After finding a solution to the maze I texted the kids a link to a photograph. It was an illustration from a children’s book tucked away on a bookshelf, unread in probably 10 years.


The kids knew from past treasure hunts this was the last leg of the annual adventure.


The clue tucked inside the book read “Follow the photos” with an photo of a clock on our family room bookshelf.

The final puzzle is a series of individual photographic clues, each one leading to a location where the kids would search for the next photo.

The images are intentionally abstract, overly specific and confusing. This tests everyone’s power of observation as they look at an image and try to remember where they have seen the object.


I included decorations on fine china, a refrigerator magnet, a tiny face from a calendar, logos, text on our alarm system and a shoe in the garage.


Many of the images are photos I snapped with my smartphone as I wandered around the house looking for hiding places. The most effective photos, the ones I chose to use, were well lit, in focus and not too busy. When you look at the images to the right you will see there is very little in the background to distract the viewer, it is really clear what you are supposed to pay attention to.


Once I have chosen my photos (and the corresponding hiding places) I print the clues as  2 inch square photos. I find that is much easier to hide.


The snowman was the final location, a holiday box that contained envelopes with presents for the kids as a payoff for the time and effort.

In total, including the domino debacle, the kids completed the Christmas Treasure Hunt in a little less than two hours. It was a great way to build collaborative skills, share an experience and build self-esteem through successful problem solving.


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