Tuesday, June 17, 2014

(Guest Post) Treasure Hunting: A Sure Fire Way to Get Your Kids Excited About Reading!

Treasure Hunting: A Sure Fire Way to Get Your Kids Excited About Reading
 Author: Whitney Hollingshead
 Disclosure: This is a guest post, meaning I am not the author of this article nor am I claiming to be. I have not been compensated for this publication.

Everyone loves discovering a hidden treasure. The rush of finding an item of value after a challenging hunt is thrilling for all ages. Pretending to be a pirate may never get old. Consequently, setting up a treasure hunt at home might be the perfect way to help your children discover the hidden treasures found in books.

Let’s begin by discussing the basics of setting up a successful treasure hunt at home. Then we will go over how to adapt a treasure hunt to the needs of your child based upon how they currently feel about reading.

The Top 7 Things to Consider When Setting Up Any Treasure Hunt:
1. Make sure the chosen hidden treasure holds great value for your child.
2. Make sure to hide the treasure in a safe place that won’t be destroyed by weather or pets.
3. Carefully document the process so that you don’t forget where you hid anything.
4. Don’t make the hunt too easy. Hunting for treasure should be a challenge.
5. Don’t make the hunt TOO challenging. Rather, cater the hunt to the abilities of your child.
6. Let your child dress up like a pirate to add extra excitement.
7. Let your child search for awhile, before giving them additional tips.
Now that you understand the ground rules to setting up a treasure hunt, scope out the options below and choose the type of hidden treasure that will best fit the reading preferences of your child. 


If you have a child that LOVES to read, then selecting the perfect hidden treasure should be relatively easy. A few weeks before the hunt, find out which book your child is most excited to read next. This may be a book you already own, or you may need to purchase a new book. (Getting the book from the library is probably not the best idea, as you want your child to have the opportunity to keep the hidden treasure.) If possible, you may want to consider getting a slightly more advanced book to challenge your child, in addition to giving them the book of their choice. 

If you have a child that would rather ‘walk the plank’ than read a book, then choosing the perfect hidden treasure might be a little bit more difficult. Spend some time thinking about your child’s interests. Carefully select some new books on various topics that your child is currently really excited about. If the discovered hidden treasure immediately appeals to the interests of your child, you increase the odds that they will be curious enough to crack the covers.

Create a treasure box to hold the treasure. You can decorate a shoebox with paper, stickers, and even glue on some plastic jewels. 

Next, decide where you want hide the treasure. You could hide the box in the bushes, bury it in the sandbox, leave it in your mailbox (if the mail has already come for the day), or hide it behind a rock. You know your yard better than anyone, which means you already know the best place to hide a small box.

Now it’s time to make your map. Begin by turning your yard into a secret island. Survey the yard and think about comparisons you can make in your yard to an island. For example, any trees can become palm trees. If you have a playset, that can become the castle. If you have a picnic table, that can become the pirate ship. You can also use other symbols like a pirate sword, an anchor, a pirate flag, dolphins, waves, etc. to represent various aspects of your yard. Just make sure the map is consistent with the actual layout of your yard. And don’t forget to mark the spot of the treasure with a big ‘X’ and draw a treasure box near the ‘X’.
Once you have “buried” the treasure, and finished your map, it’s time to get the hunt started! Once your child is decked out in their pirate gear, give them the map and set them loose. Be sure to stay close by to take pictures, and to help if they really get stuck on their search. Once the treasure has been located, set aside some time for your child to really enjoy the spoils of their discovery.


As you know, your child pays close attention to what you do. While planning a treasure hunt will help increase your child’s love of reading, don’t forget the influence you can have on reading every day. Take time to read to your child and to have your child read to you. Also, don’t ever forget that if your child catches you reading a book for fun, they will most likely have a more positive outlook on reading too.

Whitney Hollingshead was a book loving buccaneer who grew up to be a professional writer for Dinar Daddy. She still loves escaping on literary adventures and believes that reading is one of the greatest ways to both travel the world and travel through time.

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