Sunday, October 12, 2008

Treasure Hunt Meals

Edith Schaeffer writes:

"When our children were small we had what I called 'Treasure Hunt Meals.' Far from being a birthday or special occasion when the announcement was made, it was usually quite the opposite, a time when I felt there was some friction, or a disappointment or sadness about something. 'Supper tonight will be a Treasure Hunt' I'd announce, and the rest of the afternoon was a time of anticipation on the part of the children. I would sit down with a pad of paper, and think- begin writing notes, then go around the house looking, and then come back and write some more. It would take a lot of planning- but it was fun trying to think of new and different ways of wording the clues and new and different places to hide them, and new and different ways to serve the meal. There would be about ten clues before the first 'treasure' was found, adn then another ten for the next course, and as many as I had time to make for the next!

Each clue, of course, tells where the next clue is to be found. The wording can be as different as your imagination will allow: in rhyme, in riddles to guess, or just simply describing the place to look. Of course, the kind of clues one leaves partly depends on the age of the children. If the children differ greatly in age, there should be 'picture clues' for the younger ones and each clue should be put in an envelope for the child, with his or her name on it. If they are about the same age one clue will do in each place.

The simplicity or elaborateness of the whole game can differ from time to time, depending on how clever you feel at the moment. It is a challenge to arrange a series with variety and unexpected endings- or with the clever blending together of jingles; or not so clever, as children are not critical, and you can constantly try new things...

There were endless varieties of meal hunts! Hunts that would take them from bush to bush outdoors in the summer time, after supper, and the 'surprise' would be a water melon; hunts that would take them to a box of bubble bath, on a hot sticky summer day; hunts that would take them to a new book, the story for that night; hunts that would take them to the bedroom where a picnic in a shoe box, decorated for each one, would give them individually served suppers that night.

-from The Hidden Art of Homemaking

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