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Themed Treasure Hunts, Scavenger Hunts and Theme Party Ideas
Looking for theme party ideas? Perhaps you're looking for scavenger/treasure hunt ideas, themed Bingo sets and more? Look no further! Our extensive collection of scavenger/treasure hunts and theme party idea packages will provide everything you'll need for a great party!
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Setting Up A Creative Treasure Hunt
Treasure Hunt activities are double edge swords. On one hand they can leave room for an abundance of creativity and fun for the planner. On the flip side, the more creative the planner gets, the quicker the process gets more complicated, causing an escalating feeling of being overwhelmed and a desire to quit. Creating one of kind, themed treasure hunts is my passion and I hope that the suggestions provided in this article will assist you as you plan a fun treasure hunt activity for your friends, family and co-workers.
WHY PLAN A TREASURE HUNT?
Treasure hunts are great because of their wide appeal. Their flexibility enables the maximum amount of participation no matter what group is involved. Young can participate as well as old. Those less cerebral can enjoy it as much as someone who works crossword puzzles in their sleep. They can utilize a wide range of skill sets from problem solving opportunities to physical agility to interpersonal dynamics. The shy and bold. The tall and short. The poor and wealthy. EVERYONE can enjoy the activity!
Treasure hunts are also great because of their versatility. They can be adapted to any location or locations and surroundings. They can be created to fit any duration of time needed from several minutes to several days! They can even work around any theme or special occasion you might be planning around.
WHAT KINDS OF FORMATS/OPTIONS ARE AVAILABLE
Over the years, I've explored literally hundreds of varieties of formats. There are a few basic formats to begin with. Enjoy creating hybrids of the ones detailed below, or have fun creating your own!
· At a single location - This
is where the treasure hunt itself is at a fixed location and all activities,
clues, maps, etc. revolve around this single location (i.e. inside your
home, at a church, inside a baseball stadium, etc.) Participants travel
by foot typically (although there is a lot of room for creativity here
CREATIVE IDEAS AND NEW TWISTS
· Give your treasure hunt an
overall theme. It's more difficult to make sense of the activity without
cohesiveness. An overall theme (no matter what it is) does the job nicely.
The theme could either be already built in based on the gathering itself
(Christmas party, St. Patrick's Day festival) or purely imagined by
you. The following is a healthy list of themes to get your creative
juices flowing: Pirates, Indiana Jones/Tomb Raider, Spy/CIA/Mission
Impossible, Wild West, any of the Disney movies would work for children
), Medieval, American Revolution, Civil War, Roaring
20s/Mobsters, Arabian Nights.
Creative Ways to Form Teams
Whether for party games, corporate teambuildings or just small focused discussions, a host/facilitator is presented with the task of putting people into groups. Depending on the participants involved and the activity in mind, this task can fall between overly simple and extremely daunting. The following illustrates some ideas from the simple to the fun and creative on breaking your larger groups into smaller ones.
Some more creative solutions to forming smaller groups:
Here are some other categories that you might choose if using options 2 or 3 above: states, cartoon characters, countries, languages, dogs, trees, vegetables, fruits, cookies, continents, modes of transportation, presidents, authors, artists/painters, cities, movies, letters of the alphabet, numbers, songs, phobias, occupations, holidays, months of the year, fast food chains, candy, actors, directions (North, South, East, West), titles (Queen, King, Duke, Prince, Lord, Countess, etc.), illnesses, forms of world currency (yen, dollars, pounds, francs, etc.) and universities.
Focused suggestions for corporate teambuildings:
1. Grouping individuals that normally work together
can bring with it two different dynamics. On one hand it can be quite
functional, enabling the team members to 'practice' working together
in ways that perhaps they might not normally. This can bring about a
'freshness' to their working relationships - which might have drifted
into staleness over the preceding months or even years. However, depending
on the activity, it could also easily slip into an 'auto-pilot' group
interaction where each individual plays the same or similar role that
they play day to day (i.e. the leader will lead, the follower will follow,
etc.) By mixing up members from different departments, individuals might
get to experience an opportunity to play a different role than perhaps
they see available in their own current department dynamics. This can
be a great way to recognize leadership skills in individuals who might
not be currently in a leadership role.
A Treasure of a Fundraiser
Throughout the 15+ years of designing themed treasure hunts/scavenger hunts professionally, some of the most successful and exciting events planned were for fundraising efforts. With low overhead costs and the ability to generate a lot of excitement for a fresh, new type of event, themed treasure hunts are proving to be more and more successful in raising money for private and public organizations, large and small.
There are a number of different creative and exciting ways to raise money by planning a themed treasure hunt. This article will attempt to 'whet your appetite' as to the numerous ways funds can be raised and excitement generated for your next fundraising event by creating a treasure hunt.
The treasure hunt itself can vary greatly in both size and budget. Some treasure hunts I've produced have been for crowds in the hundreds paying small entrant fees - all attempting to be the first to complete the treasure hunt for a prize donated by a local merchant. Others have been considerably more sophisticated, as in the case of a California Department of Mental Health function held a few years ago. Bids were sold to a more affluent crowd and a Quest for the Holy Grail adventure was held on the grounds of a very large and wealthy estate. (For more information on the Quest for the Holy Grail adventure, click here) The flexibility exists to ensure that every group fundraiser can be successful, no matter the size, age or affluence of the participants.
