The children are getting older, and their birthday parties are getting more expensive
by Martin Rupf
What to do when you run out of scavenger hunt ideas for a children's birthday party? The solution is customised Yahtzee sets that will not only get the kids thinking.
My son recently celebrated his first round birthday. He turned ten years old. A big day for him. But it was also a big day for us parents. Of course, his first round birthday should be celebrated in a dignified way. To our great relief, it turned out that our son had comparatively low expectations when it came to the setting of the celebration. After all, when it comes to children's birthdays, the formula "the older, the more expensive" applies.
Not so with our son. All he wanted was a cosy afternoon at the cinema with his friends in the darkened room, the smashing of the piñata, which has become a tradition, and the obligatory scavenger hunt. .
. For the past few years, I have always made it a habit to give the children's birthday party that little bit extra with a scavenger hunt or a tricky post run. This should be no different on his tenth birthday. Only: I ran out of ideas and with a higher age, a higher degree of difficulty is also required.
Luckily, I found what I was looking for in our shop, where there are various scavenger hunt and puzzle sets. I'm ordering "Escape scavenger hunt, find the pirate treasure".
There are four sets in this series. I pick up the instruction manual and already suspect from its scope that preparing the scavenger hunt will be almost as tricky as solving it. Even though it says right at the beginning: "With this instruction booklet, the event can be organised in no time", I am promised not a "normal" scavenger hunt, but an "Escape Scavenger Hunt".
In fact, I have to read through the instructions more than once to get it all right. The game is about Captain Black-Eye and his crew being taken hostage by Gustav the Terrible. He demands a treasure as ransom. The aim of the game is to find this treasure. The great thing about this scavenger hunt is that the same puzzle can be played by two groups. The winner is the group that solves the puzzle faster. So that they are already in the right mood before the party, the set even includes corresponding invitation cards.
The scavenger hunt includes ten items. These can be distributed and hidden both outside and inside. If two teams are playing, there are three ways they compete against each other. Firstly: Both teams follow the same route and are sent out at different times. Second: Each team follows its own route. Third: There is one route, but the teams follow it in opposite directions. . I decide on variant two. In the two children's rooms I hide the ten posts, trying to find similarly difficult hiding places for both teams.
. Now we can finally get started. A parrot, which I have hung above the bathtub beforehand, delivers Captain Black-Eye's message. After that, the two groups go to their respective starting rooms. If the children have been paying attention while reading the message and, above all, if they have been looking, they will now know where the first post is.
I give the start signal and the children rush madly to the first hiding place. Knowing that the other team is doing the exact same course in the next room creates the desired time pressure. As with adults who visit an Escape Room, it crystallises very quickly with the children who takes the lead in the group. I take turns looking into the rooms to help if necessary, should the children not know what to do. But that's not the case, because the game is approved for ages eight and up, so the puzzles are easy to solve.
The scavenger hunt always follows the same principle. The children mark the respective solution on a card. If they do this correctly ten times, this results in the correct solution set. In addition, each riddle contains a hint as to where to look for the next question.
. With great eagerness the children are at it. But the excitement and the time pressure make sure that the focus is lost at times. They gesticulate wildly and discuss in an attempt to solve the puzzles. A neck-and-neck race is emerging (which is also due to the fact that every now and then I help the team that is just behind a bit with little hints).
Team Blue wins and finds the foam kiss treasure. My son, as part of the winning team, is thrilled. But even the losing team doesn't have to grieve for long. Because there are still more than enough sweets that afternoon.
Speaking of sweets: If you're not just short of ideas for the scavenger hunt, the set also includes a recipe for a delicious pirate ship cake and craft instructions for a treasure chest.
. I also had great fun with the scavenger hunt. The preparation and smooth running also boosted my thinking skills. That's why I'm sure this won't be the last scavenger hunt I organise in this way at a children's birthday party.
I have already ordered and prepared a second set, which will then be used on my daughter's ninth birthday.
This one is similar in design, but not quite as mature. I'm sure the kids will love this puzzle too.
But I don't want to give too much away here. After all, you never know who is reading along, and the scavenger hunt is also supposed to be a surprise for my daughter.