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Treasure Hunt

Preparation time: long
Cost of materials: high Age: 8 to 16
Group size: several groups of up to 12 people
Location: outside
Length: 3-4 hours
Season: anywhere
Action factor: high
Material Specifications:
  • Pre-prepared notes
  • Taped-up goggles, paper, brushes and paint
  • Clothesline, spoon
  • Raft, buoys (e.g., balloons tied to ribbon with a stone to weigh it down
  • Glass with peas, stick, stone, water, a bottle filled with water
  • Clothes basket, video camera
  • Ruler : for us a scale of measure is Underpants:5m Bras:2m
  • water bombs, and possibly a line to hang them from.
  • Trousers, sweater, skirt, coat, etc.
Educational Aims: Running game


The game is focussed on activity where participants move from one point to another other. The aim of all the running around is, aside from each group obtaining the best possible score, a prize that beckons to everyone i.e. treasure.

A clever activity based game that is embedded within a story. In different groups the children need to find buried treasure (candy box). The game story can lend itself to different environments/circumstances. For example, for treasure buried in a castle the story relates to a ghost, in Denmark it related to the Vikings and in Switzerland for example, belief in William Tell. Even if one does not wish to play the game in this manner, one can use the game points in other ways.

There are different ways in which the treasure hunt can be presented. The problem with having many different starting points, for example, is that several different paths need to be thought out, and the notes with tasks/clues can be hidden all over the place. At the same time, occupied posts are difficult to manage. A different possibility of enabling the children to begin the hunt at the same time is, by having some long creative activity before the actual treasure hunt e.g. building a castle. To keep the squabbling of 60 children over a few sweets to a minimum, you can let each group search individually, whereby one group hides the treasure for the following group; this adds to the overall amusement of the first group.

A few brief remarks in advance:

For those interested in gaining a better understanding, attached to each piece of paper that the groups find at a post is the game description. In addition to this, the groups are given a small puzzle, or a mysterious verse, with which they can then determine the location of the treasure. Hence, if you wish to hide the treasure in different places the final verse could be made different for each group.


Man, are you lucky! Your Team Leader is not only equipped with technical equipment such as laptops, printers and cameras, but also with a time machine. This takes you back 900 years into the 1100’s. You remain in Denmark and find yourselves as a group of hairy Vikings who cause mischief on the seas. You stand just before your next raid, which will lead you into uncharted waters. Dangers lurk before you as do enemies who oppose you. Although it is summer, storms in the open sea are not unlikely. Therefore gather up all your Viking courage and set upon your first test.

  • Station 1:

    Before we get started, you must first say goodbye to your ancestors. Who knows if you will not soon become like them? With the help of the attached sheet, study the graves of your fore fathers and grandfathers in more detail.

    (Tombstone inscription: In the cemetery, located behind the grave of family X, of which there should if possible be more than one grave [the cemetery should be very small], should be the next set of instructions.)

  • Station 2:

    Without a ship, even the proudest and bravest Vikings will be unable to do anything. Hence the very first task for you is to organise a ship. Seeing as you have to convey to a ship –maker how your boat should look, and given that it is so difficult to describe this in words, draw your ideas.

    Thus we already had architects at the time of the Vikings. Since you have quite a fear of the water, please wear the provided goggles. To ensure that your boat is built in the way that you imagined it, verbally direct your blind Architect to draw his strokes in the right places.

    (Blind = wearing taped up diving goggles, and under the instruction of a child, a Viking ship is painted whose appearance is later rated against that of the others)

  • Station 3:

    Your ship is built. So things can slowly get going. However, there is a strong wind, and you greatly fear losing one another. Consequently, you tie yourselves to one another using a clothesline (newest achievement of the Viking Age.) This particular technique guarantees you not to lose anyone. Hence take good note: the end of the line with the spoon is ‘introduced’ into the right sleeve, is passed under your clothes down the right leg, then in through the left trouser leg. The spoon attached to the clothes line should pass under your clothes and emerge out of your left sleeve. You then pass the spoon to the next person who undergoes the same procedure.

    Whoever now thinks that they can tear all their clothes off will be disappointed; the connection would not be sufficient and could be separated away by the wind from the others. So you must follow the rules and procedures correctly! Since the departure is imminent, you must hurry in this task.

    (The well known band Spoon Game: A spoon is attached to a clothes line, which is passed through a sleeve down to the bottom of the trousers, through to the other trouser leg and back up to the other sleeve; wire each child up one by one until they are all connected)

  • Station 4:

    At last, you can go to sea! Unfortunately, in front of your desired coastline are several large stones, around which you must steer carefully so as to prevent damage to your boat.

