Pirate Birthday Party Treasure Hunt

by jessicaturner on September 5, 2013

Pirate treasure hunt for pirate party with clues and games

Obviously for a pirate birthday party, a treasure hunt was a must. I had a hard time finding a lot of detailed examples of successful treasure hunts for little kids, so it’s my hope that this might help some of you!

The treasure hunt was the element of the pirate party that felt the most overwhelming to me, but actually it was rather easy. The lesson I learned is this: 5-year-olds aren’t going to really get complex clues, so don’t make it harder than it has to be. I have included the clues in this post. Please feel free to use them for your own pirate party.

NOTE: Some of the clues I wrote on my own and some were adopted from this pirate party (which is a must-see! SO many great ideas.)

I found a treasure map online that I used as a template for our pirate treasure hunt. I printed the maps on parchment paper, rolled them up and tied them with rope. (The only picture I got of them was the above prep picture.)

For each spot for the treasure hunt, I painted a sign on cardboard, wrote a clue and had something for the kids to “find”.

pirate treasure hunt at pirate party

I printed the treasure hunt clues on parchment paper and had fun burning the edges for an added effect.

pirate treasure hunt at pirate party

We started the treasure hunt by having everyone sit down and listen to Captain Angie, my best friend and Elias’s godmother. Everyone received a pirate bucket (Halloween candy buckets that I bought on clearance) and a treasure map. Rather than do party favors at the end of the party, the kids found their favors on the treasure hunt and had the bucket to put everything in – perfect! The kids were so excited to receive their supplies for the hunt.

Ahoy matey it’s time for some treasure hunt fun
So off together you will search, hunt and run.
We have a little challenge for you
to prove you are pirate true.
To earn your first pirate ware
all must give me their very best stare
and say “arrrgghhh! We are pirates, beware!”

The kids were so adorable yelling “arrrgghhh! We are pirates, beware!”. I wish we had gotten it on video!

pirate party treasure hunt

They then followed Captain Angie to the first spot on the treasure map- Stinger’s Corner.

Stingers Corner for Pirate Party Treasure Hunt

In Stinger’s Corner I had two crates, which I got for free at the grocery store (they were used to ship corn) piled on top of each other. I then had tattoos scattered on the ground beneath them. Every child got one pack of tattoos.

Stingers Corner for Pirate Party Treasure Hunt

Open your ears and listen up
You don’t want to become someone’s sup.
Here’s the very first clue for you:
In stingers corner you’ll find tattoos!
Be sure to look carefully and only take one.
After the treasure hunt we’ll put them on for some fun!

pirate party treasure hunt

They then went to the next spot on the treasure map, the Boney Badlands.

Bony Badlands for Pirate Party Treasure Hunt

I painted a bunch of big bones and scattered them in the lawn. Beneath the bones were gold dubloons.

Bony Badlands for Pirate Party Treasure Hunt

(The bones were a HUGE pain to cut out. In the process, I wished I had just bought white poster board to make the bones. It would have been MUCH easier.)

The badlands aren’t just covered with bones
So don’t be scared and grab Pirate Jones.
Look all around and soon you’ll see gold
Be quick and grab two pieces to hold.

Salty Crocs Cove for Pirate Party Treasure Hunt

The next stop on the treasure map was Salty Croc’s Cove.

This one took me awhile to think of. At first, I thought about getting a blow-up pool croc to put in the yard, but they were pricey for a 2 minute pirate adventure.

pirate party treasure hunt

Then I stumbled on these yellow croc choppers at Walgreens. They were meant to be used to dig in the sand, but I had a better idea.

pirate party treasure hunt

I filled up our water table with little puzzle boxes that I bought on clearance in the Target One Spot. The kids then used the crocs to get the puzzles out of the “lake.” The kids loved it!

It’s Salty Croc’s Cove you must now get through
But the reward is a special gift for you.
The crocs teeth are super sharp, so beware
You must grab their tails with very great care.
Just use their mouths to get your treat from the lake
And at home, an awesome puzzle you’ll make!

