My children, or should I say “secret agents”, attend year-round school. I absolutely love it and for the most part, they do too. They have 4 long breaks spaced throughout the year plus a Christmas break and an abridged summer vacation. By abridged, I mean that they get exactly 1 week off before they jump in and start a new school year. As you can imagine, we try to pack a healthy mix of relaxation and summer fun into our one week. So far we’ve had picnics, completed a few art projects and spent a lot of lovely time at the pool. Today was our fun adventure, a Secret Agent Scavenger Hunt.
I’ve done scavenger hunts for the kids before with great success. They love the fact that I spent the time creating something fun for them. Usually I do very simple clues like, “Look in the kitchen for something blue”. The last time I did a scavenger hunt, though, I was disappointed with how it panned out. At that time only one of my children could read. He would read the clue to himself and race for the next clue before I had a chance to read the clue to the other kids. I was able to waylay him by about the 3rd clue so that I could read the clue to the group but I have to admit that the magic of that hunt was lost.
This time, I vowed to find a way for them to work together towards a common goal. I decided to make the messages coded to slow down the pace. I first typed up my clues in Word using the WingDings font. I was reasonably pleased with the result. Here’s a sample:
Then on a whim I contacted my friend Paula over at Frog Prince Paperie to see if she had anything with a spy theme. I was in luck! She had just completed some awesome party invitations for a spy party and she was more than willing to create nifty clue cards for the hunt. She even made instructions and decoder cards!My kids knew about the Secret Agent Scavenger Hunt ahead of time. The night before, they planned their outfits and tried to determine what spy gear they would need for their adventure. Meanwhile, I printed out the clues and organized pencils and prizes.
decoded version: Up the stairs and near Nala’s chair, the next clue is held by a big teddy bear. (Nala is the name of our dog.)
I’ve learned that scavenger hunts don’t have to be complicated for the kids to have fun. The clues don’t have to be coded, rhyme or be deep and meaningful. You can say “Go to this room and look here”. One thing to note is that the coded clues do take longer. This Secret Agent Scavenger Hunt with 5 clues took my 3 agents over an hour to complete. My agents enjoyed their mission but suggested afterwards that next time I not code the riddles and include a hint written in code.
I loved working with Frog Prince Paperie for this project. I sent Paula my clues and she sent me back a PDF ready for me to print. My original plan of using Word with the WingDings font would definitely have worked. But having the spy theme really added to the excitement level for my secret agents. As a side note, the agents are all now convinced that the dog is the “bad guy” and they have been sneaking around the house trying to hide from her. Poor pup! 🙂