Do you want your kids to be excited about books? Do you want your kids to spend more time playing outside?
Are you looking for something different for your kids to do so that they’ll look back in years to come and think of it as one of the really fun things they did as a family when they were young and maybe even carry on the tradition?
If you’ve answered yes to all the above then maybe you’ll be interested in organising a Book Sleuthing Treasure Hunt for your own children and invite all the others in the street or neighbourhood to join in. It’s also perfect for a children’s party or a school class.
How to Organise a Treasure Hunt where Books hold all the Answers.
Devised by Prue Mason with lots of help from Jill Morris, Judy Paulson, Gillian Leigh and Sue Collaro.
This activity can be for as little as two children but definitely the more the merrier as they can be divided into two teams.
What you need:
1. At least two treasure hunters ore more divided into two teams – to make it simple make one the gold team and the other the silver team with each having a team leader.
2. Gold and silver medallions for the participants (cut out of cardboard and tied around the neck with string)
3. 20 books
4. 20 clues (these can be put inside gold or silver tins or boxes before they are hidden)
5. 20 signposts to mark the areas where the clues are hidden
6. 2 maps (if you’re an illustrator you can make your own but for others there are great treasure hunt maps that can be downloaded and from the internet and adapted)
7. 2 clipboards
8. 2 instruction poems
9. 2 answer sheets marked from 1 -10 so the hunters can mark each letter in right order as they find them and which will then spell out a full ten letter word. This sheet also needs to have space for the hunters to write their definition for the ten letter word they uncover.
10. 2 sealed envelopes with instructions on how to find the edible treasure
11. 2 treasure chests full of edible treasure
12. At least an hour before hand to set up the signposts, clues and books.
What you do:
1. Draw 2 maps of the area where the clues are to be hidden.
2. Give names to 20 places where you want to hide the clues, linking them to the stories and characters in the books you’re using.
3. Make signposts using these names. Mark these with gold or silver and put these in the ground around where the clue from each book is to be hidden.
4. Divide the books into two groups and mark each map with 10 hiding places, making sure they are marked 1-10 so the hunters find each clue in the right order.
5. Think of two ten letter words – one word for each team and using the first ten books find one letter inside each book to make up the ten letter word. e.g. If looking for a letter ‘e,’ this might be found in book titled: Camel Rider on Page 20, line 4, word 6, letter 2. These instructions will then be the clue. It’s important the hunters find each clue in the right order to make up the word.
6. Repeat this with the other ten books to create the second 10 letter word
7. Hide the clues in the sign-posted places making sure you keep the two lots of 10 clues separate. The paper clues can be hidden inside small boxes or cylinders that can be painted either gold or silver.
8. Keep the books in two separate baskets so the hunters can return to them each time they find a clue. They will need to look through the book for the answer that they then mark on the answer sheets provided.
9. When each team has found all the clues and spelled out their word they must think of a definition for the word. They don’t need to know what the word means but be encouraged to use their imagination.
10. When they have met this final challenge they can be handed the sealed envelope with the final clue that will lead to the edible treasure
Poem to start the treasure hunt:
Golden/Silver Treasure hunting Team
It is time to test your sleuthing skills
And join the treasure hunt that’s full of thrills
Read these words most carefully
For it tells you what your team’s tasks will be.
A special map will set you on the track
for in this park/garden you will see
Signposts that will be the key
Start at one and end at ten
Seek the golden/silver tins for each one holds a clue
But it is the books that will find the true answers for you.
All ten letters you must get
This will give you the full set
That make a word that’s weird but fun.
The challenge is to find meaning for this one
And then there is one final test
And an edible treasure to end your quest.
So off you go and find your first clue.
good luck to each one of you!
Poem to end the treasure hunt:
Look to the nearest, biggest, greenest tree
From this take steps three by three
Towards a …. (an obvious place such as a wall, window, garden bed etc.
Then in the ground
Dig deeply until the treasure is found.
If all this sounds like lots of work that’s because it is but to see children rushing around and having fun with books does make all that organising worth it.