Every year our family goes to Lake Mcconaughy in Nebraska with our friends. It is always a blast with the beach, water floats, and campfires. The kids are getting older so this year I decided to create a fun treasure hunt for the kids to do. The majority of kids that go with us are between 4 and 5 years old, so I wanted to create a treasure hunt that was exciting enough to keep their attention and long enough for the older kids to still have fun. The first step was creating the map paper.
STEP 1: CREATE THE TREASURE MAP PAPER
To create the paper I did a lot of research online. I found the following to be the way to create the most realistic paper out of all the methods I tried.
1. On a regular white piece of paper print the look of the map you’d like. For this I went into photoshop and created a parchment paper graphic layer. I then went online and found some free hand-sketched pirate drawings of ships, pirates, and treasures that were free for non-commercial use. Once I created a really cool looking graphic I printed full bleed on the paper.
2. I pre-heated the oven to 225 degrees and took out 2 shallow pans.
3. I used heated black coffee and two hot tea bags (blackberry and wildberry) sitting in small cups with some hot water.
4. I placed a piece of the printed paper face down into the first shallow pan and painted it with the tea bags (using the bags) and coffee (using a brush) until every part of the paper was covered. I let some drops of the coffee/tea remain for a few seconds before wiping and distributing to make a little more realistic of a look.
5. I then took some vegetable oil and painted it on sparingly. This oil will make certain spots look a little see through and more like old fashioned paper
5. Once covered with coffee/tea I took the piece of paper and placed it into the second pan and put it in the oven at 225 degrees for roughly 2-4 minutes (checking every once in a while) until it looked fairly dry.
6. I then tore away the edges and took out a lighter and burned around all the edges.
STEP 2: FIGURING OUT THE HUNT CLUES
After I figured out the way to do the paper to my liking I needed to plan for the hunt itself. At the lake we get to drive down on the beach and camp anywhere so I needed to come up with clues that allowed for any location along the beach. I also wanted something that had a little challenge to it that ensured they would want to find all the clues. At the bottom of each clue I wrote a number. When they got the map they had to add all those numbers together to get how many steps it was to the buried treasure. This is what I came up with:
Clue 1: This clue I told them I have found and told them the location:
you are close to my treasure
I’d hate for it to go to waste
but be careful matey
this is a challenge you’ve never faced
There is a map in the end
but first for the clues
collect all of them
or the treasure you’ll lose
Each clue contains a number
which helps find the treasure
you’ll need to get them all
in order to measure…
the first clue is hidden
near one of the tables
get low to uncover it
if you are able
Clue 2: They found this clue slightly buried underneath the table
Your smarts are impressive
the clue you have found!
the next clue needs a giant
for its high off the ground
grab a tall giant
you will need him to reach
for the next clue is hanging
off a pole on the beach
Clue 3: After they grabbed a tall adult they were able to reach the clue hidden in the poles of the EZ-Up.
you have succeeded
in finding the clue
attached is a magic crane
here’s what you have to do
find 10 cranes
hidden around here
give them to the bearded wiseman,
he will have the next clue there
Clue 4: After they found the 10 origami cranes we hid in the ‘skeleton forest’ they handed them to my Dad who gave them the next clue.
you are proving wise
now grab the swords to prepare
go to tree where the flag flies
and beware of the scare
that is where the map lies
and I have left a pirate guardian there
When they were finding the cranes my husband went to a far tree and hung a big pirate flag. They were given each a sword (a blow up snake sword from Amazon) and proceeded to the tree to defeat the guardian pirate (my husband who had a pirate sword and hat) who was holding the treasure map.
STEP 3: THE TREASURE
The night before the treasure hunt we went out and buried the treasure box in the sand. The next day when the kids weren’t around I took out one of my spare sheets of treasure map paper I made and drew the map to where we buried it from where they would fight the pirate guardian. One thing we will improve upon for next time is being a little more exact with where we buried the treasure. The kids had to dig in a fairly large radius from the amount of steps they took to find it