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What We Read: Mission Scavenger Hunt Series

The Mission books are scavenger hunts for kids in various cities. There are ones for Barcelona and Paris, so we picked them up. We've misplaced our Paris book, but we have the Barcelona one handy.


The scavenger hunts tell kids to accumulate 100 points on their "mission" as special agents; you'd have to earn a majority, but not all, of the points available to achieve this. Most can be earned by visiting popular attractions and answering questions or locating things (such as a specific animal on a facade). There are also some points that can be earned anywhere in the city, such as finding a street performer. Some of these "anywhere" points are for trying local foods, which is a nice bonus for parents of picky eaters.

How fast a kid can earn the points depends on the pace the family sets for sightseeing. That said, even speedy tourists are going to need several days to complete their missions, especially if they are also visiting places that aren't covered in the book. I'd categorize my family as moderate in our pace, and we never completed the missions, even with 4 days in Barcelona and 6 in Paris. This is something to consider if your visit will be brief or if you have a kid who will be disappointed if the goal is not achieved. Our plan for using the books was to decide first what we wanted to do in a day, checking to see if the site—or anything nearby—was included, and taking the book along if it was. That way, it was still us calling the shots on what to do. We also had several conversations about how it was not a big deal if we didn’t reach the 100 points.

When we were out and about with the books, it was usually DD1’s responsibility to carry the book and read instructions. The reading level of the books is appropriate for kids who are in middle-grades chapter books, though they may occasionally need help with a word, especially names. Even though DD2 couldn’t read the book, she was engaged with the tasks. Everyone helped look for things and had fun with it.

We were able to incorporate the book into our sightseeing easily with one exception: the Louvre. We started off following the book but quickly found ourselves lost as we tried to find Egyptian mummies. I think that we may have been rerouted because of galleries that were closed that day, which made the directions inaccurate. We saw a couple of other cool things along this detour, but it wasn’t worth the frustration of doing the hunt and not finding what we were looking for. We gave up, got ourselves re-oriented, and decided to see what we wanted to see. In the end, I think this was a good decision because the Louvre is so enormous that you can’t see it all: it’s better to prioritize based on your own family’s interests.

To be clear, even though they contain some facts about the locations covered, the Mission books are no substitute for standard travel guides such as Lonely Planet or Rick Steves. These books include some information about the featured sights, but not in the same detail as a guide. This is perfectly fine for the function it fulfills, but parents need to know so that they have appropriate expectations of the books.

Thanks for reading! This entry wraps up our trip to France and Spain and this blog. I will now be documenting all of our trips in my new blog, Family Travel Files. Please join me there!

Posted by amikulski 18:33 Archived in Spain Tagged children france spain books

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