Coming up with good treasure hunt clues can be just as fun as solving them. A good riddle is challenging and clever without being impossibly difficult, aiming to present a new way at looking at a familiar object. Many riddles rhyme, but they don't have to--creativity is the most important quality.
A riddle for a tree could say, "I drink, but not from a glass; I eat with ten thousand fingers. What am I?" This works best if you have one very prominent tree in the yard; otherwise it could get confusing. Or, you could add something else to clarify it such as "I keep watch over all that lies in front of me."
"You use it between your head and your toes, the more it works the thinner it grows," says Creative Youth Ideas, referring to soap. You could tuck a clue behind a bar of soap in the bathtub, since this clue specifically leads kids to bathtub soap.
You could tuck a clue into the piano, laying it beneath the covering for the keys. The clue leading to the piano could read, "I have dozens of keys, but none of them open a door. What am I?"
A clue leading to a bed could say, "What has four legs and a head, but doesn't walk?" Tuck a clue behind a stuffed animal or place it just under the covers, on top of the pillow.
Creative Youth Ideas offers a riddle for a book: "Stiff is my spine and my body is pale, but I'm always ready to tell a tale." The only trick would be helping kids to zero in on the right book, instead of searching through bookshelves for the clue. Placing a large book like a dictionary on a coffee table in the living room could give kids a hint.
"What is round as a dishpan, deep as a tub, and still the oceans couldn't fill it up?" asks Thinks.com, referring to a sieve. You could place your next clue in this bottomless container, putting it in a spot where kids can find and reach it easily.
"What gets wet when drying?" asks a riddle on Thinks.com. The answer is a towel, which you could tuck a treasure hunt clue into, folding it carefully around the towel rack.
"I am on three legs when I rest, and one when I work," says a riddle on TolkienTrail.com. Place a clue inside a wheelbarrow if you're orchestrating an outdoor treasure hunt, weighing it down with a small stone.
TolkienTrail.com has another great treasure hunt riddle: "This thing runs but cannot walk, sometimes sings but never talks. Lacks arms, has hands; lacks a head but has a face." If you have a clock with a door that opens and shuts, like a grandfather clock, you could place the next clue inside. Or, place it beside the base.
Creative Youth Ideas offers a very clever riddle for a chess board: "Throughout history, there have been thousands of well-documented cases of horses jumping over towers and landing on clergy and small men, forcing their removal. What am I?" This could be a tricky one for many kids, but some will enjoy the challenge. Offer them a hint if they need one.
The riddles mentioned here are fairly challenging, but for younger children, you can find easier riddles at Scavenger-Hunt-Fun.com. Its "Around the Home Poem Clue Hunt" lists numerous rhymes that lead kids to various spots in the house.
Melanie J. Martin specializes in environmental issues and sustainable living. Her work has appeared in venues such as the Environmental News Network, "Ocean" magazine and "GREEN Retailer." Martin holds a Master of Arts in English.