Our (child-driven) Leprechaun Scavenger Hunt

making gold coins

Guys.  I gotta tell you, the best thing ever happened on Saturday and it was a complete, beautiful, going-with-the-moment accident.

It started when we found out the kids weren’t allowed into an Irish music event we wanted to go to.  Mostly, they weren’t allowed because of the booze and drunken nature of the event (fair enough, really) but the boys found this grossly unfair (there has been much talk about the letters they want to write discussing equality & suggesting next year’s event involve kids.  It’s pretty cute).  Considering they have Irish blood, it’s been really important to them that they get to celebrate St. Patrick’s day.

They decided we were going to throw our own Irish Party and we discussed what would be involved when I brought up the idea of a scavenger hunt.  Somehow this led to a whole idea of the boys and I becoming leprechauns and making a scavenger hunt for Papa. It was all a secret and there was a good deal of scurrying around and whispering with their ‘I’ve got a secret’ faces on.  Papa was getting ready to go out to watch a rugby game and it was TORTURE for them to wait for him to leave.

As soon as he left they got started.  The making was furious.  J made the maps…so many maps.  Maps requiring lots and lots of pacing around the room, sitting and standing and SO MUCH DISCUSSING.  The maps never really played into the whole leprechaun scavenger hunt but they were essential in his mind and that was a beautiful thing to watch.  C, quietly started making gold coins out of paper and tape and we decided each clue would be taped to one of his gold coins.

making maps for the leprechaun treasure hunt

leprechaun treasure hunt notes

I worked with them to create a scavenger trail that made sense and was fun but, for the most part, they were calling the shots, which they clearly LOVED!  This was the most gleeful, concentrating-with-all-cylinders activity we have ever done.  Our trail wound around the house and also around the block.

leprechaun treasure hunt-child-directed

As soon as Papa got home they were jumping up and down and suggesting leprechauns had visited the house and left some clues.  C was so excited to be tricking Papa he could hardly stand it and kept really obviously winking at me.  I love when he thinks he’s being really smooth.  J was just a blur of constant motion and chatter.  The scavenger hunt itself was so much fun, the boys totally gave away the location of every single clue with their attempts to be ‘helpful’ and Papa was biting his lip so he wouldn’t laugh.

leprechaun treasure hunt - child-driven

The enthusiasm was sky-high. About halfway through the scavenger hunt, C bursts out with, “We are leprechauns!! We did this for you!”  It was awesome & I might have welled up a little bit.

leprechaun treasure hunt - child-driven

You know sometimes I pick out supplies ahead of time and prepare elaborate activities and they fall flat.  Or worse, they are interesting for 5 minutes and leave nothing but a mess behind.  This was a great reminder that these guys are ready to run their own show and it doesn’t need to be elaborate or expensive, it just needs to be theirs.

9 Comments on Our (child-driven) Leprechaun Scavenger Hunt

  1. Serena Gideon Rice
    March 16, 2014 at 9:09 pm (4 years ago)

    I love this! It’s both a darling story and a wonderful lesson for the rest of us plan-stuff -for-the-kids parents. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    • Melissa Q.
      March 17, 2014 at 9:29 am (4 years ago)

      Yes, it was interesting to see them react to being in charge. I think there is some balance between letting them take the lead and exposing them to something new. At least I hope so!

      Reply
  2. kristin
    March 17, 2014 at 2:13 am (4 years ago)

    aw man this is so cute. i’m sure it’s that thing they’ll remember forever! for a few years, my mom set up picture scavenger hunts for our birthday presents when i was a kid and it’s still a strong and fond memory. oh man to find a bike at the end?! coolest thing ever.

    Reply
    • Melissa Q.
      March 17, 2014 at 9:29 am (4 years ago)

      Oh my goodness! What a great idea…a birthday scavenger hunt sounds so fun! I think they will remember this one & I hope we get to do it again.

      Reply
  3. Jane
    March 17, 2014 at 9:20 am (4 years ago)

    Oh my goodness!! So so cute!! Sounds like a super fun time! It’s so fun to see how their little creative minds work, right?! 🙂 And oh my goodness…little kids in on little jokes is the cutest right?! Yesterday V totally tricked me, on purpose! It was hilarious and she was so happy/proud of herself!

    Reply
    • Melissa Q.
      March 17, 2014 at 9:30 am (4 years ago)

      Little V! I’m giving her a long-distance high five! Love the kid jokes and energy of being ‘in on it’. Yippee!

      Reply
  4. Pat
    March 17, 2014 at 5:52 pm (4 years ago)

    You described it so well, I can see it in my head. Thanks I was thinking about all of you a lot today.

    Reply

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