A really good way to add interesting elements into a home-made treasure hunt is to use gadgets and appliances so that the hunters see or interact with something. Often clues are easiest to prepare by writing them on paper, but by using technology the treasure hunt can be more engaging and have some variation in the format of the clues. Luckily there are a number of household electronics that can be used quite easily in a treasure hunt to achieve this. We've given some ideas on how to use TVs, mobile phones, weighing scales, speakers and smart speakers in treasure hunts.
Use a TV in a treasure hunt
Connect a TV to a laptop, or use something like a Google Chrome Cast or Amazon Firestick to cast/display something on your phone or tablet onto the TV. You could show a slideshow of images that form a clue, a video clip from a film or another visual clue you've prepared. Instead of leaving the TV turned on with the clue already showing, try writing clues that lead the hunters to find the TV remote and a note telling them which channel to go to.
Use a mobile phone in a treasure hunt
Old mobile phones are excellent to use in a treasure hunt because they can be hidden really easily. If the phone has an active phone number you could give the number to the hunters as a clue - they have to call the number and listen for the phone ringing so that they can find it. Prepare the next clue as a text message that you send to the phone in advance so that when the hunters find the phone they then open an 'unread' text message to continue the treasure hunt. Other things you can do with a mobile phone in a treasure hunt include:
- lock the phone with a PIN so that when they have found it they have to use another clue to unlock it
- use the phone to photograph the next clue so that the hunters find the photo in the image gallery
- save contacts in the phone book in a way that spell out a clue
Use weighing scales in a treasure hunt
Weighing scales can be used in a treasure hunt when the next clue needs to be a number, for example the combination code for a padlock. When using weighing scales in a treasure hunt kitchen scales tend to work the best. Gather together some items, for example marbles, pebbles or other identifiable objects, weigh them and set the combination lock's code to the total weight. Hide the objects and give the hunters a clue telling them to find and weigh the objects (make sure they know how many to find!).
If you do not have a combination lock then the weight could be used to decrypt a written clue; for example: "When A=weight, B=weight+1, C=weight+2 etc, look in the 24, 31, 14, 23". If the weight is 10 then this would read OVEN (O=24, V=31, E=14, N=23).
Use an alarm clock in a treasure hunt
An alarm clock is a really simple way to hide a clue - set an alarm for a specified time and hide it along with the next clue. Give the hunters a clue that says "Listen out for the clue at xxPM" . When the alarm goes off they will have to find the alarm and by doing so will find the next clue.
Use speakers in a treasure hunt
If you can play sounds through a speaker then there are a number of ways you could have an audible clue:
play a song or dialogue that is used in a film (hunters have to find the CD, DVD or original book)
use Morse code - this site will create Morse code audio for you https://www.meridianoutpost.com/resources/etools/calculators/calculator-morse-code.php
Type out a clue and have an automated narrator read it (such as Siri or other text-to-speech software)
Use Amazon Alexa/Google home assistant in a treasure hunt
Smart speakers can be configured with custom actions, for example you could create an action (called a Routine on Alexa) which reads out a clue when the hunters give a key word. In the example below, the hunters will need to solve a clue that tells them to say "Echo, the key word is banana". When they do this Alexa will read them the next clue "Look under the sink".
If you have any more ideas on how treasure hunts can include household appliances and gadgets please get in touch and let us know!