Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Clued In Kids (A Schoolhouse Crew Review)

Clued in Kids is a company started by a woman who wanted to see children spending time having fun, without a TV or device screen in front of their faces.  Drawing on childhood memories of setting up countless treasure hunts as a child, she created the Clued in Kids program.  It's a compilation of many treasure hunts - some educational, some holiday-themed, but all of them easy to set up (under eight minutes!) the provide fun for small groups.  We received two treasure hunts to review:  Christmas Treasure Hunt - Gift in a Greeting Card ($9.95) and Gluten Free Treasure Hunt ($5.99).

Christmas in a Greeting Card

We have spent a lot of time on the road during the review period, traveling with visiting family.  I purposely left this one for while we were away.  Though the idea is that they hunts can take less than 10 minutes to do, I decided to draw it out and give them something to look forward to each day in a hotel.  It's geared for kids 4 and up, but even the older boys (13 and 16) got a kick out of it (even if they won't admit they did). 

This hunt was a packet that we received in the mail.  Inside our treasure box pouch were clue cards and two sheets of temporary tattoos.  It was small - less than 5x7 inches, so it slips easily into my purse for the trip.  I admit, it took a little more effort to do it this way.  For example, it's been too warm for coats most days.  Instead, I just hid one clue where the coats *belonged* which forced them to think and not react.

 (We had jackets in the car, and one kid dove for my car keys before I said the clue was in the hotel room, NOT the car.)   It also had us being more creative - one clue said to hide it in the clothes dryer.  Not having one of those nearby, I hid it in the suitcase and simply told them to look where the laundry was.

This clue belonged with the pajamas. Instead of having to pick one child's jammies to risk a clothing explosion in hunting for, this clue was left on the bed, held down by Jude's bear, Bluey.

Originally, I had planned to do this hunt before our friends came, including decorating at least one tree with lights to create the hunt-required "Christmas tree."However, I had a lot more cleaning to do than I had anticipated, so when we ran out of time, rather than adding "put up a tree" while we were trying to get ourselves ready, I decided to let others put the "tree" up for me.  We haven't quite finished the hunt yet, because we're on the hunt for any lit-up tree.  We actually passed by one yesterday, but nobody noticed it (or at least, when I said, "Hey! There's a tree with Christmas lights on it!" nobody took the bait.)  I will have to be more obvious when we go by the next one.  This is a hunt that would be really cute to do if you're traveling over the Christmas Holidays (you don't have to knock on your neighbor's door to sing a Christmas carol when you have a "captive audience" at the hotel's front desk!).  We are using the tatoos and some candy as a prize when the last clue is sorted out (again, because we're not home and a prize is one more thing to pack), but you could even use it as a lead up to Christmas with a small gift under the tree on Christmas Eve when the last clue is found.

Gluten Free Treasure Hunt

This hunt is designed for PK/Elementary students. We decided to try it because due to allergies we have a generally gluten-free diet, and received a PDF copy of the clues to print out. Working in two-man teams of one big/one lilttle kid, the older boys sort of enjoyed it (even they were a bit over the hunt-the-clue part, they were interested in the science-y part) but it was way over Jude and Damien's heads.  It was far too much information for them, even when broken into teams with Luke and Matthew.  This is one that I'd leave for older elementary students, maybe as part of a health lesson.  The older boys felt a bit contrived - I think mainly because we tried to work on it as a standalone thing, rather than as a fun activity as part of something we were already doing.  I think Celia (age 10) might have enjoyed it, but it was too much for the little boys (ages 7 and 4) and deemed "kind of silly" by the teen boys. 

I also have to admit, I wasn't enamored with the "No Hot Dogs/Cookies/Pizza" artwork.  Sure, we don't eat your standard hot-dog-cart or pizza-shop fare, but there are more and more gluten free options for familiar gluten-laden foods.  (Frozen gluten free pizza is a staple on our shopping list, and Amazon delivers gluten free cookies on auto-ship.)  I think either a wheat sheaf or labeled flour bins would be a better choice.

We enjoyed the Christmas-themed Clued in Kids treasure hunt, even if we weren't crazy about the Gluten Free hunt.  Less than eight minutes of planning leads to an hour (or more!) of fun, making it a great activity for the entire family.  Click the banner below to see what other families thought about their hunts, or connect with Clued in Kids via social media!

Twitter: @cluedinkids

Click to read Crew Reviews

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