Magic Party -8yr- Magic Scavenger Hunt
N&Cs in Beaverton OR USA
My son turning 8 wanted a magic and mystery-themed birthday party. I found a picture through a google image search of a black silk hat with fire erupting out of it, and used that as a visual theme for the party.
INVITATIONS: I sent out email invitations.
DECORATIONS: We had bunches of red, gold and black balloons tied with red ribbon outside the front door and in the living room. A number of free floating balloons with ribbons were left to bounce around the ceiling in the living and dining room. We also did yellow and red streamers. I got several packs of 3 inch gold stars at a party store($1.99 for a pack of 25) and placed them randomly around the party areas of the house on walls and ceilings. I also used red puff paint to put my son's name and age on a large gold star and taped that to his cake chair, along with several balloons tied to the chair on ribbons.
As people entered the house, they encountered a large sign on yellow butcher paper (decorated with stars) that said, Welcome to the house of magic and mystery! Please follow the stars and enjoy the show!" I placed stars all the way down the hall for them to follow. In our living room I made two floor-to-ceiling banners using two 8 foot pieces of bright red butcher paper. Mid-way up I taped an upside down top hat cut from black paper (about 15 inches across) at a tilt. The top hat had a slit cut near the brim and I pulled red tissue paper taper-cut at the top to resemble flames through the slit so that it looked like fire was coming out of the top hat. Parts of the tissue paper had to be taped down so that it wouldn't flop forward.
Then I made a small roll of black paper 24 inches long (about 1/2 inch in diameter) and taped a 2 inch strip of white paper to the top and taped this above the hat for a levitating magic wand. Finally I glued multi-sized gold star confetti so that it looked like stars were erupting out of the fire and down in a cascade out of the hat. The banners turned out really well (and were easy to make) and made the room very festive with the streamers and balloons.
ACTIVITIES: Ahead of time I made up a simple game on paper guessing things about the birthday boy (favorite fruit eye color favorite sport etc) for kids to do while everyone arrived. Having something to do helped a lot toward keeping things calm(er) while they mingled and greeted each other. We then had a magic show from a local magician who involved all of the kids and had them all laughing.
SNACKS: After the show was over the kids had some simple snacks (pretzels and goldfish baby carrots and red pepper slices apple and orange slices nuts and cheese sticks) while they tried to guess the correct answers to the birthday boy word game which was cause for a lot of laughing. I then explained the way our next round of fun was going to work.
GAMES: When the kids were done eating we did a mystery scavenger hut. I paired off the kids (I preplanned the pairs to avoid any hurt feelings of someone being left out and also because not everyone knew each other I put kids together that were already friends or who had similar personalities). We had 10 kids and 5 pairs. Instead of having clues in/around the house I wrote up clues about 5 adults (my husband and I two grandmas and a grandpa). The kids deciphered which adult to go see they then performed a task received two magic tokens and got their clue for the next adult. The adults were stationed in different parts of the yard with the props for their tasks.
Ahead of time I stripped the labels off of 5 water bottles printed the black hat/fire logo onto sticker paper and glued a new red label with the hat sticker on each bottle for them to collect their magic tokens as they were running around. I put two pens in each bottle for their clue deciphering.
I also printed up 5 copies of each clue. For the tokens we had some of those glass drops that are rounded on one side and flat on the other left from another party and I used a sharpie to write 5 each of the letters (all yellow glass beads) M-A-G-I-C and (all red glass beads) T-R-I-C-K. The kids got one yellow and one red token from each adult. The adults each had the SAME two letters one from each word (for example 5 yellow Gs and 5 red Ts). This way when they were done each pair had 10 glass beads that they had to unscramble to spell MAGIC TRICK as a final task. I gave them the hint in the instructions ahead of time to separate out their magic tokens into colors to make it easier.
For the first round I gave each pair a DIFFERENT clue so that they would start with different adults/tasks. Then each adult gave out the SAME clue as pairs came to them so the kids ended up going in through clues in the same order just starting in different places. This kept the flow going smoothly without kids bunching up at one adult.
Ahead of time we adults found something distinctive we could wear and I designed the clues around whatever it was. I wore parrot earrings (from a pirate party we once had). For the clue I wrote "To find the person you seek decipher this cipher:" Then I went online to www.fontspace.com and downloaded a font that wrote each letter of the phrase "Polly Want A Cracker?" backwards. This was easy and very cool. (Not mirror font where the entire thing is backwards but each letter was backwards in the right order which was a little harder).
My husband wore a temporary dragon tattoo (from a knight party we once had). The clue was "To find the person you seek solve this riddle: I have a spiky tail talons and scaly links From my breath knights run and not because it stinks. Who am I?" Grandpa had a shirt with lobsters on it. I did a small word search grid in excel with the word LOBSTER vertically with the clue "To find the person you seek circle the hidden word".
One grandma had a necklace with 2-inch kitchen utensils on it (she's a pastry chef). The clue was "To find the person you seek solve each line and put the letter in the spaces on the left: ____ Letter shaped like a snake(S). ___ First letter of an animal that says OINK (P). ___I also look like a Zero (O). ___ Shape your mouth makes when you whistle (O) ___ First letter of the birthday boy's name (N) Each sentence was on a separate line so that the word SPOON was vertically aligned and obvious when they wrote it out.
The other grandma had butterfly hair pins. The clue was "To find the person you seek crack this code: 2-21-20-20-5-18-6-12-25 A=1 B=2 and so on". When they matched letters to numbers it spelled B-U-T-T-E-R-F-L-Y. As the kids went along if they got stuck we gave them hints so that it was always fun and was never frustrating but they LOVED figuring out each clue and each pair worked really well together.
The 5 tasks were:
1. I found 2 giant inflatable dice at a party store and they had to roll the number "8" together.
2. Guess the flavors of 5 magic (jellybelly) beans - again we gave them hints and let them ask 20-questions-type questions if they were stumped.
3. Work together to get a soccer ball past my husband and into a goal.
4. Do certain tricks on the trampoline.
5. In turns dress as a magician - put on a top hat (party store) an old broquade smoking jacket and mans dress shoes and hit a beach ball with a croquet mallet down to one end of the yard and back.
This one was HILARIOUS and adorable - we got the best pictures and everyone was laughing - doing and watching! The scavenger hunt took a little time to set up but it went very smoothly and the kids had a BLAST! It took almost an hour. Each task took about 10 minutes (we rolled a few more times if they got 8 right of the bat on the dice etc) plus each clue took a few minutes to figure out. I really stressed at the beginning that it was not a race and they should just take their time and figure each part out and have fun on the tasks. Watching the kids it seemed that a big part of what made it go well was that they didn't feel pressure from anyone else to work out the answers first and race through things.
CAKE/FAVORS: After the hunt we had homemade ice cream sandwiches which my son requested instead of cake (thank you pastry chef grandma!). I put these in wax paper sandwich bags to keep them from dripping all over. Ahead of time I cut the bags down to about 1/2 the height and put another black hat sticker on each bag. We stacked them in a pyramid with one sandwiched vertically in the middle for the candles. The parents then arrived and we handed out the goodie bags - a small magic kit I found at a party store for $2.99 each a small tissue paper wrapped bag labeled "magic beans" with jelly beans inside and a long pretzel dipped on the end in white chocolate. The bags were either red or black with (again!) those black hat stickers. This was one of our best parties ever - the kids are still talking about it 3 weeks later!"
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