Treasure Hunt for the Twins

It’s been a while since I’ve spent some quality time with my nephew and niece, so I assembled a treasure hunt at our home, and asked my Mom to drop them off for a couple of hours of Uncle babysitting. Some planning was required beforehand, with a few “treasures” that needed to be buried in order to look like they’d been there for a while, and the making of a treasure map.

The map had to look distressed and old. Some rolling and weathering, along with judicious burning of the edges, contributed to its ancient feel, and I placed it in a corner of the storage attic, telling the twins I thought I had seen it around there and sending them in to find it on their own, Goonies-style. I think they were onto me, but they went along with just enough suspension of disbelief to enjoy the adventure.

The day started out sunny, but the cold soon advanced, and some strange cloud-cover issued spells of snow during part of our backyard journey. With Halloween just around the corner, I had added a few elements of spookiness to the trail that led to the treasure: a half-way buried skull in the “secret passageway” (the dark walkway – only allowing enough room for a small child – between a towering hedge of Thuja and an old fence) and a pair of ‘Fairy Trap Kits’ that held all the lures to capture those pesky fairies (who could be both good or bad depending on what lesson one was trying to impart).

For those who do not know about the best ways to catch a fairy, the most effective bait is a mixture of glitter, feathers, bells, and the tiniest little clothespins (because fairies are constantly in need of clothespins).

At one point in the path, I’d suspended two small nets of chocolate coins. Hung by relatively-invisible clear plastic thread, they seemed to float in the air, gently spinning and swaying, and the kids were so eager to grab at them they barely noticed the string.

After making it to the end of the hunt, digging up their buried treasure (don’t tell them, but the jewels were made of plastic), and exhausting themselves with some fairy-trap-setting, we headed into the warmth of the house, with cups of hot cocoa and miniature marshmallows. From there we watched for signs of fairies, while Uncle Andy and Emi had a heart-to-heart over cocoa.

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