Discovery treasure hunt

Discover nature by heading out on a treasure hunt. How many items will you find?

Choose an appropriate outdoor area such as a nature reserve, woodland area, riverside, canal, or park.

If you’re going to meet there (rather than at your usual meeting place), make sure parents and carers know exactly where you’ll be, and what time to drop off and collect everyone.

You’ll probably need extra adult help for this activity.

Download the activity plan (PDF, 346.5KB)


  • Duration: 25 minutes
  • Location: Outdoors or at home
  • Cost: £
  • Suitable for: Pairs
  • You will need: Pens or pencils, scrap paper, camera or phone (optional)

How to run this activity

Before you begin

  1. Create a selection of treasure hunts by writing out items to find of squares or scraps of paper. We’ve included some suggestions below, but you could get everyone involved in setting the treasures to discover.

Discover the great outdoors

  1. Everyone should gather at the agreed place.
  2. An adult should explain any specific safety arrangements for the activity.

For example, does the place you’re using have any hazards people need to be aware of? Are there boundaries on how far people can go? Where will the grown ups be?

  1. Everyone should split into pairs or small groups.
  2. The person leading the activity should give each pair a treasure hunt card and ask them to find the item written on it.
  3. Pairs should record the item they’ve found by remembering its description, drawing it, writing down what it looks like, or taking a picture.
  4. Once a pair has recorded the item, they should tell someone about the item (or show them their drawing, writing, or photo) and explain why it matches the card.
  5. Pairs should repeat steps four to six until the group has found all items on the treasure hunt.

You could set a time limit to find as many items as possible or finish the activity once one pair has found all the items.

    Things to find on your treasure hunt

    You can choose any items you’d like, but try to keep them open to interpretation.

    You could include:

    • a cloud that looks like something
    • something you’ve never seen before
    • the most interesting and the most boring rock
    • the most stick like stick
    • your favourite leaf
    • something mysterious
    • something that shouldn’t be here
    • something really, really important
    • the best smelling thing
    • something that plays a tune
    • two things which are opposite
    • something shaped like something else


    This activity helps everyone focus on what is around them and connect with the outdoors. Everyone should tell the group about some of the items they’ve found:

    • Why did people choose a certain item for a treasure hunt card?
    • Were there other items they could have chosen?
    • Is anyone surprised by the items the other pairs chose for the same cards?

    Activity outcomes

    Value the outdoors - enjoy being outside, feel comfortable in nature, and feel connected to the natural environment.

    Safety guidance

    All activities must be safely managed. Do a risk assessment and include hazards such as roads, woodland, bodies of water (for example, rivers, ponds, lakes, and seas), plants, and animals. Take appropriate steps to reduce risk.

    You must have permission to use the location. Always check the weather forecast and inform parents and carers of any change in venue.

    You’ll probably need more adult helpers than usual. Your risk assessment should include how many adults you need. The young people to adult ratios are a minimum requirement; when you do your risk assessment, you might decide that you need more adults than the ratio specifies.

    Think about extra equipment that you may need to take with you, for example, a first aid kit, water, and waterproofs.

    Throughout the activity, watch out for changes in the weather and do regular headcounts.

    Level up

    Start by asking the group to find just one or two of the items, then gradually add more.

    Take it further

    People can make their own versions of the treasure hunt by designing their own cards and then swap them.

    Access guidance

    Plan a trip that will be accessible for everyone – you may need to consider how people will get to the meeting point and whether there are accessible paths, for example. Make sure you have enough adults to provide any additional support people in your group might need.

    Other activities

    Finding an emotional bond with, and love for, nature is one of five things that can help people build a better relationship with nature.

    Explore our free resources for more activity ideas.

    Free resources