Who can resist a treasure hunt? The anticipation of where it will lead is fun in itself. It takes some work to come up with clues unique to your home, but with thought and enthusiasm, you will be surprised at how many you can come up with.
First, make or buy construction paper shamrocks. Since we are doing this for kids, think about what intrigues them. A shamrock will be fun to find, surely. You can get creative and decorate them with stickers, glitter, markers, etc…
Next, make up clues. If the shamrocks are decorated, it will be easier to write out clues on small pieces of paper and glue or tape it onto the back of the shape. Consider the age of the children when making up clues. The idea is not to stump the kids, but to give them an “I know it!” moment. The first clue is the starting point. Start off easy, to build the confidence and get the excitement going. Trying to rhyme words adds to the fun, but is not necessary. At first they might need your help trying to figure it out, but once they get going it becomes easier for them.
An example of a starting clue could be: “Go take a look in the room where we cook!” They will all scamper to be the first to find the clue. That clue then, leads them to the next clue. Another example: “This big magic square shows us lots of things in it’s screen.”
A way to make it more fun is to make them do things, like jumping jacks, or singing the ABC’s, or lining up tallest to shortest or oldest to youngest. Because the idea is for everyone to have fun, have the kids take turns reading the clues, or giving them to the “adult reader” if no one is of reading age.
The fun can also be added to by using each of the children’s names in the clues. They love hearing their own names, and it personalizes it. It might be hard to come up with a clue for all the children’s names, so sticking to the “host children’s” names causes no hard feelings.
At the end of the treasure hunt, there has to be a treasure! It can be a movie to watch with goodies to share, necklaces, fake rings, toy cars, chocolate candy coins, plastic shiny coins or mini bubbles. The treasure can be just about anything. If it is a birthday party, it can be the party favors. Since there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, you can make a pot of “treasures” too.
This game can be as extravagant or as simple as you would like. Here are some tips to remember:
1. Write the clues in order on a separate piece of paper, so you can keep track of what clue comes next. It makes it easier when you are setting up the hunt, too!
2. Make sure the clues can not be mixed up with another clue.
3. The shamrocks should be well hidden so that some effort has to be used, and so that everyone pays attention to the clues being read, not to the shamrock seen out in the open.
4. Of course, encourage them to work together.
5. It is also fun to start it with a little story. Say the leprechauns have taken all of the St. Patrick’s Day treasure. During the short story, explain the game. Tell them they are looking for shamrocks with clues, that will lead them to their treasure!
6. At the halfway point, a small prize at one of the clues keeps them excited!
7. Make sure the final treasure can not be seen until the very last clue leads them to it.
A St. Patrick’s Day treasure hunt will be great fun! A fair warning: A treasure hunt will be requested for lots of other parties thereafter! Good luck, and happy hunting!