Grandma has created a treasure hunt tradition for my children's birthdays. Whenever the big day nears, we arrive at Grandma and Grandpa's house to find a treasure hunt of birthday gifts awaiting us. Often, the entire family will scavenge the house together to discover the booty. While the birthday gifts are a delight - my boys are just as thrilled by the hunt.
Here's the book Grandma uses to organize the fun. Published by Klutz, the book is out of print now, but still available through Amazon.
This Klutz book provides a variety of clue "sets" that can be used to set-up a treasure hunt around the house. The clues come in a variety of patterns, sometimes rhyming, sometimes in code, sometimes following a theme. Luckily, each clue card can be saved and used again and again (perfect for a Grandma with a gaggle of grandchildren).
Our most recent set of clues included a series of codes. Each sentence led the birthday boy (and his adoring audience) to another room of the house -- where he collected his gifts.
dniF eht txen eulc no a rorrim. (That's: Find the next clue on a mirror.)
Another clue (& a small treasure) hidden in the bath tub.
Hooray for birthdays! Hooray for scavenger hunts!! Hooray for family traditions!!
I have a spatial kid. He’s a puzzle master. He’s a building dynamo. He’s (now) an animal balloon maker.
Here’s how it all went down: Lovely family members recently provided us with a bag of long balloons and a balloon pump. After these supplies sat on the table for several days, my nine year old asked me to make him a dog. (Although I can’t remember where or why I picked up this skill in college– I do, in fact, know how to make balloon animals. It’s the wonders of a liberal arts education. Hooray!) I quickly inflated, tied, twisted, turned, adjusted, turned and twisted the balloon animal before returning to other mommy duties (reading a book to my six year old). Fifteen minutes later I turned to find this:
My son had made almost a dozen animals: The dog. A giraffe: An anteater. A kangaroo. Wowza!
That’s when it struck me. Although I was seemingly too busy to notice earlier– my son had found a great opportunity to use his motor skills, creativity, and spatial reasoning.
Animal balloons are not just for the Saturday Market. They also make a great activity at home.
I’ve talked before about my belief in letting kids get bored. In a busy, fast paced, go-go-go world – it’s good for all of us to catch our breath and just give ourselves time and space to see what happens. Let your mind wander. Start a project before you know where it’s going. Start a project that you may never finish! These are not activities that are easily approved in the adult world , but for kids their activities that are just right for exploring their abilities.
One good bet for inspiring the preferred response to boredom is a handy stash of ‘stuff.’ Our ‘stuff’ always includes letter stickers, glue sticks, scissors, crayons, construction paper, magazines and (of course) full and total access to the recycling bin.
Awhile back, my oldest son created a treasure hunt for me. All of his own doing, I was surprised when his quiet work ended and I was invited to begin the search.
My son’s handmade notes led me one to another and along the way I was rewarded with the junk food we had purchased for a recent Birthday BBQ.
In the end, neither of us ate/drank the treasure, but we enjoyed the hunt. Here’s the note I left for him to extend the fun.
We found some serious bargain-fun at the local St. Vincent de Paul thrift store this month. For a whopping twenty-nine cents we picked up a 500 piece jigsaw puzzle. It’s been a slow go, but my six year-old and I enjoy a bit of quiet-time together as we pick through the box and try to connect the pieces to form the picture.
Easy organization tip: start your puzzle on a loose cutting board so that you can move the puzzle from room to room as you complete it. Our first puzzle session was on the floor, but then moved to the dining room table. A few days later we moved back to the floor.