One day a few weeks ago, I was laying on the couch with my daughter watching Backyardigans or something similar. Whatever it was, they were pretending to be pirates and going on a treasure hunt. Suddenly, I sat up off the couch in one of those “Aha!” moments, and my brain wouldn’t stop thinking until I got a piece of paper and wrote down all my ideas.
After much thought and bugging my husband with my ideas, I finally put together a treasure hunt at our church building for the youth. I decided I would share it on my blog in case anyone else wanted to try something similar, but I should warn you now that it takes time and energy to plan, so if you’re looking for something quick and easy to do, this ain’t it. 🙂
I wanted this activity to be fun, but I wanted it to have a spiritual message, too. As my brother mentioned in one of his previous posts, our youth need more than just fun activities. They need opportunities to learn more about the gospel and gain their own testimonies.
I started out with listing as many hiding places in the church building as I could. Then, I tried to find scriptures that would lead them to those rooms. Obviously, our buildings aren’t going to be exactly the same, but I bet they’re pretty darn close, so here’s the list of scriptures that I came up with for our building in case you want to use them.
Gym – D&C 89:20
Primary Room – Isaiah 54:13
Couch – Psalms 6:6
Branch President’s Office – D&C 64:40
Organ – Job 21:12
Sacrament Table – D&C 59:9
Library – D&C 109:7
Nursery – Matthew 21:16
First Vision Painting – Joseph Smith History: 1:17
Fruit Tree – Alma 32:40
*Note* – Each clue needs to have the team number AND the number of each clue on it. This is crucial for the hunt to work correctly.
Now, these scripture clues led them to the room, but in order to find the clues in a specific place within that room, I made pirate clues (If you need help sounding like a pirate, there are lots of pirate speak websites.). I thought it would be more fun if I put them on a treasure map. When put together, the map didn’t really lead them to the treasure. It was just some random map I found on the internet. It was just for funsies. After I added the clues to it using Picasa, it ended up looking like this.
I divided the map up into pieces with a sharpie marker, made copies, and cut them up. You can find the font I used (and other cool Pirate fonts) here.
If you’re not sure how to download fonts onto your computer, here’s how:
- Download whatever font you want from the internet by clicking “download.”
- Open the file. It’s always a .zip file. You’ll need to extract it before you can use it.
- Extract it by pressing the button at the top of the file window that says, “Extract All Files.” Make sure you save it in a file that you can easily locate.
- Locate the file that ends in .TTF. Double-click it to open the preview window.
- Click the “Install” button on the top left to install it.
I divided the youth into 4 teams with one adult leader. The adult leader was to keep them on track and help them out if they got stuck. In order to keep them from just following another team around, I changed each team’s path. Basically, they were all going in the same order room to room, but they all started in different places. The last clue led them all to the “Tree of Life” at the end. If what I said didn’t make any sense to you, here’s each team’s order written out. Also, all the pirate clues that I came up with are there in PDF form.
About a week ahead of time, I had my Beehives over to my house, and we made Pirate Hats and Eye Patches. They turned out pretty cute, and the youth ACTUALLY WORE THEM! *gasp* It took us about an hour and a half to make them all.
Once all the teams got to the end of the hunt, we gathered together and discussed the contents of the treasure chest. I tried to fill it with things that represented treasures they could take to heaven. I also bought a bunch of candy in gold and silver wrappers, so it would look like a real treasure chest when they opened it up. I used a boot box, and it worked perfectly. If had been more creative, I could’ve decorated the box, but I didn’t. They didn’t seem to care. 🙂
Here are the “treasures of heaven” that I included in the box:
- A degree from a university (intelligence)
- A photo of the temple (temple blessings and covenants)
- A photo of Jesus Christ (He is the way, the truth, and the life)
- A photo of a family (Eternal families)
- The general conference Ensign or scriptures (words of the prophets)
I also printed off scriptures or quotes to go with each object. I then printed off the theme and attached it to the inside of the lid.
The quotes I made can be found in the PDF files below.
Overall, I think the youth had a good time. I do have some tips for ya after doing this…
- Put all your clues together in the right order before you get to the church to set up. It doesn’t matter if you think it will be easy once you get there. You’ll feel rushed and crazy, and you’ll need my husband to be there to calm you down and sort it out for you. 🙂
- Make sure you have the whole building available to do your activity, especially if you share the building with other wards/branches. If someone calls at the last minute (ie: the day of) asking if they can use part of the building for an activity, say NO! (but in a nice way.) You may think it won’t be a problem, but it will be.
- Don’t assume that the youth understand the rules of a scavenger hunt. EXPLAIN THE RULES COMPLETELY! Otherwise, you’ll have teams grabbing clues for another team, and then everyone will get screwed up. Also, make sure they know that they have to go in the numerical order on the clues.
- Make sure that if you ask someone to hide a clue for you that they put it in the right place. That can cause problems.
- Go to the church super early to set-up, or you’ll be running around like a chicken with your head cut-off.
- Bring someone to help you. My husband was AMAZING! I could not have done it without him.
Oh, and for refreshments, I made a Piña Colada cake recipe that came from 101 Things To Do With A Cake Mix that was apparently really tasty. One of my young women was scraping the bottom trying to get more. You should most definitely buy that book. Everything I’ve made from there has been delicious.
Overall, I think the youth had a good time. I’m hoping that they learned a little something at the end, too.
The scriptures will lead you to the Tree of Life, and you will find hidden treasures that are worth far more than gold.
I hope this was helpful! If you have any questions, or if just want to tell me how your activity went, feel free to leave a comment!