Addition Treasure Hunt Activity

3.7 based on 109 ratings
Updated on Sep 12, 2013

It’s a rare kid who doesn’t love a good treasure hunt, and a rare teacher who doesn’t want kids to be able to learn the fundamentals of money math. Here’s an activity that puts them all together for learning and fun.

What You Need:

  • Coin jar of loose change
  • Couple of curious kids

What You Do:

  1. Figure out a treasure hunt route around your home or yard with four or five destinations. Then, use the Secret Code Key (below) to spell out a clue card for each location. Let’s say, for example, you place a clue under your bed. Spell out “under the bed” in code, and send your child there to find the card. Then, under the bed, place another card listing the next destination, and so forth.
  2. As you can see from our example, the treasure hunt clues have two “levels.” First, the child matches a number to a letter. Then, the child will count up all the “cents” to make a total.
  3. At the end of the treasure hunt, have your child bring all five cards to a table, and finish all card totals. Now, to bring it all home, have him count out the totals in real money! Using pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters, can he make $1.06? $1.25?
  4. Then, with all five piles of coins together, what is the grand total?
  5. If this is allowance day, or if your child has just completed some special chore you’re paying for, you might even allow him to keep some or all of the total. Just beware: you’ll most likely be asked to repeat this treasure hunt many, many times.

Here's the Code Breaker with an example of a coded message:

____   ____  ____       ____  ____  ____        ____  ____         ____  ____!  

.25      .15    .21           .03     .01   .14           .04    .15        .09    .20  

 Secret Code Key:

A = .01  B = .02  C = .03 D = .04 E = .05  F = .06  G = .07  H = .08  I = .09  J = .10  K = .11  L = .12  M =.13
 N =.14  O = .15  P = .16  Q = .17  R = .18  S = .19  T = .20  U = .21  V = .22  W = .23  X = .24  Y = .25  Z = .26 


Julie Williams, M.A. Education, taught middle and high school History and English for seventeen years. Since then, she has volunteered in elementary classrooms while raising her two sons and earning a master's in school administration. She has also been a leader in her local PTA.

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