The Great Adventure Birthday Party

Devise an action-themed scavenger hunt complete with treasure at the end.

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Channel your inner Indiana Jones for an adventure-themed party. An adventure-focused party works for both boys and girls and can be adapted for a range of ages. Plus, the party’s main event – a scavenger hunt with clues – will keep kids occupied for the duration of the fete.

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Send the First Clue

Set the stage for an exciting escapade by printing invitations on parchment-like paper. Use an online map like Google Maps to print out a map of the streets surrounding your house and mark its location with an X. Print or color copy a map for each child and include it with his or her invite, indicating that X marks the start of the adventure. You can even instruct kids to bring a backpack to carry their exploring gear. Mail the invitations in a classic red, white and blue air-mail envelope and have your child write the words “top secret” on each one.

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Create a Jungle Room

Decorate for the adventure party with items you already have around the house, plus a few extra details. A globe and houseplants take on an exotic air when surrounded by inexpensive rubber snakes. Maps from your car’s glove box can paper a wall where party supplies are set up; don’t worry, it doesn’t matter that they’re maps of New Jersey and not the Amazon. Leaf-green and woodsy-brown paper products continue the jungle-like theme. Take the party to the next level by investing in a CD of jungle sounds to play during the event.

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Provide Fuel for the Adventure

When the children arrive, set out boxes of trail mix and “adventure juice” to fuel their hunt. For a healthy trail mix, create a blend of dried fruits, nuts and cereals; pack the mix into small cardboard favor boxes. “Adventure juice” can be any flavor of your choosing; simply decant it into a glass bottle and label it with a manila tag to continue the theme. Bunches of bananas can do double duty as both a decoration and snacks for hungry explorers. If you’re serving lunch, wrap up sandwiches and granola bars for the kids to eat along the “trail.”

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Create a Course

For the scavenger hunt itself you’ll need to tailor the clues to your own home. Use the same parchment-style paper you used for the invitation to print out the clues of the scavenger hunt. Each clue will lead the children to the next location, where they will find another clue; try to be as creative as you can when writing the hints. To add interest, you can place pieces of equipment the adventurers might need at each locale, say a length of rope, a flashlight or a compass, or you can create an obstacle they must ford. Choose a location that is removed from the rest of the house, like the basement or a shed in the backyard, for the location of the final clue and the “treasure.”

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Hide the Treasure

The party favors will be the “treasure” for your scavenger hunt. Opt for treats to match the quest like inexpensive flashlights and keychain carabiners. Flashlights (or treat bags) can be filled with small candies wrapped in gold foil to look like real treasure. If you have an old trunk or box, stash the favors inside for extra impact.

Laura Fenton is a Brooklyn-based writer and stylist whose work has appeared in many publications, including Country Living, Family Circle and Good Housekeeping. She is also a regular contributor to Shelterpop.com.

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