Friday, 11 October 2013

Backyard Birthday Treasure Hunt

Every year, I always organise a little Easter egg treasure hunt in the backyard for Ben. He turned nine this week while we were up staying with my parents and because their backyard is full of all sorts of nooks and crannies, I thought it would be fun to organise a treasure hunt that the kids (and some of the 'big' kids) could do in teams. I think I had just as much fun preparing it as they had doing it!

First of all, I worked out where they were going to start and finish and then thought of nine other locations in between so that they had a total of ten clues.

Next, I wrote out ten rhyming clues. I didn't want to make them too hard because I wanted the kids to be able to figure them out without having to ask for any help, but I did want some of them to be a tiny little bit cryptic to make it a nice challenge for them.

I decided their starting location would be with me (I would hand them their first clue) and the end would be a little box in the wall between the front door and the front security screen doors, where a lolly bag would be waiting for each of them (that's a bag full of candy, for my American friends).

I thought it would be better for the kids to do the treasure hunt with a partner because two of them are still quite little and would need help reading. I also thought it would be fun for my partner to participate and for his friend, who's recently arrived in Australia from Italy, to do so too. Actually, I thought it would be fun to watch the two of them run back and forth around the garden so I didn't actually give them a choice. One of them has a limited reading knowledge of English and the other has hardly any English reading knowledge at all yet, so I made sure I paired each of them up with one of the older kids.

The part that took the most organising was working out a separate route for each of the teams to take. In total, there were going to be eight participants and I thought it would be better if they weren't all running and crowding around the same spot each time. If they took different routes from each other, then that would also mean that the kids would have to figure out the location of the next clue for themselves because they wouldn't just be able to follow another team who was one step ahead of them. The first location was the same for all of the teams but after that they branched out in separate directions.

Here's the list of clue locations divided up into the different team routes:

                 Team 1:                           Team 2:                          Team 3:                             Team 4:

1.           Start                                 Start                                    Start                                    Start

2.           Cumquat tree                    Cumquat tree                      Cumquat tree                     Cumquat tree

3.           Caravan                           Sundial                                 Lemon tree                         Shed

4.             Garage                           Pizza oven                            Letterbox                           Caravan

5.            Sundial                            Lemon tree                            Shed                                 Garage

6.            Pizza oven                       Letter box                              Caravan                            Sundial

7.           Lemon tree                       Shed                                     Garage                             Pizza oven

8.            Letter box                        Caravan                                 Sundial                            Lemon tree

9.             Shed                               Garage                                  Pizza oven                       Letterbox

10.   Gammer (grandma)         Gammer (grandma)             Gammer (grandma)       Gammer (grandma)

11.           TREASURE!                  TREASURE!                      TREASURE!                   TREASURE!

Before the party started, I went around and took photos of the clues and the clue locations and I'm glad I did because when it was time to do the actual hunt, I was left holding the baby (literally) so I couldn't take any pictures of the hunters in action.

Here's a little illustrated guide to the route Team One took  ...

They started with this:

Where they found this:

So they went here:

Where they found this:

They dashed off here:

Where they opened a clue that said:

So it was time to go here:

and open this:

That meant to run over to here:

(a pizza oven my partner 'upcycled' for my parents from an old brick BBQ - the 'young' part is only a slight exaggeration!)

where they discovered this:

So it was time to visit here:

and open this:

So off they sprinted to this spot:

Where they discovered this:

('Gaffer' is what the kids call their grandfather)

So it was time to run over here:

and decipher this:

(sorry mum, now everyone knows how old you are!)

So they went hunting for their grandmother:

who gave them their last clue:

which made them scratch their heads for a little while before it clicked and they hurtled through the house to this little place here:

Where the treasure was waiting for them!

I was so worried that I was going to muck up one little thing and it wouldn't go according to plan, but it all worked out exactly how I'd imagined and they all loved it (including especially the 'big' kids who were great sports even though they didn't have a clue what any of the clues meant but dashed around behind their partners having a great old time nonetheless).

I asked some of the kids afterwards what they thought of it.

Have you ever been on a treasure hunt or organised one? What do you remember?

 Linking up with Grace