Treasure Hunts are based on the Scandinavian activity of Orienteering where the object is to find flags in the woods with only the aid of a map and compass. In a Treasure Hunt we make a simple (yet accurate and kid-friendly) map of your property (or condo, town house or even local park.)
Our professional cartographer puts anything on the map where he can hide a clue: the house, every tree, bushes, swings... but we stay out of the woods.
About 30-40 minutes before party time, we arrive with a big pirate Treasure Chest. You supply the treasure. Usually, it's goody bags. It can be more exotic but kids are perfectly happy to get the loot bags. Whatever you decide, make sure it's one of the same thing for everybody.
We lock the Treasure into the chest which stays out for all to see as they arrive (this gets their curiosity up.) We then hide the key and 15-20 clues that will spell out a riddle that will lead to the key.
When it's our turn we have them for an hour. We gather around the chest and talk about Pirates,
(or not...older kids prefer our generic hunt) because the gimmick is that pirates worked together and then shared their treasure. This is not a contest (we don't want losers) but a group activity that will have the feel of a competition.
Then it's time for a little fun as we elect your birthday child - the captain. A little schtick loosens them all up. They all yell "Arggh!" a few times and then it's map time.
Everyone gets a map and we instruct all in the basics of map skills: the legend, the symbols, where we are, where is that tree? Then we take a walk around the house so everyone is up to speed on the map.
Those "practice maps" are collected as everyone is asked to find a partner (threes are OK.) They all get a clipboard, a pencil and a Treasure Map (the same one but with 15-20 red circles that show where the clues are.) Then we yell, "Go!" Now, it's not a competition but when anyone yells "Go," people start running. They all scatter (staying together with their team mates) trying to find the clues.
For readers, clues are trivia questions about fun popular stuff: cartoons, movies, TV, sports, Nick, Harry Potter, etc. We can tailor the clues to fit the audience.
For 7 year olds and younger, the clues are strips of stickers (fun animals, shapes, etc.) and Crayola stampers (dinosaurs, rocket ships, etc.)
Except for the youngsters, no one touches the clues. They write down the answer or letter and move on. We'll float around helping those who are scratching their head, but once they get one clue, they catch on.
About 35-45 minutes later they start to filter back in and we all gather around the chest and put the clues together. Little by little, the answer appears..."the key is in the sandbox"...(or wherever we decide) and like a pack of wild animals (corporate executives, also) they take off for the key.
No matter who finds it, the honors of opening the chest go to your child and we pass out the treasure.
Then it's time for pizza and cake. Why your party is almost over! And they'll talk about it for quite awhile.
Sorry, parties are only available in 100 mile radius of NYC and Boston. Elsewhere, additional charges would apply including travel and hotel.