Secret Codes to Use for Scavenger Hunts

When the child turns 10 or more, it will be great to have some secret codes to use for scavenger hunts and treasure hunts.

If you arrange the treasure hunt to take place late in the evening, when it is dark, morse could be good to use, and below you will find a free secret code worksheet with the whole Morse alphabet.

You can use a code based on runes, as I did once when making a treasure hunt about aliens. I actually did it once more, for a scavenger hunt with witches and wizards. The rune-like alphabet seemed to fit both themes.

Rune Based Alphabet:

For this alphabet I have used a lot of the old Scandinavian runes, found on rune stones, but I have combined the actual runes with letters from our alphabet, totally as I found it suitable.

Below you will find a secret code worksheet where I have made a row with runes and a row with our alphabet. It is not totally correct, but unless you are making a factual treasure hunt about old age, this will do fine.

Click the picture to get to the worksheet you can print out.


Morse Code:

As only a few of us remember the morse code, I think it would be a good idea to print the morse code worksheet below, keep one for yourself, and give each team in the treasure hunt a worksheet.

You can use the morse code for a lot of things:

Halfway through the hunt the team gets no more clues of where to go next, but are told to send morse signals to you or in a specifik direction. The answer will lead the to the next post. (for this they will need a light of some kind, either a flashlight or a lamp they have made at one of the posts, and maybe a compass.)

Click the picture here, to go to the worksheet with morse code you should print:


Invisible Writing:

You can use invisible ink for some clues.

Squeeze the juice out of a lemon, an orange or a grapefruit, and use that as ink.
You can also use milk, juice from an onion or vinegar, but as far as I have tried, the juice from the lemon works best.

Now you can write the secret message on paper with a thin brush, an oldfashioned pen or even a sharpened match.

You can make the message visible again by heating up the paper. You can do that in the oven, but as the treasure hunt often taks place outdoor, you will have to use the heat from a candle.
Place the paper over the flame, approx. 2 inches (5 cm) above the flame, but take care not to burn the paper or fingers.

You can simpley write the invisible message on a piece of paper, with some kind of hint that there actuallly is a message there, or you can write with the invisible link between some actual message, like a strange poem, or a riddle, thereby helping the team to realize what to do with the paper.

The Freemason Code or Cipher:

If you want to print this worksheet with the Freemason cipher, click the picture to come to the larger version.

freemason code for treasure hunts


Now, when you write the message:

“You find the next post near the red pole” what you will write is



Secret Code Maker:

For kids 9 years and older.

code maker for scavenger hunt

You can make this easy code maker yourself, and use it for encrypting some of the messages in the treasure hunt.

1. Click the picture below and print the paper that pops up. Cut out the three rows of letters.
2. Glue the first row to a piece of cardboard, size A4 will be good.
3.Cut to slices in the card board like you see on the picture above, only big enough to let the strip with the alphabet slide through.
4. Glue to two strips together in a way that leaves an unbroken row of letters
5. Slide this strip through the slices.

code alphabet for treasure hunt

Now you need one of these code makers, or code breakers, and the kids who attend the treasure hunt or scavenger hunt need one. One for each team, if there are more than one team.

How to use this code maker:

Place the strip so that let’s say the H is below the A.

H-code for treasure hunt

The the message: “Go to the hill” will be “NV AV AOL OPSS”, and all the scavenger hunt team will have to know is that the message is written in H-code.
You can make it a little more difficult if you write all the letters as one long word.

To vary the treasure hunt you can write some messages in H-code, others in G-code, as long as the team will know.

Go to Homepage or the main page about scavenger hunt for kids