Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Treasure Hunt

I almost never plan "activities" for my kids' birthday parties, but since my son is getting a little older, it seemed like the time to start. I've been so busy since I started work that I was unable to really work on all the fun little details of this party way ahead of time like normal, but my sister (whose birthday also happened to be this past weekend) had put some thought into it and suggested a treasure hunt.

Originally, we planned to make a map, but that seemed like it would make finding the treasure a little TOO easy... so I came up with a series of clues, one leading to the next, and finally to the treasure. What kind of treasure were the little pirates hunting? Why, my son's birthday presents of course! You didn't think we were just going to GIVE him his presents, did you? No siree, I made him work for them!

These are the materials I used. Recognize the brown paper? That's right, it's
the same paper I used for the Barrel O' Rum. Also I had my page with my clues,
scissors, markers, sealing wax, and a seal (left over from my wedding invitations
so many years ago).

Because the paper is from a large roll, it wants to do nothing but roll up when
cut. To combat this, I wadded the sheets up into little balls. This also helps
with the aged/parchment look of the paper.

Flatten and select your writing implement. I absolutely cannot do calligraphy.
I spent weeks in high school art class trying to master the basic lines with a
handy-dandy left-handed calligraphy pen, but alas, I failed miserably. Instead,
I am just going to use a regular washable Crayola marker, but a Sharpie would
work as well. I chose brown.

I wrote out each of my clues on a sheet of paper, drawing little swirlies and
doodles in the margins.

Next I lit my candle to melt the sealing wax. In my memory, this worked better
years ago when the wax was new, but I managed to do a passable job of sealing
my pirate clues. I folded up my notes, dripped the wax on, and pressed the
seal into it. Easy peasy.

The gold seal really adds some authenticity to these clues. The next step--
hiding them! See how I numbered them in the corner? I kept my original list
of clues (which were also numbered) so I would know where to hide them.
What kind of clues did I leave, you ask... Well, rhyming clues with lots of pirate slang. See below.

**Feel free to duplicate this in your own pirate party! The kids LOVED the treasure hunt. I think it was the high point of the day. Honestly, it went way better than I thought it would.

If ye mean to find my cursed treasure, ye’ll have to journey far beyond measure. So board yer ship and stand ready to steer, for at the wheel the clue ye’ll be near. (at the ship’s wheel)

Steer yer ship toward the plastic fort, built for young pirates who are very short. Look under the chute the color of blood, or turn back now for yer own good. (beneath the slide on the plastic fort)

These wooden planks will lift ye up to the deck; if ye reverse direction, they’ll take you down a peg. The clue be hidden under the bottom board, but to find it mateys, ye must go ashore! (under the bottom porch step)

Head over to a snake as wet as the sea, spitting out water at you and at me. Yellow and scaled, with a nozzle for a nose, this coiled serpent can soak your clothes. (the water hose)

The treasure be hidden in a cave dry and dark, behind a plank door to keep out the sharks. There’s a large cushioned seat as blue as the sea, nearby my cursed treasure chest be.  (the building)


  1. ooo...I love the rhymes and pirate speak! What fun!

    I did a scavenger hunt like this ages ago when my sis turned 25, I think. She had to solve clues at each "murder scene" (staged by a collection of dolls) to find her gift, which was a limited edition Clue board game. It was a kick even as adults! :)


  2. so cute!!! I love the wax idea!!