How to Make Good Clues for a Scavenger Hunt

Written by becky lower
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How to Make Good Clues for a Scavenger Hunt
Add fun to your child's next party by creating a scavenger hunt. (small children's air-balloons image by Victoria Schaad from

One of the best party games, and one that can be tailored to any age group, is a scavenger hunt. The game awakens the detective in all of us as we try to unravel the clues and find the hidden objects that ultimately lead to the big prize. But coming up with clever clues can keep the party-thrower up at night. What is needed for those clues to be priceless is a little bit of forethought, and perhaps the ability to come up with words that rhyme.

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  1. 1

    Decide on the type of hunt you are planning. If your party has a theme, such as a pirate party, or a make-up party, base your objects to be found on the theme you have established, or plan the objects to be found based on a location, a colour, or an A to Z list.

  2. 2

    Choose the type of clues you want to use. There are four main types: hunt long clues, where the object is found along the way but isn't a destination, such as a building, or a street; navigation clues, which move the person from place to place; location clues, where a cryptic clue offers a hint at the things to be found there; and a prove-you-were-there clue, where the participants must take a picture to prove they were there, or to bring back something from the site.

  3. 3

    Use riddles or crossword puzzles to create your clues. There is crossword puzzle software available at no charge online, and riddle creation software available for purchase, but the best clues are those you make up yourself. Write out the main words used to describe the article, object or location. Think about words that you can swap out for some of these descriptive words. Try to find words that rhyme or go together, or have different meanings. An example: river beds and sleeping.

  4. 4

    Start with a long description of the object or place, and begin removing words or obscuring facts. For example, a tree could be described as a place where birds make their nests, or a couch is a place that has arms but isn't a person.

  5. 5

    Create a cryptogram, where numbers equal letters. Assign the letter A to the number 1, B is number 2, etc. The hunters will need to solve the cryptogram before they can use the clue.

  6. 6

    Use pictures as clues, but take closeups of the place or object, so it is not easily identifiable.

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