The Treasure Seekers Arrive - The Clues - Hot on the Trail - At Last! - The Victors Return in Triumph - And Then Comes Tea

A children's treasure hunt in the garden is great fun.

Any number of children can take part in hunting for the pirate's hidden treasure, bat it is a good plan to have equal numbers of boys and girls, so that they can choose partners and hunt in couples.

One or two grownups must be persuaded to join in the fun, to help make and hide the clues, and to draw up the charts and cryptograms beforehand. The hostess will need to provide as many charts, cryptograms (drawn up to suit the special features of the garden or beach), locks of hair, wild china beasts, old boots and shoes (old satin slippers answer excellently), and cardboard footprints for the treasure-hunt clues as there are pairs of treasure seekers (each couple being warned to take only one of each clue between them), besides two prizes (in a single box) for the lucky pair of treasure finders.

The treasure seekers should be invited for not later than three o'clock, and on arrival the little girls are offered a tray of differently coloured bows to choose from, each one taking a bow of her favourite colour and pinning it into the front of her frock.

Now tell the boys that before claiming a little girl as partner each one must provide himself with a bow which matches hers in colour, and that the bows will be found in a hedgerow, or beneath the branches of some low spreading tree, the direction being pointed out to them before they dash off in search of their bows.

As the treasure seekers succeed in pairing off according to bows, they are told to run to where the judge is seated, armed with a pile of pirate's charts, in each one of which is drawn a diagram to help the children in their search for the hidden treasure!

Rival claims. The question is settled by the girl choosing as partner the boy whose bow matches her own in colour

Rival claims. The question is settled by the girl choosing as partner the boy whose bow matches her own in colour

The partners receive from the judge a copy of the pirate's chart, a diagram which will help them in their search

The partners receive from the judge a copy of the pirate's chart, a diagram which will help them in their search

The awe inspiring cover of the pirate's chart

The awe-inspiring cover of the pirate's chart

Each chart is ornamented with a black pirate's flag on the cover, and on looking inside it the treasure seekers see first of all a little winding path with arrows marked along it, down which they evidently have to go.

Off they start at full speed down the only path in sight, and a run of a few minutes brings them to a row of white cardboard footprints, one of which, according to chart directions, each couple have to pick up and carry with them as a clue!

The diagram of the chart, showing the direction to be taken by the searchers for the buried treasure

The diagram of the chart, showing the direction to be taken by the searchers for the buried treasure

This is most exciting, for it proves that they are really on the right track. A glance at the chart helps them to find the next clue - this time one of a set of "dangerous wild beasts in a marshy jungle," which prove to be china lions, tigers, and bears, concealed in the long grass beside the duck-pond. They add one of these to their collection, and then, after consulting the chart again, they enter the gloomy forest (none other than the darkest corner of the shrubbery!) to find some tresses of hair which belonged to an unhappy victim of the pirate.

This has to be disentangled carefully, as it consists of thick knitting wool wound all about in the bushes, and must not be broken or cut.

The pirate's cast-off boots, discovered under a rose-bush, complete the list of necessary clues which must be shown to the judge before each pair of competitors can get a copy of the cryptogram which tells the exact hiding-place of the buried treasure. Here is an example of a cryptogram which could be altered to suit any conditions:

Cryptogram

"R-n t-----k tr- - st-mp -n g-rd-n. Gh-stly wh-t- h-nd w-ll p- -nt t- h-dd-n tr- -s-r-."

Key To Cryptogram

The problem really is not very difficult to solve. Only the vowels have been omitted from the words, but probably it will take the children quite a long time to realise the fact. The sentence then will read as follows:

Discovering the pirate's footmarks, one of which must be taken by each couple and carried as a clue

Discovering the pirate's footmarks, one of which must be taken by each couple and carried as a clue

"Run to oak-tree stump in garden. Ghostly white hand will point to hidden treasure."

Down upon the grass they fling themselves to rack their brains for the key before the others solve the riddle!

One little couple get it first, and on they go to the oak-tree stump - a landmark in the garden - and there they find the ghostly white cardboard hand pointing to where to dig!

The Winners

Five minutes of excited rummaging in the long, tangled undergrowth - for the others are near at hand, and plunging towards them through the bushes, having solved the cryptogram by this time, too - and just as they are about to break upon the scene to dispute the ownership of the precious hidden treasure, something hard and square comes to light beneath the pair of treasure seekers' feet.

And, hurrah! - it proves to be a small white box tied with red ribbon, and inside are two toy watches, made to wind up, which are put on proudly before returning in triumph for tea, spread out of doors under a wide-spreading beech-tree.

If the treasure hunt can take place along by the seashore, so much the better, the clues being arranged beside rocks, breakwater, or in any little cave, and the buried treasure being concealed in a small, realistic-looking barrel to represent the pirate's booty!

A difficult task. Unravelling the cryptogram which unfolds the secret of the buried treasure D 26

A difficult task. Unravelling the cryptogram which unfolds the secret of the buried treasure D 26

The  ghostly white hand  of the cryptogram pointing to the spot where the treasure lies hid

The "ghostly white hand" of the cryptogram pointing to the spot where the treasure lies hid

Yes; the seaside is the ideal place for a treasure hunt. There it is easy to make the route interesting and difficult to follow; whilst, to children's minds, rocks and caves, of course, are sacred to pirates.

Suitable environment adds as greatly to the charm of a game in youthful eyes as in those of "grownups." So let the fascination of the pirate find satisfactory outlet during a seaside holiday in the form of a treasure hunt.