How to Create a Neighborhood Treasure Hunt

By Megan Hanson

“I decided to try something new … and it has been incrediby popular. Everyone has been loving having an activity to do while social distancing,” says Alexandra MacDonald, steward of Little Free Library #20834 in Toronto, Ontario. (Find her library and thousands more on our world map.So what is the activity that she came up with? A neighborhood no-contact treasure hunt, with the first clue taped to her little library!

“I’ve always made elaborate treasure hunts. We closed our little library in mid-March due to COVID-19 and decided it would be fun to do a little neighbourhood walking treasure hunt,” says Alexandra. “We’ve had both families with kids do it and full-grown adults just looking for something different to do on a walk.”

How does the treasure hunt work? You create a series of clues and each clue leads participants to a different part of the neighborhood. The clues could be taped to little libraries, buildings (with the owner’s permission), lamp posts, etc. Each clue has a letter on it; Alexandra used letter stickers. Participants must keep track of the letters as they go along and at the end, they must unscramble the letters to reveal a secret code word. Then, they email that code word to the treasure hunt organizer to see if they got it right!

You can get the exact clues Alexandra used on her treasure hunt by clicking the image above or by downloading this PDF document. Her treasure hunt involved 2 km of walking (1.2 miles) and took about 40 minutes to complete. “Everyone loves it,” she says. “From older adults looking for something different, to families with younger kids desperately wanting to keep them safely entertained outside!”

This is just one more way that Little Free Library volunteer stewards are creatively using their little libraries to help their neighbors! Don’t have a library but want one? Learn how to start a Little Free Library.

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