Knight Party -4yr- Quest Treasure Hunt
Aurora in San Luis Obispo, CA
Invitations:Hear ye! Hear ye! Noble Knights and Ladies Fair are invited for feasting and festivities to honor the fourth season of his noble birth, Sir Benjamin on Saturday, the 28th day of January from 11am to 2 pm, at Sir Benjamin Castle at (address). Ladies, wear your gowns; Knights, wear your armor; Wizards & Sorceresses, wear your cloaks…and prepare to meet a dragon! Kindly R.S.V.P. to Lady Aurora (me!), by the 21st of January to proclaim yea or nay. Material List: It looks like a lot, but most of it is already inside your house! Print invitation on white copy paper (we also dyed ours in a mixture of coffee, tea, and yellow food coloring dye), then quick dry in a low-temp oven, burned the edges with a flame, rolled and twine-string shut with cut twine for handmade invitations. (Whew!)
Streamers: purple, red, and gold (or yellow) Gold paper plates (ok, you probably need to buy these), and utensils Gold goblets and fake craft-store type jewels (and these you buy, too!) A boatload of thick cardboard boxes (check at places that sell refrigerators, stoves, copiers, or anything else really BIG) Razors and duct tape (for castle construction) Spray paint (if desired, for the castle) Big rectangular sponge (like the kind you wash your car with) and acrylic paints (black and white to make different shades of gray) for bricks on the castle Rope for a working drawbridge (any string will do nicely, especially if you braid it to make it thicker) Chain for dungeon (anything you have around the house or make paper chains from dark construction paper)
Dragon pinata (you can creatively make this out of brown paper bags if you have to just stuff and draw, or attach several at different places for arms, lets, tail Prizes for pinata (gold wrapped chocolates like kisses, eggs, coins) Brown paper lunch bags for holding treasure from pinata, tied with twine Colored paper (red, gold, and purple) cut diagonally into triangles and taped to balloon sticks (or dowels, or skewers) and posted all over the house entrance and all over the castle Poster-board for making crowns Foil to cover the crowns Yards of tulle (pink, white it so cheap, get a few!) Metallic sparkly pipe cleaners for making simpler crowns to tie tulle on to Optional: pink party hats for making princess crowns (attach tulle to the tip) Black party hats for wizard hats (you can attach star stickers, too!) Balloon sticks (plastic, white, stiff tubing about 3 feet long, very cheap at craft stores) Cardboard for shields for the knights Cardboard stars (gold or silver) from office supply store in the teacher section Optional, but nice: opretty ribbons (attach to the ends of the balloon sticks with hot glue and cover with the foil stars wands for princesses and wizards) oglitter (for sprinkling in the princesses hair when the dragon sneezes)
FOOD: Beyond a pizza BBQ turkey legs for a change. They're huge, authentic, and very messy. Good for the outdoor party. Did I mention napkins? Label the special items for extra fun! Dragon Potion: a mixture of 2 parts orange juice to 1 part cranberry cocktail. Add a few decorative slices of lime or oranges, and serve. Dragon Claws: set out a bowl of cashews Dragon Scales: big bowl of triangular chips! Can you find a tri-colored batch?
Dragon Breath: HOT salsa (or mild, of course) Dragon Teeth: a bowl of almonds Dragon Truffles: a big bowl of air-popped popcorn The biggest loaf of bread you can find. Set it on a wood cutting board (pre-slice it if you don't want a knife hanging around within reach), and add a big pile of butter. It won't last through dinner. Corn on the cob only for the truly bold and daring. Goes with the eat-without-a-fork menu. Knights never had time to find a spoon! A Princess Platter: dainty little tidbits for a perfect princess: celery sticks, baby carrots, olives, small cucumber spears, thin slices of bell peppers Castle cake with a drawbridge and jewels (see image at www.bhg.com). It's made from the pans you already have at home. Make two cakes in a 9x9x2 pans, and another two in the standard round 6 or 8 (trim later) size for cakes. Stack the two cake rounds (strawberry jam in the middle) atop the square and cover with tons of frosting. (Tip: frost it with butter cream icing and make any stiff decorations out of royal icing see recipes below.) Buy a package of rainbow candy-corn, rainbow gumdrops, a stack of ice cream cones, and two white chocolate bars.
Break one candy bar into the small pre-scored rectangular pieces and stick around the castle as windows, leaving the other candy bar on two equal pieces as the front drawbridge entrance and drawbridge itself (lowered, of course). Put the whole cake on a foil-lined cardboard (leftover from castle construction, no doubt), so it looks like it's floating on water! Line the castle edges with gumdrops and candy corn, and add inverted cones as castle turrets (royal ice on windows and other fancy decorations) and nearby trees (covered with green icing for leaves). Insert toothpicks into cone tops for flags and attach little bits of colored paper. Fun! Butter cream icing: beat 2 sticks of butter or margarine at high speed, then add 1 tsp vanilla and slowly add 4 c (sift it first for less white lumps) confectioner's sugar. Add 2 tbl. Milk and coloring of your choice. Rewhip before using (keeps 2 weeks). For chocolate butter cream, add cup cocoa powder and 2 more tbl. Milk. No need for food dye! oRoyal Icing: (this is the one that hardens within the hour). 4 cups sifted confectioner's sugar and cup egg whites and add coloring if needed. I am paranoid about salmonella, so I use the pasteurized egg white product in the carton. They also make it powdered, sometimes under the name meringue powder. Beat 3-8 minutes (until it forms peaks).
