Treasure hunts: good or bad?

During Nell’s 10th birthday party – an ambitious 3pm-6.30pm – for eight girls I decided we all needed a break in the woods. Lucky for us there is a pocket park nearby that has the perfect wild wood for a treasure hunt – there’s even a few daffodils just edging up and over by the pond clumps of snowdrops.

Nell had already prepared envelopes (almost a goody bag with a couple of silly bands in them and a chocolate biscuit) which I could hide in dry hedges, from branches, under logs and any other place that presented some sort of challenging hidey hole. The difficulty wasn’t the finding, it was finding the packet with your name on it. Suprisingly we met several people from the school Nell goes to, also enjoying the park (and a dog having his photo taken with his family in the hope of winning a casting session for a famous brand of dog biscuit...).

Even though the park was busy for such a wet afternoon, one mum, with a much younger son, looked shocked at me taking a pack of girls out in the rain. But they had coats on and were by then so sugared up (not me guv, one of the girls had brought in some very fizzy sweets!) that the only solution was being outside. In better weather – or if the party hadn’t been DIY knickerbockerglory themed – I’d have done a longer treasure hunt using natural objects, and perhaps a few of Nell’s farm and jungle toys. But the envelope system seemed to work, and this video is of the girls ready to head home, not quite sure if I’m using a camera or a video!

As I think the girls make clear, a treasure hunt, rain or no rain, is always fun. You can read about other ideas for parties and party bags in my book Homemade Kids: thrifty, creative and eco-friendly ways to raise children.

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