Thursday, January 3, 2013

Day 1186 - Treasure Hunt

Need a fun activity for your kids these school holidays?

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Then what about a good old fashioned treasure hunt! 



I've been doing treasure hunts with my kids for years.  It started as a birthday party activity Blues Clues style when my daughter was a pre-schooler.  I would give a clue which led the kids to a spot in the house or yard where they would find the next clue ("a clue, a clue") which would lead them to another clue and so on.  The "treasure" would end up being the little lolly bags stacked inside a box hidden in a wardrobe or under a bed that the kids would ultimately take home as their parting thank you gift. Since then I have done it for most birthday parties and the occasional holiday. One year I did it at Easter as a way for the kids and their cousins to find their Easter eggs (just an alternative to the Easter egg hunt). Other times it is just a school holiday activity where the prize at the other end is simply lunch.  The best ones have been at Nanny and Pop's farm where the kids are sent from the letterbox down by the road up to the Pop's shed, through the house, across the paddocks and back again.  One year they had to do this to find Darby's birthday present which was a quad bike hidden in Nanny's shed.  The look in his eyes was priceless as he found the treasure covered in birthday hats and streamers.

I don't actually do treasure maps.  It's all about hand written pieces of paper holding clues. As I said, the original inspiration came when I did a Blue's Clues themed party. When they were little the clues started off as drawings of things around the house that the kids had to identify.  No reading required, more a game of observation and memory.



As they get older I try to make the clues a little harder.  Cryptic little rhymes or questions to engage their brains to think outside the box.

Yesterday I had a fifteen year old, two thirteen year olds and an almost-nine year old trapped in their grandparent's house on a rainy coastal day.  They were dangerously close to spending twelve hours on the X Box, so I took matters into my own hands and forced them into a treasure hunt.  Actually, there was no forcing required.  They may be growing up way too fast, but they still love their treasure hunts!

Examples of yesterday's clues include:

The answer of course is oven. That's where the next clue could be found.

The next clue of course was found in the mop

The next clue was found inside the Mr Bean box set


Well, you get the idea.  It's clearly not rocket science.  I like to think the clues are harder than they actually are but it seems the older kids are not easily stumped.  Most of their challenge was not in the clues themselves, but in actually finding the items and the next clue.  There was a lot of thundering through the house and loads of "where is it?".  There was also a lot of team work and squeals and laughter.

This time I didn't have any treasure to give them.  The final clue was:
At which point I jumped out at them from the wardrobe and scared them. More screaming and laughing (and a possible wetting of the pants ... which may or may not have been me).

That treasure hunt took place at 11.00am.  By 6.00pm last night they were still treasure hunting having devised one for me to take part in, and then creating mini treasure hunts for each other ALL DAY.  Yeah, I'd say it was a hit.

No need for treasure hunts today though! We have a day of brilliant blue skies and hot hot weather again today which means HELLO BEACH!

Happy Thursday!

Happy treasure hunting ...


13 comments :

  1. Our kids love a good treasure hunt, heaps of fun :)

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  2. what a brilliant idea! I am really not very creative but will give the pictures one a go next week with the 4 year old.

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  3. How wonderful! I can't wait till my girls are old enough to understand this sort of game! xx

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  4. I love the clues you have made up. Treasure hunts sounds like a great activity to keep my kids busy when they are a bit bigger.

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  5. What an awesome idea!!! Love it! Well be trying this when my little ones are older! :)

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  6. Love this idea! Although my boys are 1 and 2 so probably a bit young. They'd get distracted as soon as they saw the trampoline or scooter :). Hope you have a wonderful holidays with your family.

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  7. That's a great idea. I'm always after new inspiration to keep the boredom at bay!

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  8. I used to love treasure hunts when I was younger. Now I can't wait to do them with my twins when they are old enough.

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  9. What a brilliant idea and how wonderful that they still like it in their teenage years. Awesome mother that you are! thanks for sharing

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  10. What a brilliant idea and how wonderful that they still like it in their teenage years. Awesome mother that you are! thanks for sharing

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  11. Great idea, Leanne! I'm sure it was a refreshing break from the XBox for everyone! :)

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  12. That's brilliant. What a creative, energetic mum! You deserve an hour off and an extra vino for that one.

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  13. That sounds like such fun, Leanne!! My friends and I used to make mystery maps as kids. Good fun xx

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