This is of course a little easier said then done.. but in the end it will be something memorable and special for you and the recipient.
Step 1: Prep the Gift
There are exceptions of course, such as flowers, and in cases where your recipient will know it's for them, but as a general
rule I like the wrap the gift.
Another good thing about wrapping, especially smaller gifts, is that if it slips from it's hiding place, say in the branch of a tree, and falls onto, say some grass, it won't get lost because the bright wrapping paper will catch the treasure seeker's eye.
Step 2: Hiding Spot?
1- A place where the gift will fit! If you aren't sure, check!
2- A place where it won't easily be found. (Ex.- Like in the bathroom or refrigerator and other places where the recipient will find it before they are meant to!)
3- A place where it will be safe. Don't hide a gift outside if rain is expected or even possible. If you're not sure when the gift will be opened don't hide the gift in the oven.. (need I say more?) If it's breakable don't put it up high where it may fall.
4-A GREAT place! Somewhere different, or unexpected.. or so entirely expected that it's unexpected.
IMPORTANT TIP- Unless you are hiding a gift for smaller kids, don't make it too conspicuous. Don't move stuff around to hide the gift, or it will be noticed, and if it's noticed before time to have the hunt it might ruin the hunt!
As practice have a look at the living room below and think of places where you could hide the gift inconspicuously. For instance would hiding your gift behind sofa pillows be a good idea? I think not. In the fire place? NO! Under the fireplace? YES! Behind books in the bookshelf? Yes! (If it fits, that is)
Step 3: Clues Clues Clues!
To scope out good hiding places, it helps to walk around the house, or yard, or wherever you'll be using, while doing this. You may discover a place you wouldn't have thought of otherwise.
Remember that the first clue won't be hidden (See step 5). And is what starts the hunt,so I would make sure that clue is a good one.
If you plan to have the clue hidden on a certain book on a bookshelf your going to have to refer to that book, especially if there are alot of books on the shelf. You can refer to the cover or author or even the story in the book (if it has a story).
Unless you want the hunt to last a long time, don't just say the clue is in the kitchen, when its on the milk bottle in the back of the fridge. You can use a key word such as cold or cow etc. Or even "I'm hidden somewhere cold"
Keep in mind the person you are designing the clues for while writing them. If you are writing for a child keep it simple, or be willing to help them along guessing the clues. If the person is really smart make the clues really hard. Maybe get out a dictionary or thesaurus when writing the clues to try and stump them with hard words. Generally keep the clues easy though. Especially if you have alot of clues. It will just end up really hard and tiring for the treasure seeker.
I like to make my clues rhyme, but of course it doesn't change anything if the clues rhyme or not. And sometimes I can't come up with a rhyme, so it just doesn't rhyme at all! (However if you're hiding something for your wife, a few rhyming clues wouldn't hurt!)
TIP: Don't make too many clues! 10 would be a good limit. Otherwise it will just stretch out and get boring.
TIP: Don't spread out the clues too much. Don't have a clue upstairs, then downstairs, and then upstairs again etc. It gets old and tiring quickly.
Once you have drafted your clues re-read them. If you're trying to rhyme make sure they rhyme. Make sure each clue leads to the next one. You may choose to drop some clues or that you need more. Maybe one doesn't make sense, or is too hard (or easy, which is unlikely). (As you can see from my draft I have stuff crossed out and rewritten!)
When you have finished looking over your clues, write or type them out and if you are putting more then one on a page cut them out. Number them, so you don't get confused when hiding them.
TIP: DON'T do what I did and misjudge your seeker. I did this hunt for my brother Christmas morning and I had over-judged and made the clues too hard. The hunt is meant to be fun, not brain taxing, and it really shouldn't take more then 10 minutes.
Step 4: Hide, But Don't Seek!
Keep your clues in order, so you'll know they are write, and I suggest writing down on a piece of paper where they are hidden, just in case you forget or the clue can't be found, or keep your own copy of the clues.
Start at the beginning with clue #2 (See step 5, on how to give clue #1). Make sure it is clue #2 before you put it up! Tape it up well, so it doesn't come off. Clear packaging tape is good, or masking tape. In fact you could just write the clue on masking tape if you want to.
Do the same with the other clues, making absolutely sure they are in order. If they're out of order it will ruin the whole hunt!!
TIP: If the clue is easy make the hiding place harder and vice-versa. That way it balances out nicely.
Step 5: How to Start the Hunt!
I personally chose to wrap the first clue in a big box so it would look like something it wasn't, and hopefully get opened before other gifts. Although I think that typing the first clue up, soaking it in a dish of coffee and maybe sealing it with wax would also be alot of fun!
Step 6: The HUNT Is On!
1- To have fun and enjoy yourself
2- Make sure things go smoothly and if they don't,learn so you can know what to do next time
3- To help the searcher with clues and if necessary give them extra clues or hints! (Don't give them exact hints or clues unless its taking too long. Just help them think through the clues and get them to catch your train of thought!)
What to do if your seeker is in the completely wrong place: So if you seeker is in the kitchen instead of in the backyard this is a place you should give a hint. Like maybe: How about looking outside?
The main trick here is knowing when to give a hint and when not to, when in doubt give a hint. Better to have it be a quick hunt then to have it drag out and everyone lose interest.
Step 7: You've Reached the End!
There are also some alternative things you could do with a treasure hunt
-Group treasure hunt, with multiple prizes at the end
-Hiding gifts along the way
- Pirate type treasure hunt ( Clues could be like go to the oak and walk 5 paces forward etc. Just tape clues to rocks etc.)
Thanks for reading. Enjoy your treasure hunt!!!