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Outdoor Treasure Hunt for Kids

Fun for a Single Grandchild, Even Better for More

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Mailbox_Juan_Silva_Getty_1500.jpg

The next clue may be hiding in the mailbox!

Photo © Juan Silva | Getty

Introduce your grandchildren to another classic, the treasure hunt for kids. Here's how it works: The adult writes down clues, then distributes them so that one clue leads to another, culminating in some "treasure" at the end. The grandchildren read the clues and decipher them, with the grandparent giving extra clues if necessary.

The treasure hunt is especially fun with school-age kids who can read the clues themselves, though they may occasionally need help. With a lot of grandchildren on hand, the treasure hunt is likely to turn into a mad dash; with a single grandchild, it will be more leisurely. With multiple grandchildren, you'll want to make them take turns reading the clues, and be sure to provide enough "treasure" for each child at the end. The treasure can be some cash, candy or something totally unexpected, like a cache of water balloons for summertime fun.

Treasure hunt clues are more fun if they require a bit of solving. Puns and rhymes add to the fun. I've created a dozen or so clues to get you started, all involving common outdoor objects. You can copy and paste these to save time, or use them as a starting point to create your own list, customized for your own outdoor environment.

  1. Doormat: I'm a friend to parents who like things neat.
    They really like it when you wipe your feet.
  2. Fence: I give privacy from the folks next door.
    If you have bad neighbors, you need me more.
  3. Flowers: Everyone loves me. I'm pretty and smell sweet.
    Look down to find me! I'm near your feet.
  4. Garden gate: I swing out and in to let you through.
    I sometimes creak, and that's your last clue.
  5. Bicycle: On me you can speed like a bird in the sky.
    My two wheels will make you fly!
  6. Garden glider: I sit very still when I don't have a rider.
    Sit down and learn why I'm called a glider.
  7. Doorbell: I have a ring but you can't wear it.
    Sometimes so loud that you can't bear it.
  8. Tires on a car: I'm sort of like sneakers, but for a car.
    I help it run fast and far.
  9. Solar light: In day I store the light of the sun.
    At night I shine when the day is done.
  10. Tool shed: I'm like a small house, but no one lives in me.
    Tools and gadgets are all you will see.
  11. Landscaping rock: I'm a giant piece of petrified matter.
    If you dropped me, I'd make quite a clatter.
  12. Trash can: Some people think I'm nasty and yuck,
    But without me for your trash, you'd be out of luck!
  13. Mailbox: I might be delivered by male or female.
    Whichever it is, I'm still the mail.
  14. Garden hose: Use me to give thirsty plants a drink.
    Or use me to clean your car, fast as a wink.
  15. Faucet: Turn me to the left and you just might get wet.
    I'm great for giving a drink to your pet.
  16. Wind chime: I make music for you when you're out in the yard.
    I make the most music when the wind blows hard.
  17. Bird house: For fine feathered friends, I'm quite a treat.
    A spot to raise babies just can't be beat.
  18. Tree: Climbing me can be quite a lark.
    I'm not a dog, but I do have a bark.
  19. Grill: I make lots of smoke when I get hot.
    I make yummy food that you'll like a lot.
  20. Sidewalk: Hopscotch and skating fit me to a tee.
    Don't walk on the grass. Just walk on me!

Create your own clues for the unique features of your outdoor space. After your treasure hunt, you might want to play some classic outdoor games or old-fashioned ball games.

If the weather is not favorable, you can also do a treasure hunt indoors.

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