It’s true that adventures are good for people even when they are very young. Adventures can get in a person’s blood even if he doesn’t remember having them. ~Eva Ibbotson
This year, I had grandiose plans for Kyle’s Christmas gift, but alas they fell through. So I found myself scrambling for his gift. Keep in mind, I was up against time constraints and a 15-year old who has way too much in terms of stuff. I was at a loss for last minute Christmas gift ideas. Reluctantly, I turned to the ever popular and safe bet, gift cards. Yes, I buckled. However, my gift cards were strategic. I got him iTunes (which I found out he has Google play, so money took that place), a movie card, since he likes to frequent the movies with his friends, and a Seven Springs snowboarding gift card, something we haven’t done in the last couple of years, but something we’ve always done together.
Instead of simply handing the kid the gift cards, because where’s the fun in that, I got creative. I wanted Kyle to work for his gifts, plus have a little adventure and fun. I made Kyle a custom scavenger hunt. Why not? I make them all the time for Thrill of the Hunt, and I’ve yet to do one for Kyle.
The idea rocked! At least from my perspective, and from the enthusiasm and smiles that radiated from Kyle’s face, I’d say my assumption was correct.
There’s so many different ways to create a scavenger hunt. This one, I added a lot of items that mean something, heirloom furniture, inside jokes, Kyle’s dog and so on. Truth be told, I had a blast creating the scavenger hunt, and I had an even better time watching Kyle go through it.
I started off making Kyle a Christmas card that was placed under the tree. I knew he thought he was getting money or gift cards, he was correct, but not that easily. The front of the card gave Kyle an overview of what was happening, that he had to follow the clues exactly, how many clues were given, and how many gifts:
Get ready for a Christmas adventure of fun & prizes
Follow 10 clues to find your gifts of all sizes
But be warned, follow the instructions to a T
Hints are few, your Christmas gift rewards are 3
Let’s get started. Good luck Buddy!
On the inside of the card, I gave Kyle his first clue, which had multiple steps.
Venture out to see the ladies
Also stop by House of Hades
Collect the clues at each spot
They’re hints for your next trot
The first part “ladies” is a joke in our household referring to our chickens in the chicken coop. The second part “House of Hades” referred to the 4th book from Rick Riordan, Heroes of Olympus series. Kyle was a big fan of the books. Each location contained a clue, the chickens housed the clue – Bowl, and the book contained the other clue – Punch.
You got it. Kyle had to look in our punch bowl, which was brought back from my parents when they lived in Germany while my Dad was in the service. Our family tradition is to bring out the punch bowl every year for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Over the years, Kyle has taken over the punch making responsibilities.
Clue number three was a blast, literally. Dad just got me a new .12 gauge shotgun. I figured I’d work it into the equation. Plus, it’s been a while since Kyle shot a gun and I thought he might have a little fun blowing apart a milk jug.
Your next clue points to a gift
Remember backyard safety -be swift
Any shotgun holds the key
Shoot the jug to set it free
In the backyard, I had a plastic milk jug filled with water and a clue floating inside (wrapped in a sandwich bag). Kyle went straight toward the gun safe, pulled out my .12 gauge shotgun and shot at the jug, a few times for fun. Once he was satisfied that the jug was pulverized sufficiently, he pulled out the clue Behind the guitar! Not only did this location contain another clue, a rebus which was a little harder to solve, but he also received an iTunes gift card.
The answer to the rubus was a bit tricky, but I couldn’t make it too easy on my guy.
The answer was, Aunt Heather’s Gravy Boat. I made the gravy boat out of clay when I was in high school. Since that time the gravy boat, like the punch bowl has made its appearance at the holidays. The gravy boat housed a black light. I wrote messages and some clues in invisible ink along the way. Kyle loved that! It added another element of excitement and adventure to the scavenger hunt.
Throughout the scavenger hunt, I included a Christmas ornament Kyle got my Dad in 2013, which held another clue hanging in the Christmas tree. I included Kyle’s guitar, our punch bowl (mentioned above), a few books, a chess table built by my Grandpap Chester (a family heirloom piece, and Kyle and I like to play chess) and naturally Scooby, Kyle’s dog, who carried a clue around his neck.
Here’s the clue I placed around Scooby. I didn’t place it on the dog until Kyle was close to the clue, for fear Kyle would jump ahead or worse, the dog would scratch it off.
Take a selfie with me Kyle!
Take me for a walk, let’s stop at the apple tree
Let’s take Seven, we’ll both run & be free
Kyle and I used to take the dogs (Seven is my dog) for walks all the time, and every Easter was spent in the orchard in the backyard collecting Easter eggs. Kyle has also helped plant many of those trees on the property. Not only was this location significant, but I also wanted to test Kyle’s tree knowledge. He found it no problem. Of course, I heard him ask my Dad which tree was the apple. I had no problem with Kyle phoning a friend, so to speak.
In Kyle’s room, I hung one of my old snowboards as a shelf, and recently I added another snowboard to the wall. Kyle and I have been snowboarding together since he was 4-years old, except for the last couple of years.
Under the Lamar, under the Ride
Another gift is found on the backside
For you & a friend to crush the slopes
You might have to show your friend the ropes
The one snowboard was a Lamar and my old snowboard was a Ride. I got Kyle a gift card to Seven Springs for him and a friend. I told Kyle I’d take him up alone so he could get his feet back on before going up with a friend, and I’d be tagging along. Of course, I plan on riding the slopes, but I doubt I’d be welcomed with the young duo.
During the entire scavenger hunt, I had Kyle complete easy and difficult clues and challenges. He even allowed me to shoot video clips of his excursion. That really made my Christmas Eve day! I’m sure Kyle won’t remember the gift cards or when he used them, but I’ll bet he’ll remember the scavenger hunt for ever.
Here’s my video montage of Kyle’s Christmas Scavenger Hunt adventure.
Great job Kyle! I hope you enjoyed it.