting knots. The knots were tied at five foot intervals for easy measuring. The clue gave hints on how long to make the rope for marking their semi-circles.
Digging for Treasure 8 of 14
Tips 7. Don't be afraid to get a little dirty.
The boys loved actually digging for treasure!...
Found Paw Clue 9 of 14
Tip 8. Make sure they can find the clues!
...Make sure, though, that anything you bury is big enough to find and not too deep. For a moment, we weren't sure they were going to find this badger paw print made of plaster of paris.
A Surprise 10 of 14
Tip 9. Surprise them.
Surprises are fun! The whole treasure hunt was a surprise in itself. Also, we surprised them by having more clues to follow when they thought they were digging up the final treasure. Sometimes life is like that, right? Here they are reading a clue stuck to the back of the paw print they dug up, thinking it was the treasure.
Inside Fun 11 of 14
Tip 10. Have fun inside or out.
Our outside treasure hunt worked so well, that I put a second indoor version together for my two boys a couple of days later. They really enjoyed it. Here is the first photo clue for my younger son.
Finding Clues 12 of 14
Again, I used the HP printer to wirelessly print photos of objects I took pictures of around the house. I made the clues for my younger boy more recognizable, but my older boy got photos that were much more difficult to figure out, even abstract.
Listening Power 13 of 14
Even though my younger boy is just learning to read, I still wrote a few clues out for him. When he got to these, I would read them to him so he could practice his listening skills.
More, Mama, More 14 of 14
One thing I learned about the indoor treasure hunt is it was over too fast. This stands to reason since each clue was so much closer in proximity to the next. So next time, I'll do more clues for the inside hunt.
Happy Treasure Hunting!
Silvia cooks yummy Mexican food, plays with her kids, and takes pictures at MamaLatinaTips.com. Read Silvia’s Disney Adventures in Español at Disneylandiaaldia.com. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Instagram, and Facebook.