GAMES: More than Pin-the-Tail-on-the-Dragon The CASTLE: get as many cardboard boxes as you possibly can. Then get more. When it looks like you're ready to move, you've got almost enough. We cleared out our living room (as it rained on the party day) and shoved the couch against a wall. We lined the front walk with balloon-stick-colored-paper-flags, so the kids had a row of flags to walk through before hitting the front gate to the drawbridge. Kids checked in our very small foyer (no swords in the house) and were immediately presented with the CASTLE a maze network of thick cardboard (with the tops of the boxes cut out castle-style). We lined the room with the cardboard, taped it together to form a very long chain, then wound it round and round, inside and out to make a superb maze they could go round and round for hours in. And they did!
The castle had special rooms, larger spaces which were decorated with paper chains and trap doors for the dungeon, large windows and rope ladders for turrets, and a drawbridge leading to the backyard that opened and closed along with a gate that slid up and down. You can print out tapestries from the internet and hang them along the inside of the castle at intervals. You can also hang torches at intervals: flashlights in a paper tube with a tuft of tissue paper at the top. Hot glue a larger tube to the castle wall as a holder. (The recycling truck guy had to actually stop at our house and get out to grab all the cardboard we had used!) Knights riding on stick horses all around the yard (stuff an old sock with batting and tie onto the end of a 40 long dowel. Add eyes with markers or sew-on buttons, and add a mane of yarn and felt ears for homemade horses. You can always hot-glue photo-copied horse heads onto the ends as well. Riding a stick horse with a lance in one hand and have to hit a suspended beach ball without getting thumped by the attached flour-in-the-nylon trick. Have an adult on a horse leading this event. (More detail: for older kids, suspend a 3 foot length of dowel from a nearby tree above head level. On one end, tie a ball (if you use a beach ball, you'll need more weight on the dowel for balance, and to the other, an old knee-high nylon filled with white flour). The idea is to hit the ball and get away fast enough before the flour whacks you on the back and leave a footprint. Good luck!)
Juggling contest (you must know SOMEONE who can juggle!) Use bean bags, oranges, small children (just kidding!) Archery shooting soft-tipped arrows (thin, pencil-sized but 2-foot-long dowels tipped with pencil erasers, and there's no need for feathers! They shoot great!!) from a bow (led by an adult). We made only three arrows so not just anyone could go shooting things about, and had them in a quiver when not used. Target through a hula hoop. Make the adult look like Robin Hood with a pointed hat and red feather and a quiver made from a wrapping paper tube and leather belt (shoulder strap). Bow from a stick with stretch-string or thin rope-elastic attached. You can even chain rubber bands together if you have to for littler kids. The dowel-arrows work best if they are notched at the ends so they fit snug on the bowstring.
The Quest is a treasure hunt in disguise! Treasure hunt if your kids can't read yet, just have pictures of what they are to find for clues, such as a pan or a broom, or whatever. You can also have color treasure hunts. Have ten different colors of paper scraps hidden around. Hand them the red one and now they look for something red. When they find the red pillow, for example, they see there's a green card now, so they are off to the plant for another clue You can have a scramble hunt where you take the thing they are supposed to find and mix up the letters. Ten clues are a good number before you start to lose their interest. Charade treasure hunts ask the one who finds it to act out whatever word is on the clue that the kids have to go hunt down. If you want them to search the mailbox, you have to pretend you're a mailbox somehow and get them to figure you out. Secret codes can be done one of many ways: You provide the decoder for the clues and they hash it all out. Of course, you have to write out the gibberish in the first place. I like this one better, myself. Write out the clues on the computer.
Use an editing tool to mirror image all the clues. Cut out and distribute. Place all the words in the sentence (that tells them where to look) all in one long line of letters. Use a space every 5 letters or so. Make every word in the sentence start with a m and end with a, or something silly like that. Write out your clue backwards. For those truly into deciphering cryptic languages, don't provide a key but give them time to figure it out. Replace the letter a with a, and so forth. Not many people are great at this, but some are absolute genius. I built a trebuchet (after searching for plans on the web), but I have a woodworking workshop. If you do have the time, you might want to try making a trebuchet (not a catapult - the kids won't knock their teeth out trying to load the thing). We shot wadded up balls of aluminum foil and ping pong balls (foil worked better, actually).