Treasure Hunt Games ...
A Great Team Building Activity

Treasure hunt games are hard to beat when it comes to team bonding activities.

Here, we take a look at exactly what is involved in a corporate treasure hunt. How do you plan and run an event? What are the specific benefits?

Treasure hunts combine an element of fun with developing communication and collaboration skills that can easily be transferred to the workplace.

Treasure Hunt Team Building Events

treasure hunt games From corporate treasure hunt days to privately organised events, treasure hunt games are one of the most adaptable, affordable and enjoyable team bonding activities available.

Suitable for groups of 2 to 200 and way beyond, they can be created from scratch or you can pay for someone to organise and run the event, or to send materials and clues directly to you.

Keen to find out more?

Photo courtesy of Wildgoose Treasure Hunts

There’s so many great options for treasure hunt games, it would take a book to cover them all! We’ve tried to summarise the main things you probably want to know, plus we share some tips and video clips so you can get a real feel for what’s involved.

You have four main options for organising your treasure hunt:

  1. Do Everything Yourself - obviously the cheapest path. Treasure hunt games can be quite simple to plan and organise. If you have the time to research what you are after, there are free resources available all over the internet. However, you must be prepared to set aside quite a bit of time to arrange everything.

  2. Use A Clue Resource - for a small cost, a lot of the research time designing and preparing clues can be avoided.

  3. No Planning but still Do-It-Yourself - Another option is to buy a ready-made DIY treasure hunt package. You use pre-prepared materials and clues, but run the event yourself.

  4. Use An External Company - The final option is to get someone else to take care of running your social or corporate treasure hunt. For this, we suggest you look in our directory of team building companies – there’s a few like Dr Clue and Scaventures that specialise in treasure hunts. And you'll be amazed at the variety of treasure hunts they can offer - just ask them!

Treasure Hunt Ideas

Here are some treasure hunt ideas to get you started:

  • Easter egg treasure hunt – a classic that appeals to kids big and small! It’s a ready-made theme that’s fun, rewarding and great for boosting morale in the workplace or within a community-based team or organisation. After all; who doesn’t love chocolate?

  • Outdoor treasure hunt – ideal if you want to take a team out of their comfort zone and work on developing teamwork synergy.

  • GPS treasure hunt – also referred to as ‘geocaching’ this format is ideal if you want to customise treasure hunt games. Traditional maps are replaced by a hand-held global positioning system. These can be borrowed from an outdoor activity centre. The idea is to bury or hide ‘caches’ (boxes) containing treasures and clues at specific points and log their longitude and latitude coordinates on a geocache website for others to pick up.

    This video will give you a feel for how geocaching works:

  • SMS-based hunt - Plenty of companies offer an SMS-based hunt format that’s flexible and affordable. It’s a little like a GPS treasure hunt but with mobile phones. For the SMS hunts, you must remember to bring a fully charged mobile phone along. If there are 2 teams then you will need 2 phones and so on. All the clues come to you via text message and the idea is to solve them and crack a 6 or 8-digit master code in the fastest possible time.

    Watch this video to get a feel for how mobile treasure hunt games work:

  • Retro treasure hunt – another idea that I’ve noticed becoming more popular is to embrace the trend for all things retro. This involves doing a treasure hunt the old fashioned way, with Polaroid cameras and traditional clue books and maps.

How to Make a Treasure Hunt

Ok, so now you’ve got some ideas for treasure hunt games it’s time to sort out the planning part of the process.

In order to actually make a treasure hunt you will need to take the following into account:

  • Location – indoors or out? An outdoor treasure hunt is arguably better as you can include landmarks and monuments for a more well-rounded, challenging and interesting experience. However, you can customise a corporate treasure hunt by combining both locations and including a couple of clues that are based on specific people or places within the office.

  • Date and time. If you are planning a corporate treasure hunt, avoid Mondays and traditionally busy periods. A good treasure hunt will take at least a few hours.

  • Navigation and location clues. You will need to include clues that revolve around things to find and clues that will move people from one place to another. Mapping out the course in detail beforehand is a must.

  • Evidence clues. You need to make sure people actually complete the course. The easiest way to do this is to include requests for team photos at specific locations. Photos are ideal for team bonding activities as they can be used as mementos of the experience.

  • Include a debrief and evaluation session at the end. It’s one thing to make a treasure hunt but quite another to reinforce the lessons learned from it. Ask people how they worked together and the skills they employed to complete the task. Who did what and how?

corporate treasure hunt

Photo courtesy of Wildgoose Treasure Hunts

Why Do It?

So, what are the specific benefits of treasure hunt games? They are regarded as one of the best team bonding activities but what else can they achieve?

Here are just a few of the pros:

Team goal setting – there’s a clear and achievable objective to all treasure hunt games. Groups are given instructions and their job is to use their ingenuity, communication skills and common sense to carry them out. When the desired results are achieved the team will realise the importance of identifying and working towards achieving goals, both personally and professionally.

Workplace cooperation – it’s impossible for 1 person to crack clues and complete the vast majority of private and corporate treasure hunt activities. Collaboration, supporting other team members and listening to their advice and suggestions will achieve the desired outcome. Team bonding activities such as this reinforce the slightly hackneyed, but nevertheless true, management message – there is no ‘i’ in team.

Solve dysfunctional workplace problems – taking a team out of their usual environment and performing a bonding exercise can help you identify and work towards solving issues. Seeing a team work together – or not – in a different setting can illustrate what is going wrong at the office. There are no computer screens to hide behind!

Creative thinking problem solving activities – treasure hunt team building games contain clues and some of these can be on the cryptic side. Teams will also have to complete challenges within the games which often require them to think laterally or use their originality and resourcefulness.

Using an External Events Company

If you don’t have the time to make a treasure hunt, you can use an external events company instead.

treasure hunt ideas

Some external companies offer completely bespoke hunts which are written for any location and can be tailored to your exact requirements. This is especially useful if you want a unique corporate treasure hunt and don’t have time to write clues based around a specific location near the office.

Alternatively, many companies have developed treasure hunts that they run regularly for different clients. These tend to be outdoor treasure hunt activities set in well-known cities such as London, Barcelona, New York, Toronto, Sydney and Dublin (to name but a few) and revolve around famous landmarks.

In terms of cost for non-customised hunts, you’re looking at around £30/$55 per person.

The best part about using an external events company is that they’ve learnt through experience what makes a treasure hunt fun, successful and interesting. They will usually include group challenges along the way to spice things up a bit. These typically include taking photos of team members at certain locations or they could be doing something daft or embarrassing! The challenges add an extra element and turn treasure hunt games into team bonding activities through shared personal experience.

Can it be Customised?

Whether you go through an external events company or make a treasure hunt yourself, it’s easy to put your personal stamp on the experience. For example, a corporate treasure hunt can easily be customised by including a couple of clues based on people within the company or places within the office.

Treasure hunt games are by their very nature flexible and open to customisation. With just a little extra effort, it’s easy to really personalise the entire experience.

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