General tips for finding hidden objects (Cozy Grove)
Well you could simply search every square inch of the island (including behind every bush and tree) every time. But that's probably not the most efficient approach, especially not as the island grows.
In the upper-right corner of the screen is your Quest Log. Tap the Quest Log entry for the quest you're working on and you'll see a small hint of where to look. E.g., "It was near a tarp, under a leaf pile." Not every square inch of the island has tarps, so this hint greatly reduces the places you need to search!
If you remember where the tarps are, you know the the places you should look. If not, walk around looking for them!
Where the tarps were yesterday may not be where they are today.
If you've checked all the tarps you know of, maybe there are some you're not aware of?
There is more than one leaf pile graphic. Make sure you check out everything in the area that might be a leaf pile.
"Near" might not be as close as you think. But it's not 3 screens away, either.
Uncolored areas of the island can make it harder to see the hidden objects. Look carefully, or place a lamp nearby the search area to light up the area so you can see better.
If the quest requires multiple items, the Quest Log's hint will only point out one at a time.
If you see another such item along the way, pick it up! You don't have to find them in order.
When you pick up the item, the hint should change to refer to another such item.
What if the hint doesn't change? Maybe the item you picked up wasn't the one the hint was intended to direct you to. Or maybe it was, but the same hint applies to another item, too!
Beginning very early in the game, Ranger Bear will for a small fee give you a much better hint than the Quest Log does. Pay the fee, then follow the green teardrop-shaped arrow all the way to the hidden object!
Paying Ranger Bear for a hint is probably more effective than asking another player for a hint for several reasons:
Not everyone's island is laid out exactly the same
But, some features are kind of the same. E.g., your friend might be able to tell you which bears are likely to have tarps nearby.
Everyone's island layout changes somewhat each day
The objects won't necessarily be hidden in the same place. It might be on the beach in your friend's game but far from the beach in your game.
If you don't find a hidden item today, it should still be hidden tomorrow (assuming the quest hasn't expired) but it won't necessarily be hidden in the same place.
If you move hidden objects from their original location, the hints may not work so well anymore. Best hold onto the hidden objects once you find them!
Note that not all quest requirements will have hints. For example:
Items you're supposed to forage for won't have hints. E.g., if the quest requires Potatoes, neither the Quest Log nor Ranger Bear will help you to find them. Grab your shovel and start digging until you find some potatoes!
If the item isn't hidden (e.g., you are supposed to craft a Cocoa Tart and deliver it), you won't get a hint. Not even one telling you which spirit can help you craft Cocoa Tarts. But hopefully you've gotten to know your neighbors well enough to know who to talk to.