The following is a collection of ideas to show the various and numerous ways to raise money easily and creatively by planning a fantastic themed treasure hunt adventure:
· Begin by planning on selling tickets to participate in the event. Ticket prices can vary depending on the demographics of your participants. For example, if your are planning an event involving high school aged students, you'd probably fair better at selling hundreds of tickets at a cheaper price. However, if you were planning an event for a more mature and sophisticated crowd, you might want to sell tickets at a much higher price, making available only a set number of tickets for purchase to ensure higher odds at winning the grand prize for the participants (especially if a prize is given for the winning team.)
· Great prizes can be offered. Many groups have been very successful at arranging for prizes to be donated by local merchants. Sometimes a large prize was donated, such as a television set. At other times, a small basket of several smaller gifts has been offered from donating merchants ($15 gift certificates, etc.) Prizes can also come in the form of services provided by the organization planning the treasure hunt. For example, a prom committee raising funds for their dance could give out free Prom bids to the first five finishing teams. Another idea for a prize is to have the top placing teams being refunded their entry fee - or even getting a percentage of the total proceeds taken in by the event.
Here are a few tricks to get prizes donated for your treasure hunt:
· As a way to enhance your treasure hunt theme, find out if a local costume shop will donate one or some of the needed costumes
· Curtailing the above, if there are any other props or set pieces that would enhance your treasure hunt theme, find out if there are any vendors who would donate them in exchange for a form of advertising.
· Capitalize on your treasure hunt theme. Is your theme based on Pirates of the Caribbean? Why not have a small pirate port themed area at the beginning/end of the hunt and sell spaces to vendors where themed items and food can be sold? The same would work for a mini Renaissance Faire or an Egyptian marketplace. Depending on your treasure hunt theme, you could really plan a spectacular bazaar that could rival the hunt itself for excitement!
· Print up a mini story or background piece about the theme and storyline of your adventure treasure hunt and distribute them to the participants before they begin. It will generate a lot of enthusiasm when your participants get consumed with the story.
· Once the treasure hunt event is proven a success, it could easily be turned into an annual event, as it did with several of my clients. Teams from the year before's treasure hunt often reassembled in later hunts to try once more to win the prize. A continuing plaque or trophy could be displayed with the current and all past year's treasure hunt winners.
Perhaps the greatest part about planning a themed treasure hunt adventure for your next fundraiser, besides all the excitement it will generate, is the fact that it has a potentially very high chance of having very little overhead costs. Aside from some photocopies and footwork, few other expenses need to be expended - now that is music to a fundraiser's ears!
Plan something new and exciting that everyone will remember in future years! Plan a treasure of a fundraiser!
For a listing of our different treasure hunt packages CLICK HERE
Tips for Holding Treasure Hunts in Public Parks
It's been proven to me over and over again that one can hold a really great treasure hunt just about anywhere. Parks are great places to have them! Sometimes you can find some with small caves and tunnels made out of overgrowth (my personal favorite...). The following is a small list of useful and practical tips when hiding clues at parks (most I have learned the hard way!
1. Make sure that NO KIDS see you hide your clue or bury an object. I guarantee you, as soon as you leave, they will rush over and remove whatever it was that you left. It sounds terrible, but remember...they ARE kids and finding a mysterious clue or unearthing a treasure chest is like a slice of heaven to them!
2. Find out what times the parks open and close. Sometimes different parks close at dusk, other times much later in the evening. I've been escorted by policemen out of parks when I've tried to hide my clues the night before. Not fun.
3. Keep in mind where the sprinklers are. Many parks have their sprinklers timed to go off in the middle of the night. Even if you are successful at hiding your clues the night before, you could be left with soggy scraps in the morning.
4. Depending on your theme, look for parks with or near washes. Typically, at least in So. Cal. where I live, you'll find a heavy growth of vegetation. I've used locales like this for jungles and pirate scenes (the water is a great place to hide a bottle with a note - just make sure that you secure it with rocks so that the current of the wash doesn't move it.)
5. When exploring these heavy-growth areas (off the beaten track), be careful of vagrants' domiciles. You don't want to get too close to someone's home.
6. Many parks are themed. Get a hold of your local county map a puruse the parks in your area. I did that once and found a killer Western themed park. It had a street with shop fronts, a jail, a hotel, the works - and it was all made from old wood. Sometimes, the best parks are nestled in housing tracks where few readily know where to find them.
7. Be careful of festivals. Sometimes a festival can take over an entire park - without any warning - taking that killer place that you were planning on hiding the final object. Check the Dept. of Parks and Rec. in your area to make sure that a surprise like that won't happen.
8. Curtailing the above,
make sure that you find out who might have certain areas of the park
reserved. Sometimes a company picnic could be just as big a problem
- if they were in the wrong spot.
For a listing of our different treasure hunt packages CLICK HERE
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