Treasure Hunt For Older Children:
This following treasure hunt is definitely for older Grandchildren, younger ones will enjoy it as long as their are older ones to figure most of it out. This suggestion is the activity I used for Secret Garden Camp. I wanted them to find a key and then look for what it might unlock. I wanted it difficult enough that they would have to think and talk to each other, taking more than one day to figure it out.
Summary: In the tin with the key should be a letter postmarked from somewhere else and an old date on it. Talk to scrapbookers. They have these types of stamps. Seal it with wax. The clue will be difficult to make the older kids think about it for a while and talk about it and discuss it. Each clue should be this difficult, so this mystery goes on throughout Grandma’s Camp. Kids love treasure hunts, no matter what age they are.
This treasure hunt was designed around objects in my home and yard, but will give a general idea and maybe inspiration for your own ideas.
Clue #1–The kids found an envelope while digging in their garden spots. It looked very old, rumpled and mysterious. They opened it up to find a key, and a note that told about a lost treasure hidden long ago. In the note, certain letters were bold; the kids wrote the bold letters down and unscrambled the them to find where to look next. Clue #2 was found, and it simply had three lines of musical notes on it. The kids ran inside to the piano and played the notes. The words to the pieces of songs held the next clue. Clue #3 was written in very small letters that spiraled around, making the body of a snail. A magnifying glass had to be used to see the words and figure out where the next clue was. Clue #4 directed them to some text. It then had some numbers on it. They had to look at the third word, 10th word, 25th word, etc. to get the next clue. This clue gave vague directions to something in the back yard. Finding that spot, they had to dig and the buried treasure was found, sealed in a box.
This little poem was attached to the key as the first clue with an arrow head graphic between the lines and some letters were in bold text.
They had to write all of the bold letters down, and then unscramble the bold letters to spell hollyhocks, combine with the bold arrowhead symbol. In the hollyhocks garden, put the clue under the arrowhead stepping stone.
Clue #2: (found under the arrowhead stepping stone)
This clue is just a few musical notes. The kids have to find a piano or other musical instrument and play them to determine what songs they are, and what the words to the songs say. The clue contains one line of three songs. Each song contains numbers only above the notes with the words needed to lead them to the next clue.
Song 1: In the Leafy Treetops; clue words are “In the leafy tree.”
Song 2: We’re Off to See the Wizard; clue words are “we’re off to see.”
Song 3: The Wheels on the Bus; clue words are “the bus.”
Clue will be in the tree at the head of the worn path from our home to the school bus. (The children know this path.)
Clue #3: (found in the tree at the head of the school bus trail)
Poem indicating that they will have to decipher a secret message in the Mary Engelbreit room. The poem also gives them the location of the next clue. In that room (decorated with Mary Englebreit objects and framed cards with sayings on them such as “Life is a chair of bowlies.” I called it my Breit Room”)
Clue #4: (found under the gargoyle on the pedestal in the flower garden)
The clue contains text within an object, small enough that they may have to use a magnifying glass to read it (I wrote the words in a spiral, forming the shell of a snail, then drawing the body of the snail –to go along with the garden theme). This is the code to deciphering the final message that will give them the location of the treasure chest matching the key given in the first clue. The treasure chest will be buried in the ground next to the decaying log my kids used to pretend was a whale because of its two bumps/knots that look like eyes.
I had a guest room decorated with Mary Englbreit pictures and fabrics and doodads.
1. The code gives two words that are synonyms of objects in the Mary Engelbreit pictures which are hanging in the Guest Room. This will lead them to the picture that will contain their clue.
The first set of words and numbers in the decoder says, “Bowl. Chair. 2. They look for a picture that might have something resembling those words: Bowl, Chair. This leads them to the “Life is just a chair full of bowlies” picture. Then starting from the left of the phrase, the second word in the Englebreit message.
3. After all of the words are discovered, they must unscramble the words to form the message that reads, “Quiet / Whale / Turned To Log / Way To / Pig Pen.” The treasure is buried near the old pig pen under a log that looks like a whale.
This took the kids three days to figure it out. I wanted it to be complicated because I had some very smart teenage grandkids.