For the last spot on the treasure hunt, we nailed a big red X to a tree. We had a gold wood chest that we used for cards at our wedding. I filled it up with little helicopter toys for the kids (also bought on clearance at Target). They were SO excited and spent much of the party playing with them all over the deck and yard.

Tis was stormy night on the sea
Me treasure is safe, but not me.
You found it friend, and you’ve reached the end
A clever young mate ye must be!

pirate party treasure hunt

Before going in for pizza and cake, we attempted a group treasure hunt photo. Fun was had by all.

I hope this helps you if you ever have to plan a pirate treasure hunt!

Note: To read about the pirate party in full, click here.

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Shelbie September 6, 2013 at 5:48 pm

SO cute! Thanks for sharing all of the details with us! I keep hoping that one of my boys will want a pirate party. :) I just might have to convince them after seeing your beautiful ideas. Thank you!!


Marlena September 8, 2013 at 8:38 pm

Thank you so much Jessica for the share. This is EXACTLY what I was looking for for my son’s 3rd birthday party. Your treasure hunt has to be my most favorite find so far for my event. Awesome!


jessicaturner September 9, 2013 at 5:58 am

Yay! I’m so thankful that it was helpful. :)


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Tynna February 13, 2014 at 7:18 pm

My sons 6th birthday party is pirate themed. I have searched high and low for a pirate treasure hunt that I can go by. (I’m not crafty in the rhyming department and have been very stressed out over it). My sons birthday is February 17th so we always have to have parties inside. I just want to say a huge THANK YOU to you for giving this to me!! Well, everyone lol, but seriously. This seems so easy and fun!!


jessicaturner February 14, 2014 at 9:43 am

I’m so glad it helped you. That is exactly why I posted it. :)


Melissa April 8, 2014 at 11:04 pm

Hello WONDERFUL idea doing this for my sons party this weekend wondering what you did for the crabby cave clue….


jessicaturner April 9, 2014 at 7:04 am

I didn’t have a crabby cave clue. The clues I used are listed in the post. All the best with your party!


Melissa April 9, 2014 at 9:58 pm

Thanks for the response was just double checking AWESOME idea Have that same water table and gators Can’t wait to see what my 3 year old and his friends think…. :)


Melissa April 9, 2014 at 10:06 pm

One last question how did you get the children to know where to go to look


jessicaturner April 10, 2014 at 7:29 am

The “guide” took them from spot to spot. It wasn’t like things were hidden. :) We just took them from place to place. Good luck!

Tammy February 10, 2015 at 1:22 pm

Yes, Thank you for the guide and the specific detail. My daugther loves jake and the neverland pirates and wants a treasure hunt party. Your ideas are so creative. Love them :)


Ty's mommy April 23, 2015 at 4:46 pm

Thanks for sharing! Can’t wait to do something similar at my son’s 4th pirate party!


Archana Patel September 13, 2015 at 12:14 am

Thank you for the wonderful ideas and for putting it in such layman’s terms…I have been really stressing about this treasure hunt that I am working on right now and coming across this post has been such a relief! I can now focus on getting the details together. Thank you for simplying it for us newbies! Please keep up your creativity and awesome job! :-)


jessicaturner September 14, 2015 at 4:25 pm

That’s why I wrote it. I know I was stressed and hoped it would be helpful to other people. :)


Camilla September 13, 2015 at 9:54 am

Thank you so much for sharing this. It’s saved me a huge amount of time! Especially loved the idea about whatever they collect is their gift to take home. Great idea.



jessicaturner September 14, 2015 at 4:25 pm

SO glad it was helpful!


Shonda September 16, 2015 at 1:12 pm

I was searching for unique pirate party ideas and found your cute treasure map…I love the idea of using parchment paper and even better, the burned edges!


Kristi McInerney March 3, 2016 at 1:07 pm

This was so great! Thank you for the ideas and the help! Our big party is in 3 weeks! Lot’s of planning left to do!


Alyssa March 15, 2016 at 2:52 pm

Great ideas! I am featuring this on my Birthday Parties Roundup (linking with the Croc’s Cove photo) if you don’t mind.


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