An oldie but a goodie. You’ve probably done a treasure map before, which is easy enough to do just around the house or something. For this one, I wanted to get my son up and out on his bike in the morning, so spent an hour or so last night making a treasure hunt for him. I left a letter for him next to his bed, so that he would find it when he first woke up.
You’ll notice the letter is on ‘old’ looking paper – I know that somehow there is a way of staining paper with tea or coffee to create this effect. I think it’s as simple as brushing a little of the tea/coffee over the paper and then drying it out before writing on it. Unfortunately I did my first one the wrong way, as I wrote the clue out then tried to dip it in tea, and the ink just ran off and the paper went soggy- it was a complete disaster that I had to then write it all out again! So, if nothing else hopefully I’ve stopped you making the same mistake!
What it did mean was that by the time I’d re-written it I was frustrated and impatient so just shoved it under the grill. To be fair this did make it go brown within about 20 seconds, but if by any chance you do think of doing the same, please make sure you keep an eye on it as it happened very quickly and would literally catch fire very quickly if you don’t watch it. I recommend just staining the paper beforehand, it’s definitely safer!
I then wrote the clues, which are in the photos below and took us on a 3 mile or so, tour of our local area. I did think about trying to go out early in the morning and hide the clues but thought better of it, and so just folded the paper as small as I could and just kept them in my pocket. As we got to each place the clue should lead to, I just let the kids start looking and when they were distracted, dropped the paper somewhere so they could then find them. That’s it – the only other thing to remember is to hide the treasure! As you’ll see I took us on a loop and back to our garden, so it was easy enough to just hide it before we went out. They didn’t mind that at all (I was a bit worried they’d think that it had all been a waste of time!)
I will say, the kids loved it. We had a slight glitch in that my son didn’t notice the letter when he woke up so I had to find a reason to ask him to go back to his bedroom, but after that he was excited. I’d intended it as a way of getting a decent bike ride in with him, but my daughter (who’s a bit younger) also wanted to be involved when she saw it. I’m glad she did as although I ended up pushing her on her bike most of the three and a half miles, they both loved it. For something really simple, it took us a few hours and they were delighted to find the treasure at the end! Luckily it didn’t occur to them that the pirate had gone to extreme lengths to bury what was in effect, a very small treasure pile! Why not give it a go!