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Don’t Leave it to the Goonies


I have been devoting this week to ways to engage young minds over the summer.  Here is the breakdown so far: Camp Wonderopolis, Maker Camp, Making Movies.  Last summer, I also did a series of posts on avoiding the “summer slide”, and you can access all of those links, including a ton of suggestions for using the ubiquitous pool noodle, here.

I don’t know about you, but one of my favorite movies of all time is The Goonies.  I think it appeals to the inner child in all of us – the quest for adventure and the ability to figure out the answers to diabolical clues.  Of course, we don’t want to expose our children to the danger faced by the movie characters.  But we can still give them a taste of the fun – and even join in on it, too.  Here are some various levels of “hunts” that might get the entire family involved:

Make Your Own

  • Klikaklu – You can use this iOS app to create scavenger hunts that are triggered by images you choose.
  • QR Codes – You can use this easy QR Treasure Hunt Generator  to develop a fun mission for any child with access to a mobile device that has a QR code scanning app.
  • GeoSettr – You can create a fun geography challenge using this web-based site that utilizes Google Street View and GeoGssr.

Provided For You

  • Geocaching – If you have not tried this free adventure that is fun for the whole family, I highly encourage you to give it a try.  It will get you outside, and you will often learn more about the area that you are in than you ever realized you didn’t know!  For a great introduction to this sport, I recommend: “How to Have a Family Treasure Hunt: Geocaching with Kids.”
  • Brain Chase – This is not free ($199), but looks quite intriguing.  It’s an innovative concept from some parents based in Austin, Texas, but it is designed to be global.  According to the site, Brain Chase is “a 6-week summer learning challenge disguised as a massive global treasure hunt for 2nd−8th graders. A golden globe has been buried somewhere on earth – and it contains the key to a safe deposit box holding a $10,000 college scholarship fund.”  Because it’s new (and $199), I have no experience with it.  If you participate, I would love to hear your thoughts!

Remember, it doesn’t have to be up to the adults to create the fun.  Older children enjoy creating scavenger hunts just as much as participating in them!  Just make sure you go over internet safety as well as outdoor safety (particularly if you are geocaching – we were attacked by a turkey vulture guarding her eggs one time when we poked around in a hollow tree!) before the exploring commences!


Education, Games, K-12, Social Studies, Websites

National Geographic Families

from "Family Treasure Hunting"
from “Family Treasure Hunting”

This week, I am focusing on providing resources to “Squash the Summer Slide” as ReadWriteThink puts it. Parents often ask me at this time of year for ideas to keep students challenged over the summer.  National Geographic Families has some links that might be of particular interest during the next three months.

Try out the geography games from National Geographic here

Geographic Groceries puts a new twist on what can be a humdrum chore.

Here’s a neat Meerkat Survival game that a family or group of kids could play.

Though it’s not from National Geographic, GeoGuessr is an interesting detective game using Google Street View.  You must try to derive the correct location by looking for clues in the photos.

If you are feeling very adventurous, then your family should try geocaching.  You can visit “Family Treasure Hunting” to learn more about this fun and educational activity.