Teach a Toddler to Follow Instructions: Treasure Hunt!

This toddler treasure hunt teaches kids how to follow instructions. It’s quick to set up, doesn’t have too many steps, and gets them moving and learning!

photo of treasure map with text which reads Toddler Treasure Hunt

Toddler Treasure Hunt: Learning to Follow Instructions

Learning how to follow instructions is hard. Heck, how many adults do you know who still struggle with this concept?!

Early educators know that teaching kids to follow instructions is best done with fun activities like this toddler treasure hunt. We set it up in just minutes (you can make the map while the little ones nap). So let’s get started.

RELATED READING: Coconut Tree Craft for Kids

Coconut Tree Craft for Kids

Even if have very little ones and you’re working on fine motor skills, this coconut tree craft is a perfect activity for the morning. We did it with a 2-year-old who needed some help, but if you have older kids they’ll be able to do it on their own.

Click here to get the instructions for this easy coconut tree craft for kids.

Palm Tree Craft for Kids

Other Supplies You’ll Need for a Toddler Treasure Hunt

While the kids are working on their trees or during their nap, set up the hunt using toys currently in rotation. I used her alphabet letter crafts, puzzle pieces, toys, fabric, a blanket, and a stuffed animal to come up with the areas that helped to define each ‘step.’

  • map – I drew our living room layout on crinkled paper 
  • numbers from a puzzle, foam learning prompt, or anything else you have on hand
  • a few letter-based items, especially an X (x marks the spot)
  • treasure (I used jewels and a ring box)

Chicka Chicka ABC Learning Prompt

It’s Time for the Toddler Treasure Hunt!

After snack, we started at the door to her room and I laid out the ground rules:

  1. We are going on a treasure hunt which is like “We’re going on a bear hunt” (another of our favorite books). 
  2. You need to follow the numbers in order. 
  3. Have fun! 

Treasure Hunt Stop 1: Hippo Hollow

I set up Hippo Hollow with a number 1 set in front of it. We played with the hippo puppets I whipped up in 5-minutes in order to have a stress-free grocery store visit. She just loves puppets. 

Hippo Puppet for Kids Scavenger hunt ideas

Stop 2 in Our Treasure Hunt: Alligator Alley

Earlier in the month, we made the adorable letter A alligator craft loved by so many. I used that for a fun (and quick) discussion on alligators but was interrupted when she saw her map again. “Where’s number three, mommy?” 

Alligator treasure hunt for kids

Following Directions Stop 3: Library Book Letter Lagoon

The silliness of the name aside, the little one LOVED playing with the letters but was too excited to sit down and actually read. I spelled out “loot” for the treasure hunt and when she unknowingly swapped L for P to spell poot, we had a good laugh. 

Library Lagoon Scavenger hunt stop for kids

Stop 4: Gorilla Gauntlet or Gorilla Gulley

For this one, I grabbed a gorilla stuffed animal. I propped it up, put the number 4 in front of it. We spoke a minute about gorillas but she was soon off to the last stop. 


gorilla gauntlet treasure hunt ideas for kidsToddler Treasure Hunt Stop 5: X Marks the Spot! 

The treasure was set up under the coconut tree craft we’d made. In the ring box, I added some craft jewels she loves to glue on random things. 

Note: it is cuter than puppies bopping kittens on the nose when you hear a kid say, “I found da tweasure! Hooray for me!” 

x marks the spot treasure hunt ideas for toddlers

RELATED READING: Chicka Chicka ABC Learning Prompt

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Scavenger hunt Photo Collage with text which reads Toddler Treasure Hunt

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