20 Fun Treasure Hunt Ideas & Clues for Adults at Work in 2022

Home » Resources » Treasure Hunt IdeasUpdated: July 28, 2022

You found our list of the best treasure hunt ideas & clues for adults at work.

Treasure hunt ideas are timed games where players search for hidden objects by following a trail of clues. Examples include photography treasure hunts, the math detective, bilingual ensemble and code hacking hunt. Hunts help employees gain critical thinking skills and reinforce competencies such as communication, proactiveness and leadership.

These activities are a type of team building game similar to scavenger hunts for adults and virtual scavenger hunts. You can use treasure hunt apps and scavenger hunt clues to make these games more exciting.

This list includes:

  • funny treasure hunt ideas for adults
  • treasure hunt ideas for adults at home
  • outdoor treasure hunt ideas for adults
  • virtual treasure hunt ideas for adults

So, let’s get started!

List of treasure hunt ideas

From Living Art Imitation, Funny Street Sign to Family Hunt, here is a list of treasure hunt ideas to try at work.

1. Inked Treasure Hunt

An Inked Treasure Hunt is one of the best funny treasure hunt ideas for adults. For this hunt, a team member will find another teammate with a tattoo. The player will then recreate that tattoo by drawing the design on another team member in marker or body paint. The team must then take a photo of the “fresh ink.” You can expect to get hilarious results from the recreations.

As preparation for this activity, you can tell the team to apply temporary tattoos. This tactic ensures that non-tattooed employees can join in the fun.

2. Photography Treasure Hunt

This hunt is a fantastic way to keep employees engaged and is one of the best outdoor treasure hunt ideas for adults. To complete the challenge, teams take photos of assigned items or challenges. You can award bonus points for style. Photography treasure hunts are interesting because you can tell the teams to take pictures of actions, scenarios or specific places. The resulting photos make great additions to an annual office slideshow or yearly scrapbook.

Here are some photography treasure hunt prompt ideas:

  •   A wild animal in an unexpected place
  •   The entire team fitting in a small space
  •   A team member riding a trolley
  • Recreation of a famous work of art

To make the game more interesting, add a time limit. Be sure to also introduce safety measures to prevent eager photographers from getting hurt.

Check out more photo treasure hunt ideas.

3. Clothing-themed Treasure Hunt

This game is a fun activity for the office. If you want the employees to dress up for the day, then communicate the dress code in advance. However, doing this activity unannounced also works.

For this activity, let different teams find as many colleagues wearing a specific color or clothing pattern as possible. You can also make the challenge more interesting by introducing a time limit of two to ten minutes.

The clothing-themed treasure hunt is a quick and fun way to foster new friendships and help employees expand their professional circle.

For inspiration, check out this guide to team building attire.

4. Name Hunt

The name hunt is a hilarious treasure activity that suits both small and large teams. The game is also a great way to introduce a group of new employees and accelerate team bonding.

For this activity, split the group into several small teams. Next, ask participants to search for employees with the same first, last, or middle names. Players can break off into new groups and snap selfies with other players who share their names. We recommend this idea for offices that have a large workforce. You can adapt the game for smaller gatherings by allowing players to match based on family member names or nicknames as well. The game also suits both in house office and virtual office settings.

Check out more get to know you games.

5. Bilingual Ensemble

If you are working in a multicultural environment, then this activity is a perfect treasure hunt idea. The goal of the game is for players to find participants who speak different languages. Each participant should teach other players a poem or song in their respective language. Be sure to record the team singing together.

This exercise is a fun way to encourage interactions between diverse teams and enhance teamwork.

6. Code Hacking Hunt

Tech developers will love this game! This idea is best for an all-around technical team and is one of the best treasure hunt ideas for adults at home. For this challenge, create a hunt based on eggs hidden in code. The employees can figure out the clues by creating code. You can set a timer and challenge employees to crack the code before the clock hits zero. The coder who completes the task fastest wins the game.

This activity is a great way to encourage healthy competition in the office and to keep work lively and challenging. The game can also inspire playfulness in more reserved, tech-focused employees.

