Activities, Education/Development

Outside Activity – An Educational Treasure Hunt

This is our favourite game to play in my family. I love setting it up, they love playing it and I love seeing the joy on their faces! It is really easy to do and only takes a few minutes to get it all ready. We played it yesterday with children between the ages of 3.5 to 7. You can play it with any child that can walk and talk, you just need to write and hide the clues in places which coincide with their age and ability.


• Prizes – As I had five children doing this with me yesterday, I gave them a little chocolate each. When I did this game at christmas with my children, the prize they found was a christmas present. Totally up to you what you want to give as a prize.
• Paper
• Pen

To do:

• Firstly, you need to hide your prize.
• Once your prize is hidden you need to write a clue for it. You are basically working backwards with the clues. For example – If I hide the prize on the bicycle, I would then write a clue that sais “I am blue and I have two wheels. I can go pretty fast”. This clue would then get hidden and I would then go onto writing the next clue for that hidden place.
• You can do as many clues as you like. For the younger children you may want to do less and you can make the clues easier.
• As my seven year old was playing, I made the clues a little harder. I made little riddles which they had to work out, making sure that all the children learnt something with each clue. If some didn’t understand, I would explain it to them.
• Before the games started, I gathered the children together and explained to them that they were working in a TEAM and not individually. The aim is to find the clues TOGETHER and work out the answers together. It is a really fantastic team building exercise.
• As we played it outside yesterday, I tried to incorporate as many nature questions as possible. I wanted them to learn about the plants and animals in our garden, so I based the clues around that.

I planted this clue in the poinsettia. The clue leading to this spot was “I turn a beautiful red colour in the winter”. Once the children had found the clue, I spoke to them about this plant. We looked at the leaves and spoke about size, texture and colour. We spoke about where these plants live and what they need to survive.

For this clue the words were “Be careful not to prick your finger”. The children then had to find something that was spiky. We spoke about why this plant has so many thorns on it and what the reason for this might be.

This is called an ‘umbrella tree’. The clue was “I am very big and I have a special name. My name is that of something which helps shelter you from the rain”. The children came up with lots of ideas when I asked them of things that help shelter you from the rain. When one of them finally said “an umbrella!”, I helped them with identifying the tree. We spoke in detail about the tree and why it has this name. We looked at the leaves, the branches and its size. When we got closer, the children noticed the tree was full of lots of little beetles that blended into the bark. This then brought us onto the conversation of camouflage and what that is. The children learnt so much just from looking at this one tree.

The finale of the treasure hunt is obviously the treasure! As the children had a lot of fun learning about plants on this hunt, I hid a handful of seed pencils for the “treasure”. They LOVED them!

A Treasure Hunt is a really wonderful game because:
1. The children use their thinking skills
2. It develops their senses
3. It is very educational
4. It is a wonderful team building exercise
5. It promotes emotional and social development
6. The children get physical activity as they are running around
7. The children learn to problem solve
8. It is fun and rewarding!

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