Last night I attended the  SANS@night seminar “Nurturing the Next Gen: Creating Kid-Friendly Challenges for Fun and Mayhem”.  The talk was put on by Ed Skoudis, Kevin Johnson, and Josh Wright.

Both Ed and Josh presented very interesting ways to get your kids to think analytically and to begin to look at (and enjoy) topics like cryptology and non-base-ten number systems.

Ed described in “lively” detail how he constructs scavenger hunts for his and the neighbor’s kids each year at his family’s holiday party.  While listening, I remembered that I too have done this.

A few years ago, it was Trevor’s birthday and we bought him a gift that he would have never expected we would buy (a gaming console).  So rather than just simply wrap the gift and give it to him at his birthday party, I (like Ed) made finding it a challenge; I created a “Quest” to find his gift.

I dig through my old notes and I found it…

Clue 1
GPS Coordinates
[Solution: Underground water meter box]

Clue 2
A key
[Solution: Our mailbox]

Clue 3
I only have one,
But bikes have two,
I help in the yard,
and carry things too.
[Solution: Wheelbarrow]

Clue 4
I’m called evil by some.
And I’m tropical and green.
But what you are looking for,
will not easily be seen.
[Solution: Palm Tree (inside family joke)]

Clue 5
I’m in the family of spagetti,
And Macaroni is another.
Be careful when you find me,
or the water will cause bother.
[Solution: Pool Noodles/Floats]

Clue 6
Longer than a snake I am.
Green as the grass I stay.
You can find me hanging about,
Until I’m called on to spray.
[Solution: Hose Reel]

Clue 7
Water my only purpose,
Yet only seen from my spout.
You finding me quickly,
I gather much doubt.
[Solution: Rain Gutter downspout]

Clue 8
I ride the waves with speed,
bouncing and splashing, indeed.
Within my void you will see,
The end of your quest it will be.
[Solution: His gift is in the boat]

My quest turned out to be a great success, both Trevor and his friends loved it.  After last night’s talk at SANS, I think I’ll be doing more of these…