This toddler treasure hunt is a simplified version of the traditional children's activity. It requires minimal preparation and costs nothing!
The treasure hunt for toddlers can be done with 1 or more children, and can be done in- or outdoors.
If you have 3 or more treasure hunters looking indoors, it will make them excitable - so be prepared and put your breakables out of reach!
My toddler found that just hunting for the treasure was so exciting, and he needed no prize - but see below if you are planning on making this a toddler party game and want an idea about how to include prizes.
Collect together 3 - 5 (depending on the child's age) soft household objects (a bag and a small box are also useful). For each item you need another identical - or almost identical - object. For example:
Don’t make the mistake of giving the toddler hard objects such as plastic cups or cutlery. They may well get excited and run – if they fall over they are more likely to injure themselves if they are holding one of these.
Before you even tell the toddler about the treasure hunt, hide one of each item around the garden, or inside if an outdoor treasure hunt is not an option.
Don't make each item too hard to spot.
If you are feeling tired or forgetful, make a note of where each object is. Your little one will not be able to find it alone and will need some prompting.
Next, put all the remaining 'twin' items in a bag and show them to the junior treasure hunter. Explain things like these are all hidden and they must find them.
Your toddler takes 1 item at a time and, with that in hand, looks for its matching twin.
Older toddlers will enjoy choosing which treasure to hunt for first; for younger ones, you decide.
The balloon is a good first object as it’s easy to spot and so helps the child get the hang of the game. Make sure you attach it to something solid!
Go with your toddler while she looks, giving prompts such as ‘I think it might be down here!’
Check that your child does not get too frustrated by her search. If this happens, run over to where the treasure is and say 'Can you help me? I can't see it', all the while looking everywhere except at the item in question. The toddler will love to be the one to spot it!
When she finds each treasure, she returns to the starting point. Have a box ready for the found treasures to go inside. Now pick item 2 and repeat.
I don’t usually give any kind of treat at the end of this game as it is fun enough in itself to collect all the items.
This makes a great toddler party game, and the best thing is that it's non-competitive.
You need to know beforehand how many children will be taking part.
For each child, collect 4 or 5 household objects. It is best to make them distinctive colours - for example 5 pink feathers (you can find these in craft kits).
Put 4 of the feathers around the area of the treasure hunt, and keep 1 back. You then give this to one child, who collects all the others.
Each toddler will be looking for a different item in a different colour.
Other good items are things like coloured lolly sticks (also in craft kits) and plastic milk bottle tops.
If your toddler treasure hunt is a party game, you might want to have a prize for each child at the end. Chocolate money is good as it looks like real treasure!
When you hide the other items, hide a bag of chocolate coins - one for each child.
Don't tell the children about this prize at the start, or they will lose interest in the other items.
The best thing to do is - after they have found all the other items - announce that there is special treasure hiding somewhere.
You could show the group a chocolate coin or just keep it a mystery. Now lead them to the stash. Make sure there are extra helpers on hand to help with opening the foil on the chocolate coins.