Peace Love and Geocache Birthday Party
Children’s birthday parties should be three things – simple, inexpensive and a lot of fun! Chuck E. Cheese and the myriad of bounce houses have certainly figured this out. But what if you want a unique birthday experience for your child? Are your options limited to cake and ice cream and a messy house? Absolutely not! As kids get older, entertainment options become more sophisticated … like geocaching, for example. If you are unfamiliar, geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunt … a problem-solving activity that is perfect for today’s tech-savvy kids (and adults, too).
A few weekends ago, I produced this “Peace, Love and Cache” birthday party for a very special 10 year old. Below are some of the design elements and strategies I leveraged to create a simple, inexpensive and really fun birthday party.
Minimal fuss. Geocaching is done on wooded trails where fallen branches, hollow trees and other inconspicuous places exist for hidden caches. To replicate this element but within the cheerful context of the Peace Love Cache invite design, I decorated with inexpensive Christmas decorations, faux snow and clever containers from The Container Store, as well as colorful disposables from Target and a bright turquoise table linen from Capital Party Rentals.
Food and Drinks
Again, minimal fuss! The party was hosted on a Saturday morning. Food included white powered donuts, frosted pop-tarts and granola bars (all hidden in the tree containers) and beverages included orange juice, apple cider and bottled water.
For birthday cake, I incorporated bright colors with no-fuss cupcakes – displayed on two trays for a tiered effect.
Geocaching – a high-tech treasure hunt! I was very fortunate to have Christiane Mitchell, local Girl Scout leader and Northern Virginia Geocaching Organization board member, teach the girls about geocaching and then, lead them on their adventure to find 5 caches on the property.
After a brief introduction, the girls learned how to use a GPS system and then, quickly began exploring for the caches. They worked as a group to find the caches. Christiane’s one request – for the girls to fold their arms and walk way once they discovered the cache to give everyone an opportunity to make the discovery.
Initially, the caches were easy to find but it got more challenging to find a leaf or rock container and then, the ultimate micro cache – a tiny metal cache on the underside of a gate. Girls learned that GPS systems can get you to the location but then you need to use your senses – eyes and touch to really locate the treasure.
Most of the caches included a rubber stamp and ink pad to stamp the girls’ log book. One cache included “Geocache Chick” pins for each girl.
The outstanding aspect of the geocaching entertainment was that it allowed the girls to interact without needing to know each other first. Every girl was a friend of the birthday girl but they might not have known all of the other girls … and it didn’t matter. Each girl had their own GPS system but they worked together to find the caches.
Again, minimal stuff! In addition to the geocaching booklet and ‘Geocaching Chick” pin, each girl received a Girl Scout Junior Geocaching badge, turquoise bandana (to uphold the policy of leave no trace) and colorfully-wrapped candies. To embellish the white bag, I spray painted wooden hearts, peace signs and [geocaching] circles to reinforce the theme and color scheme!
I hope that I have inspired you to produce a simple, inexpensive and really fun birthday party, or if anything else, to give geocaching a try. It’s truly a high-tech treasure hunt that girls, boys and the whole family will enjoy!