The greatest pirate treasure of all time sank 300 years ago off the US coast of Cape Cod. Its former owner: Black Sam Bellamy, maybe the most successful pirate of all times. The story goes that Black Sam, in order to win the favor of his lover Maria's parents, went out into the world as a pirate and promised not to return until he was a rich man. After a short time, Black Sam had loaded a treasure onto his ship that is estimated to be worth about $400 million in today's currency. However, he met a tragic end after more than 50 raids. His three-master ran onto a sandbank in the middle of a storm and overturned 150 meters off the local coast. The recovery of his treasure has now been going on for more than 30 years and pieces of the pirate's treasure are still being recovered.
Stories like Black Sam's have been inspiring young and old for generations. Children in particular love to reenact adventure stories or invent some of their own. There are no limits to their creativity here and the living room at home then quickly becomes a pirate ship, a knight's castle or a treasure cave in the Pacific. A treasure hunt is therefore also ideal for your children's birthday party. Whether in the house, in the garden or in the whole settlement, a treasure hunt can become a very special and exciting experience for the whole birthday party if planned correctly. However, with the specially designed treasure hunt for your children's birthday party, there are a few things to keep in mind so that nothing goes wrong.
So here are the most important basic rules for a successful treasure hunt:
Be it pirates, knights, princesses or whatever else your offspring might think up or wish for - a themed treasure hunt lets the kids get all caught up in their imagination.
At each station, the children complete tasks that allow them to stretch their gray matter. For older children, you can make the scavenger hunt especially challenging by having the puzzles build on each other. This concept is especially suitable for indoors and smaller gardens.
Incoherent riddles or tasks make little sense to children and they quickly lose interest. If, on the other hand, you already mention the dreaded pirate Jack in the invitation, who is said to have been up to mischief in the area for some time, or the dragon that was recently sighted, you can draw this common thread through the entire birthday party.
Put the treasure hunt at the end of your birthday party. This will keep the thread running from beginning to end and you will conclude the children's birthday party at the same time with resolution of the tension.
Make the treasure hunt as believable and realistic as possible. The children might get the first clue from you: Secret information, according to which the pirate Jack might have hidden his loot nearby, has been released by the police. They are now asking the children for help in finding this... Paraphernalia, such as a treasure map, "lost" gold coins (chocolate coins) or a forgotten pirate hat, can provide new excitement at the various puzzle stations.
Always following the same kind of clue gets boring in the long run. Be creative and inventive when it comes to your puzzles. Build in team tasks, knowledge tasks, search tasks and also skill tasks. This way, the little ones won't get bored during the treasure hunt.
It can sometimes happen that the children get stuck on a scavenger hunt puzzle. Give the children the opportunity to get a hint in exchange for a small task from you. Build this possibility into the story as well. For example, the police will give out more information about Jack the Pirate in exchange for singing a pirate song.
A treasure hunt that lasts too long demotivates. Children do not have too long an attention span. They should have a maximum of 4 longer and 6 shorter tasks.
Adjust the difficulty level to the age of the children. The current school material provides a good measure here. If there are younger children, make sure that not all of the tasks are done only by the older children. Set the condition in the tasks that each child must take on a certain part and act as a jury for the protagonists of your story.
A spatial change brings dynamics into the treasure hunt for your children's birthday party and of course makes the adventure a real search. Whether you play indoors, in the garden or in the city - pay attention to the time needed here and prepare the individual stations for all weather conditions in advance. Try to also have an indoor alternative ready in case it rains.
Especially if the treasure hunt for your children's birthday party should take place outside your private property, you must not be on your own at all. In the midst of the thrill of adventure, the children may not pay close attention to the traffic regulations. Therefore, go with them and, if necessary, urge them to be careful.
Having a first aid kit with you in case one of the kids falls never hurts, of course!
Get consent forms from the children's parents!
If something should happen, you should be informed about allergies, diseases and peculiarities of children.
The treasure should contain something suitable for all children! Take into account children's allergies, intolerances and eating habits. Have different sweets or small toys for them. Having a small bag with the same contents for all children prevents quarrels.
Pack the treasure accordingly! An old chest, a torn potato sack or a basket/bucket hidden under branches filled with the treasure will make the adventure more realistic. Also, don't be afraid to decorate creatively and maybe leave a message or two from Pirate Jack or Knight John.
Equipped with the above information, you have already taken a big step towards creating your scavenger hunt. However, you will have noticed that there are many things to consider and that developing your scavenger hunt takes a lot of time. There is also the question of whether the participants will like their scavenger hunt puzzles in the end. Therefore, it is worth considering whether you want to plan and organize the scavenger hunt yourself or whether you would prefer to use a tried and tested concept. In the following table, we compare the advantages and disadvantages of both options.
| Organize yourself
Pros & cons self-organization
| Book tickets
Pros & cons ticket booking
|Very time consuming
|Intuitive web application
|Free of charge (except material costs)
|Not free of charge