Challenging Treasure Hunt — for older children

This treasure hunt is definitely for older grandchildren. I had some 12-14 year old kids that needed a challenge. We had just watched “National Treasure” some time that year, and I wanted challenging clues that took a lot of unraveling to figure them out. My daughter came up with this treasure hunt. It was exactly what they needed! These clues pertain to my yard, so they wouldn’t work for anyone else, but her ideas can be tweaked for any other place. They are great clue ideas. It took the kids 3 days to figure it out. The younger children enjoyed it to, but they mostly just followed the kids as they got an epiphany about what the clue meant. Because it was exciting for the big kids, the little ones joined in with enthusiasm.

The first day of gardening, they found an old envelope with another envelope inside that had a key and a clue. They figured the key fit a treasure of some kind.Secret Garden Envelop

This next graphic is the note that was found inside the inner envelope along with the key. .


The kids figured out that they had to circle all bold letters, write them down, and then unscramble the letters to spell a word. The words is hollyhocks. The arrow graphic is a factor in the clue as well. The next clue was found under the rock shaped like an arrow in the Hollyhock Garden.

The clue below was found in the Hollyhock Garden.


This is only a piece of the note directing them to find a  “deciphering key” telling them how to look for the next clue.

The above clue led them to the Garden Gargoyle who was hiding the following decipher key.


It had to be read with a magnifying glass.


Magnified, the clue looks like the above photo. The numbers refer to corresponding words in  Mary Englebreit cards that were framed on the wall in myMary Englebreit room–(I LOVE Mary Englebreit’s art and her clever  philosophies! I collected many of her products and designed a Grandkids’ bedroom around them and framed some of her cards. The ME in the clue tells the children where to go. She signs all of her cards ME.)

The next clue was done in musical notes.


The kids had to get to a piano and play the notes, figure out what this was and write down the words of that part of the song.

These were “In the leafy tree tops…” –”In the leafy tree”

“We’re off to see the Wizard” –”Off to see”

The wheels on the bus …”The Bus”

This led the kids to the tree next to the old school bus trail (where our kids caught the bus).

They finally figured out where to dig to find the treasure. They found a cardboard box, with a wooden box inside. The key they found on the first day opened the box and it was filled with coins. We used mostly silver coins and very few pennies so that a handful amounted to enough money to spend. Each child could reach in and grab a fistful of money. It seemed fair to let them have as much as they could grab. The younger children are satisfied with less money, and the value of money tends to increase in their minds as they grow. All were satisfied and even excited about getting so much money.

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