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Ancient-Egyptian Treasure Hunt

Time-travel back to the days of King Tut with this adventure party that packs in loads of mystery and fun.

Mystery-Scroll Invitation

Use parchment-style paper or age white paper with a wet tea bag. (Let paper dry completely.) You can singe the edges of the paper (adults only!) by lighting the edge and blowing out the flame immediately. Repeat as needed. Write invitation details and draw hieroglyphs for added effect. Roll paper into a scroll, then secure with twine weighted with two pebbles. Hand-deliver or mail in tubes.

Treasure Hunt

Tell the children that some of King Tut's treasure was never found. Then send teams of guests on the hunt. (To arrange clues, it's easiest to work backward: Place the treasure in its spot, and set up the final clue that leads to it. Continue until you get to the first clue.) For added fun, you can also create a treasure map that corresponds to the party setting. To make the treasure chest, cover the lid and bottom of a box with masking tape for a mummified effect and decorate Egyptian-style. Arrange gold tissue paper inside, and fill with goody bags.

Hieroglyphic Charms

Let guests make rock-shaped Egyptian charms using Sculpey Granitex clay. Have kids translate their initials into hieroglyphics, and use toothpicks to carve hieroglyphs into the clay.

Pyramid Kids

Kids ages 7 and up can create a human pyramid with three or four children on the bottom, two above, and the lightest child on the top. Snap a photo and make copies of it to send with the thank-you notes.

Treasure-Loot Goody Bag

Fill minipyramids with chocolate coins, stretchy snakes, toy compasses, beads, stickers, and "rock" Granitex clay. To make the pyramid, enlarge and trace the template onto gold card stock. Punch holes at the top, fill, and then tie edges together with gold-wired ribbon.

By Jacqueline Plant

Your little archaeologists will really dig a slice of this tasty treat. The edible glitters used to decorate the cake are available at party or craft stores.

desert_oasis_cake

Prep and decorating time: 1 hour

Bake time: 35 to 45 minutes

Yield: 12 servings

  • 1 box (18.25 oz.) yellow-cake mix 12"x18" cake board
  • 2 cans (16 oz. each) vanilla frosting
  • Brown, yellow, and white edible glitters (each in .25 oz. container)
  • 2 cups ground vanilla wafers
  • Plastic palm trees
  • Dots candy
  • Gold candles

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease two 8"x8" square baking pans. Prepare cake mix according to package directions, using pound-cake variation (add instant pudding and an extra egg). Pour into pans and spread evenly; bake 35 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Transfer to wire rack, and cool 15 minutes. Invert cakes onto rack and cool completely.

2. To decorate: Place a cake layer on sheet of waxed paper, and frost with ½ cup frosting. Place second cake layer on top, centered. With a large serrated knife, score top of second layer 1¾" from edge to form a square. Position cake flush to counter edge. Cut off wedge-shaped edges, using score marks on top and counter edge as guides.

pym_step1

Repeat on remaining 3 sides. (You should have a flat-topped, slope-sided shape).

pym_step2

Take 2 cut wedge shapes, and sandwich the flat, uncut sides together with frosting. Place on top of cake, centered. With serrated knife, cut 2 unsloped sides off the top piece to form a pyramid. (If desired, cut remaining pieces into a triangle and sandwich together for a smaller pyramid cake).

pym_step3

3. Transfer pyramids to cake board. Frost both pyramids with vanilla frosting. Using the dull side of a knife, score cakes to make block pattern and doorway for pyramid. In a small bowl, combine brown, yellow, and white sparkles. Using your fingertips, grind sparkles into fine powder. Place sparkles, a little at a time, on a spoon. Gently blow sparkles onto sides of cake to cover frosting. (Be careful not to inhale). Place ground wafers around pyramids for sand. Use Dot candies to secure palm trees and candles to board, and cover with wafer crumbs.

Copyright© 2004. Reprinted with permission from the April 2002 issue of Parents magazine.