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Non-Rhyming Clue Treasure Hunt

Although perhaps the most traditional format for a treasure hunt involves simple rhyming clues leading to different locations, one location at a time, many of those looking to plan more exciting treasure hunt activities are experimenting with different ways to leave clues OUTSIDE of the 'sometimes overused' rhyming clue to rhyming clue treasure hunt format. Movies like National Treasure leave a lot of room for creativity to come up with all kinds of puzzles and activities to lead would-be treasure hunters to all kinds of fun locations in a variety of ways. Below are some fun ideas on how to make the standard clue to clue format a lot more interesting and fun!

Have them DO something in order to get their next clue. This could be any number of things like digging up an object in the dirt, wading through some water, purchasing it from a shop owner, etc.

Don't feel restricted to words. Consider leaving visual clues instead of written clues. Perhaps a photograph of a location…or a PART of a photograph of a location. Allow them the puzzling fun of figuring out exactly what it is a picture of that will lead them to their next destination in the treasure hunt.

Provide an audio clue. This could be leaving a phone number for them to call (with someone waiting on the other line for their call to provide the next clue.) For extra fun on this idea, make sure they are calling someone that they do not know or recognize. You can also leave a looping CD/MP3 player of a recording with their next clue, playing behind a locked door somewhere.

Have a message written out, but in pieces. They'll have to assemble the message in order to read it. If you'll be having several people/teams going on your treasure hunt, provide 'sets' of puzzles/clues in small baggies so that every team/person arriving at a location can pick up a full set. For an easy solution that provides a certain level of difficulty, put your clues through a standard office paper shredder set on 'strips.' It will definitely take some time to put it together…depending on the size and shape of your clue and which direction you insert it into the shredder.


Leave a single object as a clue. Make sure that object is clearly labeled as a clue in some way (in a certain, well designated box, etc.) If your treasure hunt is for just one person, consider wrapping the objects like small presents for added fun. Sample objects might include a small screwdriver for a clue to lead to the toolbox in the garage, an imprinted napkin from a specific restaurant, etc. We offer some fun objects to leave behind as part of clues designed SPECIFICALLY for a treasure hunt - click HERE to see them!

Combine all the different varieties of clues mentioned above. Remember that you want to keep their interest throughout the hunt. The longer the treasure hunt you have planned, the more difficult it's going to be to keep it interesting. Variety is a great way to keep that interest level up!