The kids were aged from 3 to 6, so everything had to be geared towards that age group. There were 10 kids and 11 clues (which were also puzzles or activities), with treasure at each clue.
We tried to make everything we had time for, with the kids helping. Nico, who was 2 at the time, loved any kind of arts and craft, and was always willing to jump into the painting projects. Leo’s a little more advanced and can handle cutting, gluing, tools (both fetching and using), folding paper, etc. They loved the whole process, and then got to enjoy a great day with their friends.
This article aims to give instructions on how to set up a similar party, as well as how to make all the puzzles and stuff. Letting the kids help you make it all may not decrease your work load, but it’ll definitely make it all the more special for them.
Plastic (for a stencil)
Dremel tool (not essential)
The first thing to do is to make a list of how many clues you want (about twice the number of your child’s age is a pretty good guideline), and where you want to put them. You want to make sure that they are located in a kind of order, so that the kids don’t pass (and see) a clue while looking for another one.
I found the best way to visualize the whole thing was to make a table. It helped keep us organized throughout the preparation, showing us what we still needed to do (make, buy, etc.). Above is the one I made, by way of an example. You can click on it to expand it.
Now that you know where everything is going, you can put together a map.
We downloaded a template online and then we added all the clue locations (in the form of clipart). This is all a very personal thing; you can do it in whatever style you want.
We had clues all over the homestead, so we wanted the map to help somewhat in locating things (with Leo as the obvious guide!).
We also used the map as the invitation. We wrote out the party info on the back of each map, and then Leo wrote a kid’s name on each one. The instructions asked them to bring the map with them.
An X marks the location of the first clue.
This was the first real clue (not counting the X on the map), located at the gate.
The first treasure we gave the kids was a pirate hat. They could put it on for a little while, but as soon as they found the second treasure, they had to flip it over and use it as a bag. I figured it was more fun than doing a traditional party bag, as they would be able to play with this later without their parents yelling, “Take that bag off your head!”.
It’s easier to follow these instructions while looking at the photos.
The second clue, found in the pigeon barn, was a Lego puzzle.
This was the third clue, found in the Fun Fort. It depicted a strawberry plant.
Not quite sure what to call this one. We used to make these when we were kids as a silly fortune-telling device. I now make them for my kids as monsters. This one reveals a clue instead.
Pick an easy word as your next clue, one that the kids will be able to piece together. Ours was “animal”, pointing them towards the barn.
We made a yellow envelope for each clue, so that they would know when they had found the next clue. The treasure was in the same location, but often hidden as well, so the kids had lots of things to find.
We used the design in this Instructable, by JadePhoenix37. I won’t write out all the instructions again, as they do a good job of it.
We made 4 different sized envelopes, depending on the clue they had to hold. Once I had put the clue inside, I wrote the name of the child on the outside. The treasure hunt was designed so that each kid would have to solve one puzzle, with all of them helping out with the piñata!
Extra small: An 8 ¼” square made a 4″ x 3 ¼” envelope.
Small: A 12″ square made a 5 ½” x 4 ½” envelope.
Medium: A 15 ½” square made a 7 ¼” x 6″ envelope.
Large: A 22″ square made a 10 ¼” x 8 ¼” envelope.
The rest was really just printing, cutting or putting things in boxes. I won’t go into details, as it’s self explanatory, but here’s a few photos. Feel free to ask if I’ve left anything out.
We could have made the piñata, which the kids would have LOVED, but we kind of ran out of time, so we just bought one – sorry! If you do want to make your own, there are some good Instructables on how to do so. We’ve done one before, and they’re a lot of fun, albeit a tad on the messy side for little kids.
Hope your kids enjoy making all the kids and then the party itself.