Entertain the kids with a Christmas Holiday treasure hunt
How do you make Christmas day fun for a child that is not your own?
I don't have any kids yet and at 33 I know it will happen soon as my clock is ticking, but right now its just me, hubby, two cats and three chickens. It occurred to me that I don't really know what to do with children. Don't get me wrong, I can entertain a child for an our or so, run around the garden, play games or sit and read books. I am particularly adept and hanging them upside down and spinning them around (I hand them back to their parents just before they explode with sick). A couple of hours babysitting is no hardship and I really enjoy spending time with my friends kids, but a whole day with one - Christmas Day - cue pale face and slight dizzy spell!
Hubby and I have invited our very good friends Noel and Luba for Christmas Day, and with them of course comes the very gorgeous three year old Sofia. Hubby and I decided that we should do something special for Sofia as she will be the only child (well in terms of actual age) here on the big day.
I look around our flat and realise how adult it really is. At friends houses there are boxes of toys, shelves full of books, brightly coloured furniture and slides and swings in their gardens. We have a beautiful hard wood table, expensive TV, nice ornaments no tinsel and a very grown up (but very pretty) Christmas Tree. When kids come over I do the clear away - anything below my waist height gets put above my head height - we have lost a coffee table to a particularly creative child who decided to carve into it with one of our slate coffee mats, and my hand carved Chinese figurine now has a dent in her head. But you learn and I'm really not that bothered, the most important thing is that the little ones don't swallow something they shouldn't or hurt themselves in any way.
Our Christmasses have always been celebrated with friends and family and have been an adult affair since I got married at 24. Babies and toddlers only visit for an hour or so and usually you cant get a look in if Grandma is around, they are normally not alone and groups of kids can entertain themselves for hours with only basic needs such as ice cream and "please put batteries into my new toy". A lone child on Christmas Day with four adults, maybe I'm over thinking it, but I want her to have fun and I want her parents to be able to relax and enjoy the day.
We don't have stacks of toys, just a couple of trusty teddy bears which always prove popular, the only games we have are very adult (fancy learning poker Sofia?), so what to do to keep her entertained and take the pressure off her parents for the day? It would be so very easy to pop on CBeebies and leave her to the charms of the In the Night Garden, but that's not very fair, or Christmassy.
So I decided to do a treasure hunt. I bought six gifts for her to find, small toys, sweets and chocolate and planned to hide them around the house with a new clue for each prize. I have left this as the last thing I have to do before Christmas Day, except preparing the food - big mistake. I thought it would be easy, I could put it together in an hour no problem! Then I started to panic - but it's only a one bedroom flat, how any interesting places do we have? The garden will be muddy! The chickens will be smelly! It's cold outside! I cant write rhymes!
It has taken me three days to write six clues, one of which is no where near rhyming but I'm stuck and it will have to do. The lack of places to hide treasure has given me a bit of a problem too - we definatley need a bigger house.
Here's my attempt at a fun treasure hunt for Sofia, I hope I get smiles and cuddles and not that look that Children can give an adults, even at three Sofia is an accomplished eye roller.
2. In July when the sun is high Andy likes to cook, maybe he left something behind with his BBQ recipe book?
3. In the spring seeds grow tall in a warm and sunny spot, it keeps plants cosy in winter in terracotta pots.
4. A Lion and Witch is not the only thing you can find here.
5. Roxy can get a little bit chilly and likes to sleep near some heat, can you find the cosy spot that hides your special treat?
6. Your final treat is in a special spot, there's only one place it could be, twinkling lights will guide you there and a present you will see.
In the end I have done my best, Sofia is three after all and I guess she wont be bothered about my prose and will get a fair amount of help from Hubby and her parents (and the helpful picture clues that I've added just to be safe). I think she'll enjoy running around in the garden (I hope Mummy remembers her wellies) and rummaging in our wardrobe, but most of all I hope she has fun.
Holiday Treasure Hunt - Success!!
I put the six gifts around the house and garden for Sofia to find and with a little help from hubby and Daddy she quickly found them. With a flashingSanta hat pulled firmly onto her head Sofia set off on her quest. One prize was hidden in the chicken coop(cleaned out and poopless), one in the greenhouse and one in the BBQ. Sofia refused the adults offer of assistance, despite the fact that she had declared her dislike of the chickens on arrival, and she bravely opened the coop and stepped inside to take the gift as the chickens dutifully moved out of her way. The remaining gifts were swiftly found and then all opened together in the living room to squeals of delight!
The most prized gift was a super sized chuppa chups lolly which held 10 more normal sized lollipops which she then shared with us. Three small toy animals were named and put to bed and the stamp set scrutinised and then put in her bag to take home.
In the bedroom we had a ‘Santa stop here’ sign which Sofia immediately recognised and then told us off for not putting it outside (even though Santa remembered to stop at our house and leave her extra presents) there was a real possibility he could have forgotten (bad Nic) and for the rest of the day each time she passed a hiding place she told each of us what was hidden there.
All in all it was a great day filled with laughter and cuddles (Millie the cat being the focus of Sofia’s affection) and even at midnight she was still going strong and refusing to let tiredness take over. I would strongly recommend a treasure hunt at any time of the year and for any occasion, in the end it seems the adults have just as much fun as the kids!
Treasure Hunt ideas
© 2011 mooboomoo