    Some of your group should aid in correctly manoeuvring the boat, while the rest use your muscle power to build speed. In plain English: One part drives the boat; the other part does push-ups for which time is deducted. Decide well who is best suited to do each task.

    (Boat Race: idea is to have a slalom course in the water, which has to be completed twice using a rubber dinghy, while the rest of the groups do push-ups, every 15 of which gives 3 seconds time discount.)

  • Station 5:

    Alone on the high seas. You have to be quite sure where you are going so that you do not suddenly sail around in circles. In order to put your estimation skills to the test, we have prepared some things; you have to estimate the quantity, length, weight and temperature. You are on the high seas so you don't have any aids!

    (Estimations: the things to be guessed are the length of a stick, the weight of a stone, the temperature of water, the number of peas in a glass and the contents of a bottle filled with water [1l bottles are more difficult to guess])

  • Station 6:

    There are wild times on the high seas. Evenings are even wilder and the beer and wine flows. But what's wrong? A fight suddenly breaks out over the only woman on board. The scene is so exciting that it should be recorded on video. Make a good effort; clothes are ready and waiting for you.

    (Video: the story has described. Everyone in the group should dress up: think up a role for each person and play the scene as funnily as possible. The happenings are recorded on video and can provide amusement later for the leaders and children.)

  • Station 7:

    You find a piece of paper with writing in an old logbook written by your lost leader; you cannot read the words. You carry on your search and find the corresponding code.

    It's your turn now: try to decode the message on the piece of paper as quickly as possible. The time is recorded.

    (Secret codes: the group receives a code and a text written in this code (simply make a 2 column Word document: 1 column with normal writing and a 2nd column e.g. in “Wingdings” font. As soon as the kinds have the code, the time needed until the code is cracked is recorded.)

  • Station 8:

    Finally! You have finally reached the island you were heading for. But what is going on? You are expected and robbed of everything down to your shirt. This is why you take off your clothes and any other pieces of clothing (apart from underpants) and make a row of clothes to measure the overall length.

    (A well known game which is particularly funny if the leaders take part as well: clothes chain).

  • Station 9:

    A Viking isn't beaten so easily. You decide to seek revenge and choose an unconventional way. You want to attack your opponents with weapons they are not expecting and attacked from behind. You find some horses (half of the group) and your most experienced riders (the other half) mount the horses. Now you can get going: your opponents are full of water so you can simply bite them. Hurry up - you have to get back to sea soon; you are already expected.

    (Burst water bombs with your mouth: 1 child is the horse and the other is the rider. Water bombs are hung up on a clothesline - the bombs must be burst. 1 hand can be used to hold the balloon. There is also the opportunity to make a "lance" from a stick and a needle. This game is a relay so that everyone has a go.)

  • Station 10:

    Your plan has really worked. You were able to render your opponents harmless and steal from them. You are now back on the high seas but a storm has whipped up and the boat is half under water. You must make sure that the sail is set right, the boat is driven and water is scooped out. You are really in action and keep running back and forth all the time. It is also ice cold and you have to wrap up warm. The first player pulls on the clothes provided, runs through the obstacle course, takes everything off again and passes it to the next person, who is only allowed to start when he is dressed correctly which means: trousers with both legs, jumper with arms and head etc. Hurry up! Your boat and your survival depends on it. The time is recorded from before the first one dresses and until after the last player has reached the finishing line and taken off all of the clothes.

    (Witch run: everyone puts the clothes on after each other and runs through a certain obstacle course. It is even funnier if everyone pulls the child and the clothes so that he/she dresses quicker but it is only fair if the rules are upheld. Suggestion: occupied posts)

  • Station 11:

    The bad weather has heavily restricted your cooking options. You will have to make do with a few utensils: aluminium foil, matches, egg and newspaper. Your stomachs are rumbling and the egg has to be kept on the aluminium foil for at least one minute before you are allowed to eat it. You are allowed to use everything else you find on your boat. Be inventive with the aluminium foil.

  • Station 12:

    You have finally reached safe shores and found your way home. You unload the treasures you have found and suddenly a heavy wind starts to blow which whirls the sand around on the beach and buries the treasure beneath. The hunt really starts just before the destination. Once you finally find it, you will have earned your treasure even more. However; be fair so that everyone gets their share. Even Vikings have to share alike.

[ © | 2000 Games and Ideas for Youth Work ] - 2000 Games and Ideas for Youth Work
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