Halloween Treasure Hunt in French

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The first enigma is to find the grammar mistakes in the invitation. The clue is that there are two of them (both intentional, of course ūüėČ ).

We’ve been meaning to do a children’s treasure hunt for ages, but finally got around to it this year. It all started by me finding a ready-made treasure hunt for 6-7 years olds that was perfect for Sara and her friends (http://www.fleuruseditions.com/cavaliere-mysterieuse-l5991). They didn’t have anything for tweens, but luckily you can find anything on the Internet. Gilles found a French site specialized in scavenger hunts (¬†http://chasse-au-tresor.info/) and from there, well,¬†we got excited and things got a little crazy.

As the whole treasure hunt was¬†going to be in¬†French, the girls invited their bilingual¬†school friends. Some of the other materials were in English, but we felt that it wasn’t a problem if they learned some English in the process, too!¬† I discovered the world of free printables online, which is a fascinating¬†place where¬†you can spend way too much time.¬†Here are a few treasures that I found on my own hunt:

Scary bottle labels: http://c2marcano.blogspot.fi/2011/10/halloween-soda-labels-free-download.html

Candy bar wrappers: http://www.livinglocurto.com/2011/10/halloween-candy-bar/

and some more: http://www.chickabug.com/blog/2012/10/free-halloween-printables-round-up.html

We felt that we were well prepared, but, as so often, things didn’t go quite as expected. The night before it snowed¬†a little¬†and the¬†temperature was freezing. This meant that the morning of the hunt we first needed to rake the last leaves¬†with the neighbours,¬†lest there be more snow, before putting together the treasures, hiding the clues, preparing the snacks, finishing the little mermaid costume (don’t ask…), and so on. At some point, things got a bit tense (does this happen at anyone else’s house before a party or is it just us?), but when the children arrived, all 18 of them, we were¬† ready to take them on the hunt! Here are a few of the things we had prepared for them:

The treasure for the little ones who had “panier” (basket) as their last clue. I bought the printable bags at etsy.com for two euros.

Tween treasure from the outside

and from the inside

The tweens had 12 enigmas to solve before finding the treasure on our back yard. They did a great job and everyone seemed to have a good time. In the heat of the action we didn’t have time to take many pictures, but here are a few:

The little ones have figured out the enigma and found “la plante” where the next envelope is hidden.

Looks like the boys have figured out “corde √† linge”…

…but the girls still beat them to the treasure.

After a hunt, there’s nothing like a scary snack, right? Only one picture survived, but¬† think mommy dogs (inspired by: http://www.ourbestbites.com/2011/10/easy-halloween-party-food/) and drinks called zombie virus and devil’s delight!

Long story short, it was great. I did hear my husband utter the words “never again”, but after a good night’s sleep (with a bonus hour thanks to daylight saving time), he was already planning the next one!¬† Please¬†join us on our FB page www.facebook.com/bebilingual.net¬†to share your best ideas!

Language as a tool

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Most of our weekends are spent by the soccer field where we cheer on Emma game after game, rain or shine. This can sometimes be a bit tiresome for Sara who is prone to crankiness whenever we leave for a soccer game. The only thing that saves the day is usually the sweet roll that she gets from the booth where other soccer moms (and dads!) are trying to raise half of the money that they spent on ingredients to bake those sweet rolls.

Last weekend we made the strategic mistake of not bringing any cash with us and Sara had to watch one (ONE!) game without eating anything. We had just had lunch¬†at home, and she wasn’t hungry. Still, not getting her treat quickly became a disaster, and¬†she threw a temper tantrum¬†as only a¬†real drama queen can. Knowing that she wasn’t going to get to me with it,¬†she pleaded with her father : “Papa, papa, s’il te pla√ģt…” Her father (got to love him for that) didn’t give in either and ignored her as nothing he said was getting through to her.

What happened next was interesting. After calling out “papa” for a while from the bleachers where she was lying down as if she was too weak to get up (she’s really quite convincing at this), she switched into crying out the same thing in Finnish: “isk√§…isk√§…” She never, ever uses Finnish with her father and, much to our amusement,¬†we understood immediately that these cries were not intended for him. They were for the benefit of all the people around us who probably didn’t speak any French. By calling out to her dad in Finnish she was really saying to them: “Here I am, calling my father in great distress –¬†and he just ignores me. Surely the fact that I am letting everyone understand the situation will make him feel guilty and get me my sweet roll.” No, it didn’t, but¬†we were still fascinated by this new bilingual milestone that she had reached: using her languages for her own purposes. She’s only six, can’t wait to see how she’ll use this strategy¬†as a teenager!