What do slimy snails, crunchy leaves, rough tree bark, fragile flowers, and deceptively innocent looking poison ivy have in common? TREASURE HUNTS!!! Kids love treasure hunts! My kids are no exception and they thoroughly enjoyed finding these things during our “Touch & Feel Treasure Hunt” in the park. (Btw, we didn’t let them touch the poison ivy, but showed it to them and warned them not to touch it.)
“Do you know what your body’s largest organ is? It’s not your heart, liver, or lungs. It’s your skin! Your skin helps you feel what’s going on around you. It’s filled with millions of tiny receptors that feel things like hot, cold, soft, hard, wet, dry, and so much more! Scientists have been trying for a long time to make a computer or robot that can copy our sense of touch by feeling everything we can feel with our skin, but they haven’t been able to do it because it’s so complex and incredible. The Bible says, “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” Psalm 139:14 (ESV) God created you in a wonderful way and He wants you to enjoy Him and praise Him with the incredible body He has given you. He gave you your sense of touch to remind you how awesome He is so we’re going to have a treasure hunt with our sense of touch to help us enjoy God together. We’re going to find and touch things to see how they feel while we remember how awesome God is! Only He is wise, powerful, and wonderful enough to give us so many ways to enjoy the things He made!”
Go outside and lead the kids in finding and feeling lots of different things. (I did this with my kids this week and they LOVED it!) Ask them questions like: “What does it feel like?”, “Do you think the world would be boring if everything felt exactly the same?”, and “Who designed it to feel that way?” Encourage them to think about how awesome God is for creating the sense of touch and challenge them to keep enjoying it every day. When they feel something with their skin, they can pause and think about how awesome God is. With a bit of help even the littlest kids can enjoy Jesus this way.
Crazy Colors Treasure Hunt
Encourage kids to notice and appreciate the beautiful colors and bountiful blessings God has generously created for us to enjoy by guiding them on a Crazy Colors Treasure Hunt. This can be done inside or outdoors. Say something like:
“What’s your favorite color? What are some thinks you like that are that color? My favorite color is orange and I like orange things like oranges, flowers, peaches, tigers, and goldfish. I’m glad God made all those things. The Bible says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” [James 1:17 ESV] We have so many reasons to thank God, but sometimes we’re too busy to notice them. So we’re going to have a treasure hunt to look for things God has given us to enjoy and say “Thank You!” to Him. I’m going to say a color and you have to rush to find things that are that color for us to thank God for. Then I’ll shout “FREEZE!” and everyone has to freeze in place while I let some of you tell me some of the things you found and we thank God for them. Then I’ll say another color and we’ll play again.”
Depending on your environment, you may need to provide further instructions like “No running,” or “Work in teams,” but the overall gist is that the kids are enjoying Jesus by noticing the colors and blessings around them. Encourage them to keep doing this every day. Remind them they are constantly surrounded by colorful gifts from God and challenge them to pause whenever they see their favorite color and thank God for something that is that color. (By the way, what’s YOUR favorite color? Why not pause and thank God for something that is that color right now?)
Teach kids the joy of delighting in God’s creation by taking a walk and looking for interesting things to snap pictures of with your smartphone. Say something like:
“Do you like taking pictures with a camera? Pictures help us remember something that happened. They can also help us remember to praise God! The Bible says, “I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds.” God wants you to stop and think about the incredible things He has done. We’re going to use my camera to go on a treasure hunt that will help us stop and think about God’s awesome work.”
Simply go for a walk with your kids and let them find stuff they think is interesting (bugs, spiderwebs, a tiny flower, a cool rock, their own nostril, etc.) and let them take a picture of it. If they’re too young or maybe too “spontaneous” to hold the camera (We have one of THOSE kids!) you could let them press the button while you hold the device. If you’ve got lots of kids, let them take turns.
After your walk, pause to look through the pictures and let them tell you about each one. Together, thank God for the cool stuff He let you find and then take a selfie with your kids and tell them they are one of your very, very, very favorite things God ever made!
I’ve even done this treasure hunt with my indoor Sunday School class by taking pictures ahead of time and just showing them the cool stuff I saw in my backyard. The kids enjoy having turns looking at my phone and announcing to everyone else what the picture is. Then I can challenge them to try it for themselves during the week.
Treasure hunts like these are an easy activity that can help kids develop the important habit of noticing and enjoying God’s work in the world around them. It doesn’t have to be complicated. My kids do it automatically by filling empty yogurt containers, buckets, bags, and pockets with “treasures” they find in our backyard. All you’ve got to do is use this God-given inclination to guide them on the journey of enjoying Jesus. Have fun!