Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Modern Day Treasure Hunt

After printing off our "Summer Check List" from East Coast Mommy, my son was excited to get started. He loved that she left some blanks for us to fill in. I'm not sure where it came from, but Caleb's idea was to bury a treasure, and then make a map for Dad to follow when he gets home. So first he picked a spot in the back yard, and did his best to bury a plastic bag in which we had put money, but the ground is so dry and hard, this was not an easy task. 

And as any self-respecting pirate would do, he put an "X" to mark the spot. Then we worked backwards from our front door to the "X" and made a map. 

I refrained from correcting his map and allowed him to draw the house, hill, and the "X," and only helped him draw the bushes that we wanted to make Dad go through!  So the map wasn't pretty or accurate, but it was his own, and that was important to him. I suggested we flame the edges a bit, to make it look like an old map. Caleb wasn't at all sure about this...but we did it inside, over the sink so we could put out the flame quickly if we needed to. (With the drought, there was no way I would have flames outside.)

So, when Dad came home it was time to treasure hunt. Dad is such a great sport, playing along, showing just the proper amount of excitement and confusion (to elicit help from the map-maker). It makes it such a great reward for the work Caleb puts into it.

So, around the hill they go, through the bushes, and then they find the "X."

Then, to our surprise, several days later, Dad constructed a treasure hunt of his own. His starting spot was where our "X" had been. Caleb dug at the spot, and pulled out a plastic bag that held a Google Map of our property. While Caleb had trouble reading the map, with help we found our way to the "X." 

The "X" was on our merry-go-round (yes, that's right, we have this in our front yard..best yard ever for a 5 year-old), but we didn't find a treasure! Instead we found a Pringles can with yet another Google map. 

So off we went again, looking for treasure. 

And finally we found the treasure (a full dollar bill + change) in a plastic bag. We had a great time. Even little Corban wanted to help draw on the yellow clip board.  

While this is essentially a low-tech version of Geocaching because we didn't use GPS, it was a great option for us! In one activity, Caleb was practicing his drawing skills, and in the other, is map reading skills. Either way, it was a lot of fun!   


  1. I love this idea! My son has been into maps since I made one for him to find eggs at Easter.

  2. Thanks for this dad + kids activity inspiration!!!


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