When he was small, my youngest son had a habit of filling his pockets with treasures he encountered in his daily adventures. I didn't always understand the value he saw in his chosen objects -- really, how many rocks and sticks could one boy keep? In his eyes, though, each one was beautiful and important. Life is just like that on a larger scale, isn't it? We gather up the precious bits of our experiences and save them all to learn from and enjoy later. Perhaps you'll find a little something here that you'd like to keep in your own pockets. Thanks for visiting.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Love notes treasure hunt

Each year as Valentine's Day approaches, I like to think up fun little ways to remind my wonderful boys that I love them.  One of Noah and Will's favourite activities for special occasions like birthday parties has always been treasure hunting; the excitement of finding clues and little objects that I've carefully hidden around the house for them always puts huge grins on their faces.  A love notes treasure hunt seemed the perfect thing, then, to help celebrate this coming Valentine's Day.

With a few simple supplies and a bit of creative planning ahead of time, it's easy to orchestrate a seek-and-find adventure that is sure to make young hearts happy.

Get ready...

In advance of when you plan to have the treasure hunt, decide how many clues you want to have and where you would like to hide each one.  (I find it helps to write this information down in a numbered list to refer to when writing the clues.)  Save the best hiding place for the end!

On a heart-shaped paper cutout or a little Valentine card (we have lots left over from previous years that I plan to use), write a message for each of your children, describing something you think is really special about him or her, and provide a hint about where to look for the next clue.

Continue writing love note clue cards for each child for every one of your hiding spots.  The last card can simply contain a Happy Valentine's Day message. 

Get set...

On the day of the treasure hunt, set aside the first clue cards to give to your children, and, when no one is watching, hide all of the other cards in your previously chosen spots.  If you want to add another little element of surprise to the hunt, you can hide a small heart-themed prize with each clue (think pencils, stickers, erasers, heart-shaped dark chocolates, etc.). 

Wrap the final treasure hunt prize for each child in heart-themed paper and hide the prizes in your last hiding spot.  (For prizes, I like to give each of the boys a new book or game, something that we can all enjoy together once the treasure hunt is over.)


When you're all ready, gather up your young treasure hunters and start them off running by giving them their first clue cards.  Share their excitement as they race from clue to clue, and enjoy their smiles as they read all of your heartfelt love notes to them.

For very young children, you can create a smaller version of the treasure hunt by simply hiding a specific number of cut-out paper hearts around an area of your home.  When the children find all of the hearts, they can trade them in for their prizes.  Kids of all ages love looking for hidden treasure!

Valentine's Day provides us all with a special chance to share sentiments we often feel, but might not often enough express.  If you're looking for another way to show your children how much they mean to you, you might enjoy making these mailboxes with them -- you'll then have somewhere special to send them love notes all year long!

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