Kids love treasure hunting

Think back to when you were a child. Do you have memories of the Easter egg hunt? Do you have memories of “figuring out” what candy you had in your bag after Halloween? Do you remember the excitement of opening presents at Christmas? Have you ever gotten together with your friends and gone on a “scavenger hunt”? Perhaps you have heard the story of a chest buried with a bank robber’s loot. Maybe it was pirate treasure. Or, as in my case, the Lost Dutchman mine.

Children love treasure hunts. They love discovery. They love to find something hidden. Why not harness that natural drive and curiosity and give them the opportunity to develop their imagination, dedication to purpose, critical thinking skills and sense of determination by engaging them in Treasure Hunting?

The type of hunting and the type of treasure should be adapted to his age and interest. Hiding a “treasure” of treats, toys, and trinkets somewhere in the house for younger children can instill a desire to get involved and stay involved. An initial clue found in an old book leading to other clues hidden in the house and ultimately leading to the hideout is exhilarating.

Older children can be given their own metal detector to use on a family outing to a nearby park or picnic area. When he’s old enough, provide some books and magazines with stories of “real” treasures lost or buried near his home, and make a family plan to “go after it.” Once they get the treasure hunting bug, you’ll find they’ll be much more interested in planning and preparing for the next outing, and less inclined to be ‘idle’, which we all know can lead to some ‘less than desirable’ .

However, treasure hunting doesn’t have to be just about lost and buried treasure. Gold panning (or nugget hunting, or sniping, or mossing, or sluicing, or high banking, or dredging), bottle hunting, rock hunting, even just walking through old ghost towns can awaken that sense of curiosity and wonder that can develop into a lifelong passion for “the hunt.”

How to start? Show interest yourself. Have a couple of books handy that you’re reading that contain scavenger hunt stories and activities. Ask them if they have ever heard of a “treasure” nearby. Ask if your friends have ever talked about it. Ask them to read the story and see if they come to the same conclusions as you. Start preparing to find it yourself and involve them in the preparations. The more interest you show, the more likely they are to generate interest themselves.

And that’s the idea.

Get them to generate their own interest; your own desire to ‘go for it’. When you’re on your first expedition, make it a tangible “good time” they can remember, even if it’s just going out for burgers and shakes on the way back. Talk about ‘next time’ and what you will do differently to get closer to finding it. Build some anticipation for the ‘next trip’. Treasure Hunting (in all its forms) is a great family recreation that can create memories that last a lifetime. And, who knows, maybe you’re raising the next Mel Fischer who will discover a long-lost cache of unimaginable wealth. There is no better time to start than right now!

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