Pirate Scavenger Hunt Quest

Ages: 7 - 13

Gender: Male and/or Female

This pirate scavenger hunt is perfect for a birthday party or other special event. The hunt goes great with other Printable Kids Birthday Games.  The game is designed to be played in an outdoor area such as a park or trail, and it can be played by a group of between six and 12 kids. Recommended for kids aged 7-13.

During the hunt, the kids must go off in search of Deadeye Dan’s legendary treasure.  To find it, they’ll need to solve pirate riddles, scavenge for hidden clues and play pirate games such as “cannonball fight.”

This scavenger hunt takes a bit of planning, but the rewards are well worth it! From dressing up to following the trails of gold to swashbuckling their way to the ultimate treasure, your kids will have the time of their lives being “pirates for a day!”

•    Bandanas, pirate hats, eye patches and black tooth wax (for blackening out your little pirates’ teeth)
•    Chocolate coins
•    Pirate/skull-and-crossbones stickers (optional—for decorating the “clues”)
•    Plastic skulls
•    Red ribbon or crepe paper
•    Large (approx. 3’ x 5’) sheet of cardboard with a ship drawn on it
•    Black balloons (to make “cannonballs”)
•    Compass (to help the pirates figure out where to dig)
•    Ziploc freezer bags (for putting clues into before burying them)
•    Rope or bandanas (for tying legs during txhe three-legged race)
•    “Pin the parrot on the pirate” game OR make your own game with a printed drawing of a pirate, several printed and cut-out parrots, some pins and a blindfold
•    Toy spades
•    Printouts of the clues listed below
•    Cardboard “X” to mark the spot!
•    Pirate-themed toys (Lego pirate sets or toy sabres, cutlasses and pistols, etc.) and candies for the “treasure!”
•    Box or sack to put the pirate treasure in

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  • Assemble all the accessories, clues, treasure and prizes needed for the hunt.  These items can be found at toy stores, art stores, dollar stores and party supply stores.
  • Next, visit the chosen scavenger hunt site ahead of time and work out the best places to hide the clues and the treasure.  If necessary, you can adjust the directions specified in the clues below in order to suit the site you have chosen.
  • Once you’ve made any adjustments needed, print out all the clues.
  • The day of the hunt, have a grownup arrive beforehand and select a “base camp” site where all the activities, such as the cannonball throw, the three-legged race and pin-the-parrot-on-the-parrot, will take place.

Next, have them hide the clues throughout the designated areas as outlined below.

CLUE #1—Keep this clue aside to read out to the assembled pirates at the beginning of the game.  Have the large piece of cardboard tied to a nearby tree trunk, so the kids can throw “cannonballs” at it. The cannonballs are black balloons filled with water.  For an extra gory effect, you can add a drop or two of red food coloring to the water in the balloons.  Have the kids stand a specific distance away from the ship (about 10 or 12 feet) and take turns trying to hit the ship.

CLUE #2—Tie this clue to a tree trunk with a red ribbon.

CLUE #3—Put this clue in a Ziploc bag along with some chocolate coins and bury it the specified distance away from Clue #2.  Lay a plastic skull on top of it.

CLUE #4—Give the kids this clue once they’ve successfully completed the three-legged race.  They must run a designated distance (approx. 30 feet recommended) without falling over before earning this clue.

CLUE #5—Put this clue in a Ziploc bag along with some chocolate coins and bury it the specified distance away from the three-legged race location.  Lay a plastic skull on top of it.

CLUE #6—Tape this clue to the underside of a picnic table, or tie it to the underside by threading a ribbon around one of the slats.  Alternately, you can just lay the clue on the ground underneath a table and weight it down with a small stone.

CLUE #7—Give the kids this clue once they’ve successfully completed the game of “pin-the-parrot-on-the-pirate.”

CLUE #8—Put this clue in a Ziploc bag along with some chocolate coins and hide it under a small pile of rocks.  The boys will need to find this pile of rocks without any directions to it, so make sure it’s not too hard to find.  Alternatively, you could make it a little harder to find, and place a plastic skull on top of the rocks.

THE TREASURE!—Load the prizes (toys, candy and the remaining gold coins) into a box or sack and bury it the specified distance away from Clue #8.  If you prefer, and if it’s an inconspicuous spot, you can pile up rocks and twigs around the box or sack instead of burying it.

If the kids are in the younger age range, you might need a grown-up to accompany them on the scavenger hunt to help them along and make sure they stay focused.

If they are struggling with a particular clue, help them out by telling them when they’re getting “warmer” and when they’re getting “colder.”

Depending on the layout of the park that you conduct the scavenger hunt in, you may want to alter some of the clues.  You can always change the directions and the number of paces to the next clue to make things more interesting for your pirate scavengers!


Scavenger Hunt Clues

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