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Reunion Games Treasure hunts

by Karin Cameron

Maybe your relatives are thinking that the upcoming reunion doesn't have much going for it. "Same old, same old," they say.

Think about creating a treasure hunt as a way to add fun to your reunion. You could have a treasure hunt for adults and a separate one for children, or combine them. You can set up an elaborate or simple treasure hunt at home, in a park or any place where the reunion is held.

First ask family members questions. Then turn the responses into a way to unveil the clues. How can you stump your family?

Or, if you want to keep the treasure hunt a secret before the reunion, use clues from a line of a movie or from family history, or simply solve a riddle. For younger children at the reunion it can be as simple as clues found at one toy directing them to the next toy.

Next you need a map. This is where you must be creative. Think of all the hiding places where the hunt will be. You can go all-out making an elaborate map, or keep it simple.

Set up teams as an opportunity to pair kids with adults or relatives with new members of the family. Adults will love the thrill of something different at a reunion and new bonds will be made.

Your treasure hunt may also include challenges or tasks to complete, such as ring toss or balancing a book on their head. Think about all the ways you can make the treasure hunt a challenge. It can last one hour or one day, depending on the difficulty of the clues.

When setting up the discoveries or clues think of all the things kids or adults may not like to do. How about hiding a clue in a bowl of soggy bread? Or blindfold a participant who has to retrieve a clue--protected in a Ziploc bag--from a bowl of Jello (add olives or grapes for higher gross factor). Or set up a 15- to 20-piece puzzle, with a clue written on the back; participants must piece together the upside-down puzzle in order to read the clue before moving on to the next.

Children and adults can learn something new about a relative or make a new favorite family member. A treasure hunt is a learning opportunity to get everyone's brains going and spark conversation.

The main treasure doesn't have to be anything fancy or expensive. You can even ask relatives to bring treasures or send money to help cover costs. What about family reunion t-shirts as the treasure? You could have special desserts, a photo album to store future year's reunion pictures in, or an updated homemade family history book as treasure gifts.

You'll know you've been successful if you're asked for an encore in the future. And, as always, remember to take lots of pictures.

About the author

Karin Cameron has grown up with a bundle of summer time family reunions, all of which provided memories of laughable distinction and heartfelt smiles, not to mention a few horseshoe competitions and too many adults acting like children. She lives in Arizona with her husband.


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