Saturday, November 1, 2008

Kids Treasure Hunt Clues

We are in the process of planning a kids treasure hunt. The most challenging part of putting together the kids treasure hunt is coming up with good clues. The kids treasure hunt clues have to be clever enough so that the kids have to think about it, but at the same time you don’t want the clues to be so difficult that the kids are just wandering around frustrated all afternoon. This is our kids treasure hunt dilemma.

Planning the kids treasure hunt

When we first decided we were going to put together the treasure hunt for the kids, I thought it was crazy. It was really the wife’s idea more than mine. I remember treasure hunts when I was a kid and the ones that are the most memorable tend to be memorable for two different reasons. Either the treasure hunt did not cover a large enough area, so of course it was over very quickly, or it was too spaced out and we got tired and ran off in different directions.

When the space you are putting the treasure hunt in is too small, the kids end up finding everything too easily. They tend to not even have to look for clues. They just fumble around on their own and next thing you know they have found clues out of order or worse, they found treasure and hence your treasure hunt is prematurely finished. When any kid finds the treasure early, that is the kiss of death to your hunt.

When the space you are using is too large, you have to be able to supervise the kids and that means more helpers who have to stay motivated so the kids don’t get wiped out too early and decide to give up on your treasure hunt. I can remember one time heading off to play with cows because it looked like more fun. Don’t ask.

Kids treasure hunt clues : teams or individuals

In designing the treasure hunt clues, we also have to consider if the kids are going to work in teams or if they are going to work individually. This is really tricky because we kind of have to know ahead of time how many kids are going to be there. If there is a small group, they will obviously be working on their own or possibly in small groups of two or three. It a ton of kids are coming, sure they work in teams but then there is the challenge of figuring who is going to be on which team.

I told you I didn’t want to do this. This becomes difficult because not only do we have to know which kids are coming, now we have to determine which ones aren’t that smart. See, if the brilliant kids are all grouped together, they get way ahead too quickly and the treasure hunt is over before it’s started. If the not so bright kids are all together, they end up forgetting about the treasure hunt and they go play in the street with squirrels. Yes, I said that. Let’s face it, as much as we all love our kids, we all know that some are working with a dimmer porch light than others. Don’t get sensitive.

Treasure hunt clue proposition

We, meaning mostly my wife with occasional input from me, have decided the treasure hunt will take place in a park close to our home. It is a neighbourhood park and we know most of the kids who play there and it will be a good spot. The clues will be fun for both myself and the kids. I get to design a few of them and my wife will do the others. She says that if mine get too tricky, she will be standing there to guide the kids to the next clue so they don’t end up chasing ice cream trucks in the street.

It should be an adventure. Check back with me and I’ll let you know if the wife starts reconsidering whether it was a good idea for me to reproduce.

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