Journey Across America: National Treasure Hunt

We finished off our Journey Across America yesterday with a National Treasure Hunt. The girls had to use all the verses and facts they learned this summer to navigate their way from clue to clue. We ended at Power Play, which is our local arcade/go-kart/laser tag/bowling/all-around family fun place. The treasure was $15 cards to go play. Despite a few kinks thrown into the plan by the 20-minute rainstorm that closed the pool and made several of our clues soggy--words written in Sharpie hold up well in the rain; the paper they're written on, not so much.

We started with pizza for dinner so nobody would be searching for clues on an empty stomach. Just as we set out for our first stop, Maple Brook park in honor of our visit to New Hampshire, it started to rain. At the park, the girls found copies of the Declaration of Independence. Remembering what Ben Gates did in National Treasure, they promptly figured out that there was a hidden message on the back. They dumped grape juice on the back to find the next clue. They recited their verse and headed off to my parents house.

At my parents house, they had to find clues hidden in the furniture (a reference to our visit to North Carolina). Once they found the clues, they had to put them in order so they formed a sentence. They told their driver the requested verse and the North Carolina state motto and headed for the next stop. At this stop, we encountered the "bad guys" (the girls' dads) who were busy trying to steal the clues and the girls' hats. Every time a bad guy got a clue or a hat, the girls had to stop and recite any of their verses. The bad guys followed us around from this point on.

The next stop was the girls' elementary school because that's where they see many of their friends (a nod to our stop in Texas). The girls rounded up clues in the form of cows in the driving rain. Once they found all their cows, they had to figure out the clue written on the backs of the cows. They said their verse and state motto and headed for the next destination, which was supposed to be the pool.

Because of the only thunder and lightning we've seen in two weeks, the Oregon Trail pool (a reference to our Kansas visit) was closed. We tossed splash balls in the grass, and had them run to find them. Their next clue was written on the splash balls. They recited their verse and moved on.

We found all 50 states represented on coloring pages that at one time were hung along the fence in our neighbor's back yard. By the time we arrived, however, all of the papers were wet and on the ground. As we walked around and did our best to unfold them, the girls searched for the states we had visited. Those papers had words that would form their clue. They wrote those words down and had to unscramble them to decipher their clue, which was to find the mistake in Philippians 3:13-14 and the Preamble to the Constitution (a nod to what we learned in Wisconsin).

After successfully fixing the mistakes, they moved on to our back yard where they had to dig through the sand (remember the sand dunes in Idaho?) to find their next clue, which told them to recite a verse. The last clue told them to look at their hats. The hats had numbers and a key to cracking the code written on the underside of the brim. They decoded the letters, then had to put them in order to spell out our final destination, Power Play.

When they arrived at Power Play, they had to recite Matthew 6:33 and mark all the states we had visited on a map. When they were done, they had to answer the question, "What is our greatest treasure?" Then, they got their Power Play cards, and we spent the next two hours playing games, riding go-karts and collecting tickets.

The girls had a great time, and I think I had as much fun as they did. I know God was smiling as these six girls were running around town, constantly spouting His word.