The Great Winlaw Treasure Hunt is a community adventure and a joint project between my homelearning 9-year-old and me (his mom). I stumbled on the Neighbourhood Small Grants via a post on a local FB group so I turned to my 9-year-old and asked him whether he had any ideas of for building community in our neck of the woods. Storm (his “code name”) had been into making treasure hunts for his siblings and so immediately he thought it would be great to make a treasure hunt for our little community. So we took it and ran with it. Wanting to support local and use this project to also give a shout-out to our local artists, creatives, and businesses, we decided to use the funds to buy prizes for the treasure hunt from our local artists and businesses. We bought the top-secret treasure hunt supplies (aka paper and tiny mason jars) from our local hardware store. The first clue was posted on a public bulletin board beside our health food store and a series of rhyming and cryptic clues led treasure seekers past the creek, identifying native plants, past local businesses to a secret spot with a treasure chest filled with amazing pieces of art, toys and books for the kids from our kids’ consignment shop and gift certificates to local businesses and farms (you’ll probably not hear of another treasure chest filled with “vegetables”). We created a FB group for the project and gave a shout-out to the businesses that participated in our local group page as well. Through this crazy summer, our treasure hunters went through at 6am (to beat the heat wave) and even in the middle of a rainstorm. There may have been a few that went through during the time we were all smoked in for all I know. Some said just the hunt itself was fun and getting treasure from a treasure chest was icing on the cake. I think the artists and businesses enjoyed being part of this project and see people pick the prize they had donated. I’m glad we were able to give them a little something for what they put in the treasure box and give them some publicity. Some clues got wet, outdated and had to be replaced, or were hidden too well so had to be more obvious. As a homelearning project, Storm learned how to budget funds, plan a project, write clues in rhyme and he also got exposure to more local businesses and creative careers. He really enjoyed it when people posted when they got something from the box and I think everyone liked following along.
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