Last summer when we were in Chicago, we decided to take the kids to The Art Institute of Chicago. In order to make it more fun for them, we did a treasure hunt throughout the museum. We started our day in the gift shop where we bought 10 or so postcards of works of art that are in the Institute. We chose a variety of types of art – sculpture, paintings, artifacts, photographs, even miniature dollhouses (my personal favorite!).
Armed with a stack of postcards we set out exploring the museum. It was so much fun seeing the kids really looking at the art trying to decide if it was the right piece that was on the postcard – which was especially difficult for them when it came to all the Monets at the Institute.
Their attention spans lasted about an hour and a half, and that was about perfect for all of us. They got to see some wonderful – and famous – art. We got to see their minds expand. The best part was that the only reward for their success was the big stack of art postcards that they could say they saw in person, and you know what, they were happy as clams with that!
So now that the weather here in the Northwest is finally turning summer-like (we’re a bit jealous of the rest of the country’s heat), we were thinking that perhaps we would do another treasure hunt. This time here in the neighborhood.
For the little ones who can’t read yet, we thought that we would find pictures of things like roses, a slide, porch swing, and a dog. To challenge our new readers, they get a written list of more specific things to find.
Here’s our list:
- Ford truck
- Black and white cat
- Tire swing
- Street sign (with a specific street name)
- Red bicycle
- House with a blue door
- Mailbox #8
- Purple flower
- Garden gnome
- Tall ladder
Give the kids a camera and have them document all their findings. If your kids are old enough to wander the neighborhood, give them a time limit and let them run loose for an hour or so. (Our kids have walkie talkies so we can keep track of their whereabouts.)
There doesn’t need to be any elaborate reward for a treasure hunt like this. Maybe make some yummy lemonade or homemade popsicles while the kids are on their hunt and treat them to that when they return. Just having the freedom to roam the neighborhood is usually reward enough for our kids.
Whatever you do, just get outside and enjoy summer!