Trade Secrets in Writing Treasure Hunt & Scavenger Hunt Clues For a Fun Party

Trade Secrets in Writing Treasure Hunt & Scavenger Hunt Clues For a Fun Party




Do you know anyone who is given a riddle to solve and there is a prize for solving and nevertheless the person doesn’t try? I don’t. Anyways I’m writing this for folks who love to create clues. Writing clues can be quite complicate and demanding for inexperienced. Here I present the structure to write treasure hunt or scavenger hunt clues for any physical object like refrigerator, closet.

Objective

We are to organize one scavenger hunt game in our nearby park for kids aged 9 to 13. We have chosen ‘Grass’ as one of the objects to be collected in this clue based hunt. Now we need to write a clue on ‘Grass’.

Start from the End

The obvious start for writing a clue is to clarify the answer (We chosen ‘Grass’). Physical objects are easier than recondite ideas for making riddle hunts. Very specific answers like ‘grass of Mike’s backyard’ can be very challenging to solve already for Mike himself. Less specific answers like ‘backyard grass’ or ‘grass’ are generally not as difficult however hard clues can nevertheless be made for general answers.

Think, Think & Think! Some More!!

Related Words

First create list of words, ideas, thoughts which are related to and have some association with ‘Grass’. Important part is to just observe down in any case comes to your mind.

– Green, Lawn, Garden, Grassland, Lawnmower, plants, Crops, Weeds, Herb, Hay, Sod, Under your feet, Cricket pitch, Hockey artificial turf, Football field, lush, Collect dew, Grazing land, Pasture, Herd, Wimbledon, Golf putting, farm, food chain, chomp, grasshoppers

Opposite Words

Also create list of words, ideas, thoughts which are opposite or have reverse correlation with ‘Grass’.

– At the top, Hungry cattle, muddy football in rain, Soiled, On your head

Use Thesaurus & Internet Resources

Leverage Internet’s great resources to capture more information on ‘Grass’. Types, associated history, referenced in movies. One very useful aspect is to find idioms related to ‘Grass’.

– Grass is always greener on the other side, Don’t let the grass grow under one’s feet, Put out to grass, Snake in the grass, Grass root level

Put yourself in Object’s shoes

Imagine you are the object and describe the world from its point of view. What do you see, hear, feel and smell? What do you like & what you don’t.

– Everyone is taller than me, Don’t stomp, I need lots of water, Cut the shank and I’m smooth. I make your lawn lush green, My king in Africa is the tallest

Use Figure of Speech

Use figure of speech to write sentences describing the answer (‘Grass’), using in any case we’ve come up with so far.

– Mental Picturization: Collects dew to make your shoes wet

Personalization: I can move the ball, just don’t stomp on me, Cut the shank and I’m smooth Metaphor: Start of the food chain, Wimbledon court

– Substitute information for main information(s): lush green

– Sounds associated with information: chomp, chomp, chomp for grazing

– Simile: So is Grass to lawn as hairs to head (You guessed it! I’m indeed baldy) or colours to painting

Did all the hard work…Now write a draft ‘Hunt Clue’

Both too easy or too hard clues will make players loose interest very quickly. Categorize all work done till now. (1) Reject too straight forward phrases (2) Choose some cryptic phrases (3) Choose some solvable part of the clue.

I like the ideas related to ‘cutting the shank’, idiom ‘let the grass grow under one’s feet’, ‘ moving the ball’ and ‘king in Africa is the tallest’ to build the cryptic parts. Let’s see if we could use ‘Golf putting’, ‘greener on the other side’ & ‘Hungry cattle’ to guide the players for truly solving the clue.

Lush green and anything related to grazing seem a bit obvious. May be I’ll pick these while writing clues for younger kids but not here. Start of the food chain can be confused with other plants, so ignore it..

– Cut the shank, I make the ball move, putt you believe I’m green other side.

In Africa I have the tallest king, Lazy you I grow under your feet.

Aaah! It seems very disjointed and not spicy at all. Let’s give another try and use some Parallelism and Opposites, Cut & Grow, Short & Tall.

– Cut the shank I move the ball, No action I grow in your feet,

Greedy bully makes me short, Only tall is my African king.

Used ‘greedy bully’ for ‘hungry cow’ to make it a bit conceal. I’m nevertheless not quite satisfied. It doesn’t sound good when I read it aloud. Let’s give it the finishing touch.

Make it Elegant & Poetic

Now we need to use thesaurus a lot. Modify the phrases to have almost equal number of characters and finish each phrase with rhyming words. We could use formal writing technicalities like rhetorical effect, alliteration to enhance literary quality of clues. Visual changes like punctuation placement, capitalization and bolding to further emphasise the clues. I used ‘switch’ to represent ‘other side’.

– No action I grow in your feet, greener if you are switching.

Greedy bully makes me short, biggest is one African king.

It looks and sounds better now. I’m sure kids are going to have lot of fun playing scavenger hunt game.




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