Helen Bertelli grew up in England enjoying treasure hunts as a child. When she had kids of her own, she began staging hunts for them and their friends in Wake Forest's Heritage neighborhood.
But good hunts that were also educational take a long time to create, Bertelli tells me.
"I started looking around for pre-made hunts and could find none," she said. So Bertelli decided to do it herself.
“After a while, neighborhood kids rang the doorbell every day after school, asking for treasure hunts,” says Bertelli. “At that point I knew I was on to something special.”
Clued in Kids began in November 2013. Bertelli's product already is available in more than 20 retail stores around the country and Canada. Locally, they are found at Ship on Site and Lily Mae's in Wake Forest; Science Safari in Cary; and the Teach Me Store and Marbles Kids Museum in Raleigh. You also can print treasure hunts from the company's website.
A treasure hunt uses a set of hidden clues that lead to a treasure. With Clued in Kids, kids uncover the clues by answering questions about math, history or Spanish, for instance. The hunts can be played by one to 10 kids ages 4 and up. It takes an adult about eight minutes to set up in any home. Once the set-up is done, the kids can do it on their own.
I used Clued in Kids' free software to create a quick hunt for my kids, ages 9 and 4. I included educational questions like what is 270 divided by 9 or what color does red and blue make and fun ones like what is the name of Anna's sister in the movie "Frozen."
Bertelli, who I'll have more about in the coming weeks, shared five tips for creating a fun Easter treasure hunt on her own blog, which I'll share here. I'm excited for Easter morning and this alternative to the usual mad scramble for Easter eggs.
Five Secrets of a Awesome Easter Treasure Hunt
1. The clues in a treasure hunt are the key to prolonging the hunt (and the fun); they can be as easy or as challenging as you would like – from counting carrots in a simple picture to answering multiplication problems.
2. Consider using the free Clued In Kids puzzlemaker software to create clues. Simply enter questions with one word answers on the web page (i.e. “In which month is Easter?….April.” ”What is Bugs Bunny’s favorite food?….carrots”) and the puzzlemaker will generate a crossword-type clue that you can use in your treasure hunt.
3: Incorporate eggs into your hunt by hiding the clues inside eggs, or making a clue with an answer that leads to eggs.
4. Get kids working in a team by assigning clues to each child. You can assign trickier clues to older kids, easier to younger.
5. Make the Easter basket the ‘treasure’ at the end of the hunt.