Christmas treasure hunt 2013

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For nearly 12 years Christmas Eve means a family treasure hunt. They have taken numerous forms over the years… When the kids were little clues were simple poems, drawings and limericks. Over the years we have evolved to Spanish translated on a smartphone, virtual reality clues, longitude and latitude coordinates, video clues, web pages and QR codes. The geographic area covered has been as small as the family room and as large as the entire city of Seattle.

This year there were no gizmos or technology. It was all puzzles and brain teasers. The kids never even put on their shoes. Completing the 12 clues took about 90 minutes.

Our annual treasure hunt is consistently a memorable shared family experience. We decided to share this year’s clues in hopes that perhaps you will start the holiday tradition with your family or community.

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Christmas treasure hunt 2013

  1. 1. Create a Treasure Hunt Examples and clues from the 2013 Keller family treasure hunt.
  2. 2. For nearly 12 years Christmas Eve means a family treasure hunt. They have taken numerous forms over the years… When the kids were little clues were simple poems, drawings and limericks. Over the years we have evolved to Spanish translated on a smartphone, virtual reality clues, longitude and latitude coordinates, video clues, web pages and QR codes. The geographic area covered has been as small as the family room and as large as the entire city of Seattle. This year there were no gizmos or technology. It was all puzzles and brain teasers. The kids never even put on their shoes. Completing the 12 clues took about 90 minutes. Our annual treasure hunt is consistently a memorable shared family experience. We decided to share this year’s clues in hopes that perhaps you will start the holiday tradition with your family or community. The Kellers, 2013
  3. 3. The first clue is fairly simple. My goal was to focus the participants on the format and set expectations. The answer I was looking for was freight.
  4. 4. I leveraged some great ideas from the Dandelion Express blog’s “Treasure Hunt for Nerds” post. This one got the kids up and around the house looking for a keyboard with an envelope taped underneath. http://bit.ly/1c6cto6
  5. 5. The answer here prompted the kids to look for their next clue under the sofa cushions.
  6. 6. The look on everyone’s face was priceless when they opened this clue. I found a font in Morse Code, wrote a perfectly awful limerick, and expected them to figure it out. They recognized the code right away, found a code key and solved the puzzle.
  7. 7. We love wordplay. Periphrastics is using two or three words when one will do. There are lots of resources for this on the web
  8. 8. Kat figured this one out while absently tossing a ball up and catching it as she struggled to sort out an answer.
  9. 9. There are some terrific rebus generating tools on the web. I used the festisite.com site.
  10. 10. August offered a correct answer immediately. I think after 10 of these types of puzzles they could see solutions faster.
  11. 11. This one was my personal favorite. It certainly was the most difficult. All four of the kids had to sit down together at the table to solve the maze. It is difficult to see in this graphic, but this puzzle is a two-page word maze. As you read the words along the correct path you will discover the solution. Again, the festisite.com site had the best tools for generating the maze.
  12. 12. I want to give credit to some the great web resources I leverage for this year’s clues. Three really good starting points are: • • • http://www.festisite.com/ http://dandelionexpress.wordpress.com/2011/09/08/a-treasure-hunt-for-nerds/ http://hubpages.com/hub/Best-Scavenger-Hunt-Clue-Ideas You can contact me via Twitter @drewkeller or through my website: www.storyguide.net if you have questions. A treasure hunt like this takes a little time and planning. But it is an experience that can shape your family and can be an annual event. Creating them is insanely rewarding, and our family anticipates the next one throughout the year. Best of luck. Drew Keller

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