Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Decoding the Runic Alphabet (Viking Facts Treasure Hunt)

My 9-year-old son loves codes, history, and treasure hunts. This activity combines all three.

When he got home from after school, I handed him a Viking Runes Encryption sheet and the first of six clues. 

Each clue contains facts about the life and times of Vikings as well as runes that required he decode them and a hint as to where to find the next clue.

Our oldest son read the clue at the bottom of each card allowed, giving his 5-year-old brother an opportunity to get in on the action, and guess the location of the next clue.

Clues lead them to our bathtub, my jewelry box, front door's deadbolt, refrigerator, games closet, and lastly our living room sofa. Click on the clue or encryption sheet to download my PDF free on Google Drive.

In the end, my eldest had to use the small runes in the corner of each clue to identify the location of his prize (couch), which he acquired after reading a wonderful graphic novel history book. (Think comic book meets ancient history!)

His prize was a punch card for free electronic (i.e. iPad or DS) minutes; our boys have to do chores to earn their time otherwise.

Want to make your own decoding treasure hunt? Print the encryption sheet and use it as a guide! To get kids ready for this activity, give them a fun interactive novel (think choose-your-own-adventure). I don't think I've ever seen our oldest son get so excited over a book before. He LOVED this!

My sons had so much fun with this activity and our oldest really liked the books I paired with it. After we were done, my oldest boy even wrote me a note using the Runic Alphabet that when decoded revealed "I love you."