The most popular reason people use to leave the house these days is to go for a walk. Once you have walked around your neighbourhood several times and found all the teddy bears in windows you and your kids may be looking for something new to do. Why not start or join a photo treasure hunt.
What is a treasure hunt
Image courtesy of Steven Johnson @ Flickr
A treasure hunt, also known as a scavenger hunt, is a classic game where people are given a list of items to find in a given amount of time. The old way was to actually get the items, which might range from the mundane, like a flower through to illegal things such as a policeman's hat. These days treasure hunts usually involve taking photos of the items on the list. Sometimes it will be about getting photos doing certain things as well.
How to organise a treasure hunt
Image courtesy of Pxfuel
The best way is to put together a list of items to photograph, set a time limit, then, of course, get your friends involved. This can be a great activity that kids can do with their friends, either competing against them or working cooperatively to find the items and share them with each other. Educators recommend that for younger kids, it is better to take out the element of competition from activities, though in reality this may be more about parents who get upset that their kids didn't win, not the kids themselves.
So what goes on the treasure hunt list
There are 3 types of lists. The simplest is the item list
. You might list fountain, windmill, pink rose, lady in red, man wearing a white hat and so on. Of course, these could be very common items or things that are harder to find, such as a flying helicopter, which might involve quite a bit of luck to find. I have organised treasure hunts for nature and wildlife where we walked around a bushland area looking for certain trees, flowers and animals.
An example of a treasure hunt rules and list
The next is the clue list
. This could include such items such as, a sign of the times, keeping us safe or under construction. You can make the clues as simple or as hard as you want, which of course gets to the point of cryptic treasure
hunts with clues like "where a plane crashed" which might require knowing a bit of local history or something very obscure such as "walk to the top to the place with no war to capture the vista" or "3 worlds in a row, joined by a place where only 12 men have walked". Then, of course, there are treasure hunts that involve really hard clues where you need code-breaking skills to work out.
Don't forget that you can use treasure hunts as part of a learning experience. I have already mentioned history, nature and wildlife spotting. Another option is for people learning a second language, where they can solve clues in the language they are they learning.
Start the game
The best way is to have a gamemaster who creates the treasure hunt and chooses the winner. They are the person who sends out the list to others and sets the finish time. You can do this as a general challenge through social media, email lists or organise friends beforehand then start the game. It is more fun when the gamemaster changes between games, so everyone has a go at hunting for photo treasures.
Image courtesy of Pxfuel
Remember you need a finishing point for the game. This can be a time limit or the first past the post approach. The latter can be the winner is who gets all the items or who achieves a set number of points, with different items attracting a different number of points.
Playing the game
There are lots of ways to play the game. The classic way is to collect the photos and bring them back to be judged, but because we live in the era of ubiquitous internet and mobile phones, the better way is to share the images online. When done live, it means friends can play against or with friends and see what each person is doing, keeping up a constant online chat about ideas and where to find things.
All ages can range far and wide, take photos and share them from wherever they are
Walking has always been one of the most popular activities and COVID-19 has made this pretty much the only activity many people can do for fun outside their house, especially if they have kids. Treasure hunts are a great way to make this a social or competitive activity, give people a chance to learn, and stay connected through doing things in their local community.
Required COVID-19 warning statement
The above activity is written with the lockdown rules and guidelines that are generally in place in Australia at the time of publishing the article. These rules can differ between regions and over time. It is the responsibility of the reader to ensure that they are compliant with all relevant COVID-19 laws, rules & regulations, and take necessary precautions to remain safe.