For more tech-themed activities, check out this guide to virtual hackathons.

7. Color-themed Desk Hunt

This activity is one of the most interesting games that you can try with your team. To run the hunt, challenge your employees to find different colored items in the office.

For instance, instruct them to get three white paper snowflakes, five blue objects, two red objects, and four green objects to create a winter-themed desk scene. To make the game more challenging, request more obscure colors like teal, fuschia, and maroon.

8. Cooking Ingredients Hunt

To do a cooking scavenger hunt, provide teams with all cooking ingredients necessary to make a complete meal, apart from one vital item. Players must search for the missing ingredient before beginning to cook. The length of time spent searching for ingredients affects the amount of time players have to prepare the dishes. At the end of the activity, while enjoying the finished food, teams should reflect on the process and describe the hurdles experienced while making the meal.

9. Stranger Hunt

If you have a large team of new employees, then you will love this challenge. The stranger hunt is a clever way to introduce new members to the entire team. This game requires minimal ahead of time preparation and planning.

To prepare for the game, write down the names of all participants. To speed up prep, especially if you have a large team, you could also print the names. Once done, ask the group members to pick a name, say it out loud and guess who the person is. To make it more interesting, participants who fail can ask the game master two questions about the person.

10. Funny Street Sign Hunt

If you are looking for online team-building games for remote employees or in-house office games, then you will love the funny street sign challenge. This game makes one of the best virtual treasure hunt ideas for adults. To prepare for this activity, ask the team to identify unintentionally funny street signs. Players can either stroll the streets, or take pictures of the street on their commute and report their findings the next day.

Another option is to ask the team to Google unintentionally funny street signs nearby. The most hilarious submissions earn the most points.

11. Oldest Currency Hunt

The old currency treasure hunt is a blast from the past. The goal of the game is to find a currency note or coin that is older than the oldest member of the team. The object should be a physical note or coin as opposed to a picture. This treasure hunt is not only challenging but can also bring the team together, especially if they are of different age groups.

If players have trouble finding old-enough money, then you can widen the scope of the game to include other objects, like buildings or pictures.

12. Thrift Hunt

This challenge is a great idea if you want to incorporate outdoor fun. The challenge entails tasking individuals to find unique and non-specified thrift items within a set budget.

For instance, you can give each player $10 and ask them to find a unique thrift item at nearby stores. Employees can present the receipt for reimbursement.

Pro tip: Surprise participants by giving them the item. These objects can make great gifts for white elephant exchanges.

13. Family Hunt

No matter the number of employees you have, this hunt idea will be fun. The hunt involves team members volunteering interesting information about their family members.

You can give participants prompts that spark conversation, like:

  • Ancestor started a business
  • Relative in the history books
  • Big family
  • Small family
  • Blended family
  • Relative shares a name with a celebrity

Your team will get to know other employees, learn where they were born and other interesting facts. These conversations can spark interesting connections. For instance, perhaps one teammate will learn that she is wearing a necklace from a shop owned by her coworker’s granny!

14. Old-is-Gold Hunt

This hunt involves employees retrieving an old object from home. This item can be an old phone, a DVD player, an  album, a photo of a legendary figure, or a picture of an old TV. To make the activity more flexible, allow employees to either bring the object or snap a picture.

Employees are bound to be amused by the items that team members bring. For instance, younger teammates may be surprised to learn that the 80s equivalent to playlists was making mixtapes, and will get a kick out of listening to an old mix!

15. Hashtag Hunt

If you want a light-heared way to train your staff , then this game is a must-try. The activity involves tasking the team with finding creative or funny hashtags that can be used to describe a certain photo on social media. You can limit players to one social media platform or make any site fair game. To make this a true treasure hunt, require participants to find existing hashtags rather than writing new options. The team that finds the most or the funniest hashtags wins points. This exercise is a great way to introduce social media training to a large team.

16. Personality Hunt

There are all kinds of personalities at work. For the personality hunt, first come up with a list of potential personality traits.

