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Couple creates scavenger hunt of unique items in their neighborhood for kids

"It helps to have one unusual thing to do each day."

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. — Sometimes a little fun, adventure, and creativity can get you through a tough time. 

At least, that's what Joyce and Andy Cawthon think. They are volunteers at the local elementary school, and grandparents to nine kids. They missed seeing children in their lives during the stay-at-home order. So, they got to work, creating an elaborate scavenger hunt in their southside Grand Haven neighborhood.

"You can’t go to the state park now, you can’t go to the playground," said Joyce, "at least you can walk around the neighborhood looking for stuff."

Credit: 13 OYS
The Pool family out on their scavenger hunt.

The items on the scavenger hunt are interesting, and sometimes rather unique, items outside homes in their neighborhood. The couple spent three days walking the three block route to create the hunt. They spoke with all the neighbors included, to make sure they kept the items up during the game time. 

"It’s just a really good neighborhood," said Joyce, "We just look out for each other."

Items on the hunt include looking for a blue heron statue, garden gnomes, a home with an eyeball shaped window, sailor figurines in windows and more. 

"It’s an excuse for the kids to notice something," said Andy.

Kids can pick up the hunt map and rules in a bin outside the Cawthon's house. They just ask you to remember social distancing guidelines when walking around the neighborhood on the hunt. 

"And it's for us old people, to watch kids walk around the neighborhood," said Joyce, "I mean, we’re bored too! So we’ll sit on the porch and watch all these people walk by."

So far, the hunt has been a hit! Even adults have been playing along for the fun. 

"I think everybody needs something to do," said Brandon Pool, a father walking with his family and competing in the scavenger hunt, "and it allows families to stay together, get outside, enjoy the time together and have something fun to do in this crazy time."

Credit: 13 OYS
One of the things to find on the hunt.

"It makes me teary," said Joyce, "I didn’t think it would get this big."

Kids can put their completed hunt sheets in a bin also outside the Cawthon's house. At the end of June, a winner will be chosen from the completed sheets.

But don't think this is a competition without a prize. One winner will win the Golden Toilet Paper Trophy. It's a roll of toilet paper Joyce painted gold, and Andy made a base for out of spare wood. 

"What is the most scarce thing you can think of during the pandemic?" said Andy, "Toilet paper."

Credit: 13 OYS
The coveted Golden Toilet Paper Roll Trophy and bins for scavenger hunt sheets.

"It’s really silly," said 5-year-old Corinne Pool, "because it’s made out of toilet paper you wipe with your butt!"

A little competition, some time outdoors, and having some fun. That's what Joyce and Andy hope brings some hope during a difficult time. 

"And we like making people smile," said Joyce.

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