Tips For Going On Camping Trips

Blaze a Trail to Buried Treasure: A Fun Activity for Kids on a Campout

by Sherry Mckinney

When you go camping with your kids, it's easy to get excited by their enthusiasm. Going out in nature gives most kids a thrill like few other things can, and they are likely ready to explore and discover what's out there as soon as you arrive at your destination. If you're going camping for a few days, though, you may find that kids need a little extra entertainment to stay engaged with nature. Help them blaze a trail for buried treasure. Be sure to bring along a captain compass to complete the game, and make sure that you can always easily return to the campground.

What You'll Need for the Activity:

  • Captain compass
  • Prize to be the buried treasure
  • Notepad
  • Pen
  • 2 orange markers
  • Plastic bag
  • Small shovel

Step 1: Choose an item to be the buried treasure. This should be something fun that kids would like and want, but it shouldn't be anything expensive. Make sure it is easily replaceable in case it gets damaged, lost or stolen. (You are going to leave it in nature for a while!) Something like a pack of stickers or a small toy would work well.

Step 2: Designate one child to blaze the trail and another to be the treasure hunter. It's best to do this twice, allowing the kids to switch roles. If you have several kids playing, you can divide them into teams or do the activity multiple times.

Step 3: Give a notepad and pen to the child who has been chosen as the trail blazer.

Step 4: Have the child place one of the orange markers at the start of the trail. If you are starting by your campsite, it can be there. The marker should be clear and distinguishable. Make sure it is secured in place, too; a marker that blows away could mess up the whole game.

Step 5: Guide the trail blazing child in designing their own compass trail. Use the captain compass for this activity. The child should use their notepad to record every part of the trail that they design. For example, they may write down that one goes 17 paces southwest, then 10 paces directly south. In doing so, they are making a "Buried Treasure Map" on a sheet of paper from the notebook.

Step 6: When the designated trail blazer has created a complicated trail to their satisfaction, they should mark a spot to bury their treasure.

Step 7: Place the prize in a plastic bag and bury it. The trail blazing child should dig a shallow hole to place the treasure in, then place the dirt back over it until it is buried. Instruct the child to then place an orange marker directly over the buried treasure. Make sure the child marks this spot on the Buried Treasure Map.

Step 8: Use the captain compass to show your child how to get back to the campsite. Now, the child who was designated as the treasure hunter will take the Buried Treasure Map.

Step 9: Accompany the treasure hunting child as they use the compass and map to walk the trail that was created by the designated trail blazer. Instruct the child on using the compass as needed, and give hints if the child goes off the trail.

Step 10: Help the child complete the trail and discover the buried treasure. When the child finds the orange marker that rests over the buried treasure, the treasure hunter should dig and uncover the prize in the plastic bag.

Step 11: The child who found the prize gets to keep it. Have another on hand to also give the trail blazer. Both are declared as winners.

Step 12: Repeat Steps 1 to 11 once you switch the roles of each child.

Finally, keep in mind that camping can be one of the first chances your kids have to really connect with nature. Nurturing this early fascination with the great outdoors with a fun buried treasure game can create wonderful memories for both you and your children. 

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