All STEM careers are rooted in discovery of some form or another. Discovery requires hypotheses building, analysis, fact finding, process of elimination, and so much more. Creating a treasure hunt and/or going on a treasure hunt lights up all the parts of the brain as your typical Archaeologist, Bio-Engineer, Plant Engineer, Systems Analyst, Forestry Manager, and Geologist. Always encourage discovery in your young explorer. You never know if they'll be the next great ocean cartographer that finds an ancient viking ship on the floor of the Indian ocean.
Seriously, this activity can literally be done ANYWHERE. All it takes is a little imagination.
Project Materials List
Paper (for map...if you even want to do a map. You could just do clues.)
Slips of paper for clues that direct you to the next clue.
Pen or Pencil
A prize (or multiple prizes if you want to have a prize with each clue) e.g. candy, a small toy, a fresh new pack of socks and underwear (note: Socks and underwear are funny to parents, not kids.)
Related Web Links
There are lots of great "thought-starters" on this web page to help you get your treasure hunt set up.
Ideas, Notes, & Tips
Resist the urge to micro manage. That doesn't help the free learning process.
Let them make mistakes. Mistakes are an important element in the learning process.
In the future, anticipate a bout of boredom and set everything up the night before - after they go to bed. Once breakfast is over and boredom starts to set up, maybe you just happen to stumble upon a treasure map or first clue. Their excitement will take it from there.
Feel free to use basic household items and/or old toys they haven't played with in a while as your prizes.