How to Leave Clues for a Scavenger Hunt at Public Places

Whether you're throwing an adolescent's birthday party, or spending an afternoon teaching your children about their town's history, scavenger hunts are an enjoyable way to reward a child or celebrate a milestone. If you're planning a city-wide scavenger hunt, it's important to thoughtfully hide the clues to ensure they're not disturbed, stolen or in another citizen's way. There are several ways to cleverly hide scavenger hunt clues in almost any public spot to ensure they won't be in anyone's way, but still relatively easy to find.

Scout the potential public locations you're using in the scavenger hunt beforehand. Look for places to hide the clues that are out-of-the-way, yet easy to uncover. For example, if your clue involves a public fountain, consider adhering the riddle's answer to a statue or other decorative element's underside.

Create a map indicating where the clues are hidden. This is especially important if you're hiding multiple clues. Use the map as a reference if the kids are stuck on a clue, or you cannot remember where you hid it yourself.

Write down all the clues on index cards. Avoid using derogatory or potentially offensive language, just in case the clue is found by a stranger or child. Place the clues inside clear plastic baggies to protect them against any precipitation.

Hide the clues a few minutes or hours before the party 1. Holding off as long as possible cuts down on the possibility of the clues being found by strangers. Once again, try to hide the clues in an inconspicuous area, but avoid making it overly difficult to locate them.

Station parents or friends at the public location. Instruct them to stay out of sight and monitor the clue. If they notice a stranger grabbing the clue, instruct them to politely explain that it's for a scavenger hunt and ask them to please leave it alone.


Consider posting friends and family members as public places and use them as the clue. For example, if the scavenger hunt leads your kids to a shopping mall, instruct the adult to stand in the corner of the food court and provide them with the next clue.

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