A camping treasure hunt is a fun way to keep your campers occupied and busy. It can take some time to set up and hide the actual “treasures”, but kids have a blast running through the woods and the thrill of discovering the hidden items!
Depending on the number and age of your treasure hunters, you can split the group into teams or just have one group doing it together with a joint reward at the end. Try to avoid individual treasure hunts, unless the kids are older and the area is easy to navigate. Besides, it’s always more fun for the kids to roam the woods together.
Here are some ideas to help get you started…
Pick out your canisters:
Coffee cans or shoebox-sized Rubbermaid containers work out nicely for this one. Grab 1 of two extra…just in case. Depending on the size of your “treasures” and what you have available at home, you may want to pick smaller or larger containers. Cardboard containers can get soggy and bug infested if left out overnight…so you might want to look for something metal or plastic that can endure the elements.
Choose the treasures:
This is the fun part. One idea would be to make the items the things for a craft. For example, you can hand out a shoe string for the first clue and have the follow-on clues include outdoors-related charms. Multi-colored gems, beads, shells, and wire-wrapped arrowheads can make this a fun craft for boys and girls. If it’s a summer campout with facilities that have running water…may be little packs of water balloons and water guns at each stop so that the camping game concludes with a water fight. Let you imagination & situation guide you here!
Write the clues:
This is where the adults can have a lot of fun. Make up some fun riddles, rhymes and clues to get your campers thinking. You can also use the clue to instruct them on what to take out of the canister. For example, “Very good, my young sleuths, you’re smarter than you look! Take 7 beads each, and look across the brook. The next clue awaits you on the high side of the bog. Where you’ll find your treasure in a hollowed-out log!” Another fun twist is to hide the final clue in their sleeping bags or a location right in camp. On some treasure hunts, I’ve had clues disappear or get rearranged which can turn the camping game into chaos. To avoid this, tape the clue onto the can with clear packing tape. This will keep it intact for all of the players.
A camping treasure hunt is a great camping game for the kids to have fun while the adults can get some laughs around the camp. A similar idea would be to have a camping scavenger hunt, where the campers collect a list of woodland items and come back for their prize. This is also a good time (see link for more details).