If you’re looking for something for children or yourself to do over the Christmas period feel free to use the following indoor treasure hunt that was created for a church youth club in 2000.
It is not too hard – provided the instructions on the clues are followed, but younger children will probably need help solving some of the puzzles. Work in teams if you can and the information and clue sheets required to solve the clues can be hidden around a hall or a house (as we did) to make it more fun. It was designed to keep the youth club busy for half an hour which it very easily did – but they needed help as did some leaders!! Sorry no prizes here for solving it and our church group found they had to sing for theirs… literally!
- Print out the following materials (or read them here and try and solve it online if you fancy, but you’ll need pencil and paper…)
- The treasure hunt answer sheet. Give one to each team / person to write their answers. Print it at the top of a sheet of standard A4 or US letter size. They will need the extra paper for working out.
- The 5 clues given below, each on a separate piece of paper
- Words to some well known carols including
“O come all ye faithful”
“Away in a manger”
- Various fact sheets about the origins and history of Christmas, Carols, Christmas Trees, Birth of Jesus, St Nicholas / Santa Claus. At least one should include information about what Christmas was like in the 1400’s, and another on carols.
Just remember you do need a fact sheet with the information about Christmas in the 1400’s and one about Carols particularly the answer to Clue 5.
- You will also need to have, find or borrow a bible and leave it lying around with or near other books (you only need the New Testament part).
- If you want, hide the clues in plain sight around the house or hall (at least those bits you don’t mind others going into). Fact sheets can also be displayed in plain sight around the house or just left accessible on a table. The carol sheets can be left around for fun, but also required, you’ll understand when you solve it…
- When ready get everybody doing it to work in pairs or small teams, preferably so that younger youth/children have older helpers. Give each team one of the answer sheets a pencil or pen and let them go off to find the clues, solutions and solve the puzzle…
- Don’t forget a prize or prizes for those that finish or solve it first.
“Santa Claus” is the American pronunciation of the Dutch name for Saint Nicholas, what is the Dutch name?
Break this cipher to find the next clue:-
wlanl oedakahg pqhjjet nloapqfsp ieagk nedeiosqet?
tip: the cipher uses substitution and the answer from Clue 1 as the ‘key word’ (Note: if the key word has any double or repeated letters (it does!!), only use the first occurrence of a letter and ignore any repeats, e.g. “moon” would be written as “mon” and Christmas would be “Christma”).
Once you have the keyword break the cipher by first writing out the alphabet in sequence like so….
(the following example uses “Christmas” as the keyword).
a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z
Now write the key word out above this
(in this example the Key word “Moon” is written as >> ‘mon’ because it has two o’s – so the second ‘o’ is dropped.)
m o n a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z
Carry on writing out the remaining letters of the alphabet in alphabetical sequence (obviously omitting those used in the key word)
m o n a b c d e f g h i j k l p q r s t u v w x y z a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z
To decipher the message look up the letter in the top row and then write down the letter below it in the bottom row. E.g. using the above code “hfkd” is the word “King” look up “h” in the top row and you’ll see “k” is below it, etc…
Once you have solved the code and the question go to Clue 3.
Solve these anagrams:
Use the edible one!!
The last two anagrams in Clue 3 tell you where to look to find the answer to this next question if you don’t already know the answer…
Which country was Jesus taken to, to escape Herod?
Which carol is now sung in more than 180 languages!!?
Christmas Treasure Hunt by Kit Logan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.