Let's go on a treasure hunt

What you needtreasure hunt

For treasure basket: household items, e.g. wooden/plastic spoons, scourer, bunch of old keys, plastic box, old TV remote or phone, teaspoon, scarf, soft sponge

For treasure hunts: favourite toys, familiar household items, themed/coloured items, e.g. leaves, stones, yellow/green/blue things

Where to find it

At home and out of doors

Activities

Up to 12 months

Treasure basket
Fill a basket with a range of safe objects of different shapes, sizes, colours and textures.
Put the basket just out of your baby’s reach, sit with them and encourage them to stretch for and explore the various items.
Take objects out of the basket, and encourage the baby to put them in and out of it for themselves.
Play together using treasure basket items, e.g. use a scarf for a gentle tug-of-war game, and to play peek-a-boo.
Change the items in the treasure basket from time to time.

12 months–2 years

Hide and seek
Show your child what you are going to hide; they look away while you hide them (not too well!). Help them find items by saying when they’re getting “warmer” (closer) or “colder” (further away).

What’s the same?
Encourage your child to find toys/other items that match in some way, e.g. ones that are all round, all yellow or all soft.

2–5 years

Hide and seek
Extend the way you play hide and seek by encouraging children to collect items to hide from each other and from you.

Seek the scent
Find as many different smells as possible, e.g. flowers, herbs, foods.

Collect the treasure
Choose a theme, e.g. leaves, and collect as many leaves of different colours and shapes as you can find.

Treasure hunt
Think up simple ideas to help children find each of a series of hidden clues that will lead them to the treasure. Start with picture clues, e.g. sketch a toy, which they find to get the next clue.

And as they grow older...

Children will become more sophisticated in what they hide and what they can find. You can start to use written clues, and encourage them to do this too. They can also be the treasure by hiding themselves.

Let's play with water
water

Water can provide endless hours of fun for young children – but remember to take care

Let's go to the park
park

Look for a park near you, or spend time in the garden if you have one