For example:

  • Reflective
  • Outgoing
  • Morning person
  • Hyper-organized
  • Hates waiting in lines more than most
  • Likely to make cheesy dad jokes
  • Gets secondhand embarrassment for characters while watching movies
  • Regularly goes down Wikipedia rabbit hole
  • Asks tons of questions during conversations
  • Mumbles when feeling shy
  • Laughs loudly when feeling nervous
  • Talks with hands

Then, players should try to find as many different coworkers as possible who fit descriptions on the list. For extra fun, you should ask participants to volunteer traits to add to the list.

For prompt inspiration, check out this list of get to know you questions.

17. Paper Trail

The Paper Trail is a simple hunt idea.Start by giving the team a hint that will help them look for the initial piece of paper. Once they find the first piece of paper, they get a clue on the next location which has another.

Once a person gets the hint, they should alert the other team members so that they can search for the item.

An example of how to plan the paper trail hunt:

  • On the torn pieces of paper, write the letters: S.T.A.P.L.E.R
  • Start by giving the initial hint by placing the paper written with S in an easy-to-find place.
  • Place the rest of the letters around the office.
  • Once the team finds all the letters, they should be able to locate the item.

Pro tip: Use longer or unique words for a challenging paper trail.

18. The ABC Hunt

The ABC hunt challenge works both indoors and outdoors. For this activity, teams should find an item corresponding to each letter in the alphabet, from A-Z. For instance, a player might find an Apple, a Book and a Copywriter. To make this activity more challenging, you can ask teams to find foods in the office kitchen that correspond to letters of the alphabet.

This activity works for large and small teams, although it will go faster with bigger groups.

19. Recycle Treasure Hunt

You can plan a recycle hunt to care for the environment while also having fun with your team. This activity requires little to no preparation. Once you pick a location, give the respective teams appropriate bags and start the collection of recyclable items. You can also request participants to collect specific items and use the opportunity to teach the teams on items that they may not know are recyclable. To make the activity more game-like, you can assign point values for items and give more points to rarer recyclables.

For more recycling activities, check out virtual work day ideas.

20. The Math Detective

This challenge will keep the teams captivated and intellectually stimulated. To prepare this activity, list a few questions about your office or two and create a math problem. The respective teams should solve the equation.

For example:

The number of printers in the office

PLUS

The number of departments in the organization

TIMES

The number of gas stations in the town

PLUS

The number of employees in the marketing department

Be sure to choose solvable prompts. For instance, if it would be difficult for the teams to figure out the number of employees in a given department, then skip that question. To make the game last longer, choose a variety of questions.

Conclusion

Doing treasure hunts at work is a clever way to bring joy into the office and keep the workers happy and motivated. These exercises give employees a chance to practice problem-solving, creativity, and delegation. Moving around and searching for clues gets workers active and energized, and the hunt is a fun memory that teammates can use as a basis for reminiscence and relationships. Not to mention, the search and find will give participants a sense of accomplishment!

For more ideas, check out these lists of holiday scavenger hunts and lightning scavenger hunts.

FAQ: Treasure hunt ideas for work

Here are answers to common questions about treasure hunt ideas for work.

What are work treasure hunts?

Work treasure hunt ideas are timed games where players search for hidden things or objects by following a trail of clues within a set time. Most treasure hunt ideas are not restrictive and allow teams to input creativity into the challenges. Examples of treasure hunt ideas at work include the Math Detective, Code-Hacking Hunt and Team Portraits.

What virtual treasure hunt ideas can you do with your team?

Some of the virtual treasure hunt ideas that you can do with your team are the ABC Hunt, The Personality Hunt and Family Hunt.

What are the basic steps for a successful treasure hunt activity?

Here are some steps you can follow for a successful treasure hunt activity:

  • Hide objects or tell the team what they need to find
  • Give the team clues of what they will find
  • Define the search location
  • Determine the time the team has to find the objects
  • The first team to complete the task wins

These are just the basic steps. Feel free to customize the exercises as you wish to suit your team.

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Author: Angela Robinson

Team building content expert. Angela has a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and worked as a community manager with Yelp to plan events for businesses.

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