I love to make special treats for my family, and Valentine’s day is no exception. Our tradition for many years has been a Valentine`s day treasure hunt. I know that this might sound like a strange idea to some, but I wanted my kids to know that they were loved and Valentine’s day is a celebration of love and affection. The treasure hunt tradition grew out of that desire. Besides, who says Valentine’s Day can’t celebrate non-romantic love, too.
The hunt begins when each person receives a valentine. We always color or character code people’s valentine clues. If you receive a note written on blue paper, all of your clues will be blue. If you receive a beauty and the beast valentine first, all of your clues will be written on beauty and the beast valentine cards. This prevents one child from finding another child’s clues and ending up with the wrong treats.
We also have a rule that you cannot “help” someone else by handing them their clue that you found. All clues must be found by the person for who they were intended. They have to be collected in the right order. If clues are taken out of order, treats can be missed.
The clues are varied depending on the age of the child and their reading ability. A clue for an older child might say.
“Solve this problem for your first treat. Your next clue is on the photo of child # (8X8-37)/9” This would tell them that their next Valentine clue is tucked into the frame of a photo of our #3 child.
A clue for a new reader might just say “Look under your chair at the table.”
A clue for a pre-reader might be a picture of the place where they need to look to find their next clue.
With each clue the child finds after the first one, they get a little treat. A few Hershey’s Hugs and Kisses are good bundled in some valentines cellophane or a little bag. So are little valentine cookies or lollipops. When they get to the final clue, they find a special gift selected just for them.
The gift doesn’t have to be expensive. A new box of crayons, a new book, a stuffed animal. A certificate for a special activity with one of the parents. I love seeing the big smile on my kids when they search for and find their next clue. It’s a fun tradition that I hope my kids will continue with their own children.
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