|.Compass Treasure Hunt|
Everyone loves a treasure hunt.
Next time you have a group of children hanging around looking for something to do, or are wondering what to do for your child's birthday party, try setting up a compass treasure hunt.
Clues leading to the treasure are given only as compass bearings, and the distance in steps to the next clue. Hand them a compass, show them how to use it, and wish them luck as you give them the first clue.
In their eagerness to find the treasure, even the youngest child playing will quickly learn one of the basics of "orienteering" - how to use a compass. This skill is fundamental to their future explorations of nature. (Best for ages 5 - 12)
|How it Works|
assemble at the Starting Point. One player is given a note with a compass course
and a distance, measured in steps. This clue leads to the first waypoint, where
two items are to be found: a small bag of treats to keep everyone happy and
motivated, and a second note with a new compass bearing leading to the next
Each waypoint has a small offering of treats and a new note. Each note has the name of one of the players, so everyone gets a chance to use the compass. At the end is a final "treasure" for everyone to discover.
|Set the Course|
|The course can be located
anywhere - the park, beach or backyard. It can be as simple or complex as
you want, but should be scaled in difficulty to the ages of the players.
1. Standing at the Starting Point, look around in the distance for a hiding place for the first little treasure and next clue - behind a tree, hanging from a branch, behind the garage.....Hold the compass and check to see that it's level enough for the needle or card to spin freely. Wait till it points steadily in one direction, and turn the compass so "N" lines up with the pointer.
hold the compass in front of your face, and turn it until the needle points to North. Look to the hiding spot, then look
down to the compass and read the "degrees" which point to the spot.
(This method is simple, but not "pinpoint" accurate. Keep the next clue reasonably easy to locate).
Walk to the first hiding spot and count your steps along the way. Be sure
to take the same size steps as the players would. Write down the number of
steps and the course (in degrees) on a small piece of paper. This is the clue
you'll give the players at the start.
Repeat the process for the next clue: look for a hiding spot, take a compass bearing, count the steps and write it down. Once you've finished plotting this second clue, you have to backtrack to the first clue location and leave the note with compass bearing and # of steps to the spot you just plotted. Don't forget to leave a few treats to keep the players enticed.
3. Create as many way-points as you like, but make enough so that each player gets a turn. The final "treasure" can be buried, hidden or covered, but where all can access it together. (Not up a tree!) It can even lead right into your house where the birthday cake is waiting as the treasure.
| - You'll need to teach
the players how to use the compass, even if they say they already know how
to use it. Some won't know and may be too shy to ask.
- For younger children,
set the course so it goes in a circle, leading back to near where they
began. This way they are always within hearing distance.
- Hide or cover the
way-points treats where birds, the dog or any little critters won't get
to them before the children do!