Do you need a fun activity for a birthday party? Do you like activities that require an active imagination? Do you and your kids like to play dress up? Pirates are all the rage these days, and treasure hunts are fun for kids of all ages. Whether you’re planning a hunt for five year olds or thirty-five years olds, the activities and prizes can be tailored to match the age group. Planning a pirate treasure hunt can be a time consuming task, though, so be sure to follow these directions to help guide you in the right direction.
- Materials. Make sure you have the following items: camera, snacks, beverages, pirate treasures, costumes, black marker, small paper bag, lighter or matches, large sheet of white paper, black tea, a cigar box or medium sized paper box or chest, and a pencil.
- Invitations. Keep with the theme and mail out invitations using the same technique you use to make your map. If you’re using email or social media to invite everyone, use pirate jargon to spice it up.
- Refreshments. Make some “Blackbeard” punch and “Captain Hook” crackers for your mateys to snack on before and after the hunt.
- Costumes. Make the party extra festive by encouraging guests to come in pirate costumes or by providing pirate hats and eye patches to put on when they arrive.
- Camera. Don’t forget to take photos. Everyone will enjoy reliving the event through pictures when it’s over!
- Booty. Make sure you know how many people are attending so that you know how many treasures to buy or make. It’s always good to have a few more prizes handy in case some extra guests attend the party. You don’t need anything too fancy. Something pirate themed from the dollar store works. Costume jewelry is always fun. Feeling extra creative? Spray silver and gold paint on some pebbles and you’ve got yourself some pirate’s booty. Take your black marker and place a giant X on the small paper bag. Place the prizes in the bags. Now take the bags and place them in your treasure chest.
- Location. Depending on the time of year, weather, where you live, etc. You’ll need to choose whether you’re hunt will take place indoors or outdoors. You can always do a combination of both. If you live in an apartment, consider taking the children to a local park or playground for the hunt. For teens and adults, you can take the hunt on the road by putting people into groups and having them drive or bike to the locations.
- X marks the spot. Choose a hiding place for the treasure. Hide it well, but don’t hide it too well for the kids. You don’t want anyone to get discouraged. For adults, make it a little harder, give them a challenge.
- Map. No hunt is complete without a treasure map. Take a large piece of white paper, and sketch the area where the hunt will be taking place. Draw landmarks (large tree, swing set) from the landscape. Use more symbols and drawings and less words when making it. Don’t forget to mark a big X where you’ll be hiding the treasure. Place a dotted line from the starting point of the hunt to the treasure. Keep the map simple. Now, soak the paper in the black tea to make it look real. You can put it in the oven (at around 200 degrees) to make it feel old and brittle. Take your lighter or matches and burn the edges of the paper.
- Get a side kick. Does your friend have a parrot? Invite him/her over along with their parrot if the parrot won’t be loaned to you on its own!
- Speech…. arrrrr. Don’t forget to talk like a pirate!
- Timing is everything. Make it a night time party and paint up your guests with glow in the dark paint. Let your imagination go wild, and enjoy watching everyone hunt for the treasure!
Both treasure hunts and scavenger hunts send players (often in teams) on an exciting search that leads to a prize, but there s a slight difference between the two.