How to Write Clues for a Scavenger Hunt for Valentine's Day

By Shellie Braeuner
Creating a hunt for your child is a memory-making activity.
Creating a hunt for your child is a memory-making activity.

Valentine’s Day is a great day to plan a scavenger hunt for the little ones in your life. The hunt will add fun and excitement to any gift. The hunt itself will take some planning and preparation. There are many ways to create clues for a scavenger hunt. Riddles or rhymes are one way to lead hunters to the prize. Extreme close-up photographs can add a puzzling element to the hunt. There are many ways to use a scavenger hunt to liven up your Valentine’s Day.

Consider your climate and weather. The first choice you must make is whether the hunt should take place inside or outside. You can certainly have an outdoor scavenger hunt in the snow. Take into account high winds, snow or small animals, with an outdoor hunt. If clues blow away or if a small creature uses your clue for her nest, it can destroy the entire hunt.

Choose the length of the hunt. Generally, five to seven clues are enough to excite the hunter without leaving them frustrated. Use fewer clues for younger hunters and more clues for older hunters.

Plan the path of the hunt. Start with the location of the final prize. Make sure you hide the prize well so the hunter doesn’t accidentally discover the gift early. Then, work your way through other stations to hide clues. Don’t make the hunt in a straight line. Instead, send the hunter back and forth across the entire hunting area.

Write the clues. Start at the beginning and then write the clue for the second station. This can be a riddle. For example, if you are hiding a clue in the cereal cabinet, write something like the following: “The small door Capt. Crunch Hides behind.” A rhyming clue for the same area might be: “Roses are red, violets are blue, and this Captain likes to eat breakfast with you.” Continue until you have a clue for each station.

Copy the clues onto a special paper. For Valentine’s Day, consider writing the clues on big red hearts. Another option is to use leftover school Valentines or paper with a chocolate kiss taped to one side. What is important is that the hunter can recognize the clue quickly and easily, and not mistake the clue for a random piece of paper.

Find the clue that will lead you to the second station. Fold that clue and put it in your pocket. At the second station, find the clue for the third station and hide it at the second station. Hide the clue that leads the hunter to the fourth station at the third and so on until all of the clues are hidden.

Call the hunter and give him the first clue. Follow your hunter as he decodes each clue and finds the prize.


Make teams when planning a scavenger hunt for more than three hunters.

It is important to take the hunter’s age and ability into account when planning the scavenger hunt. For example, if you are planning a hunt for young or insecure readers, use photo cues instead of written riddles.


When planning the hunt route be sure to steer little hunters away from the street, cleansers and other dangers. Keep a close eye on the players at all times.

About the Author

Based in Nashville, Shellie Braeuner has been writing articles since 1986 on topics including child rearing, entertainment, politics and home improvement. Her work has appeared in "The Tennessean" and "Borderlines" as well as a book from Simon & Schuster. Braeuner holds a Master of Education in developmental counseling from Vanderbilt University.