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Any idea that will make a birthday even more special is a winner in my book! Do I have a GREAT idea for you?!! A birthday scavenger hunt! If you’ve read my blog about my five favorite birthday party traditions, you’ll know that I do a scavenger hunt for my kid’s for every birthday. Well, I’m going to show you how you can do one, too!
Scavenger Hunt vs Treasure Hunt
Actually, this is a treasure hunt. I know it probably doesn’t really matter but for the sake of accuracy, I thought I’d clarify. We’ve just always called it a scavenger hunt and I’m not changing it now! A scavenger hunt is actually where you have to find certain things on a list.
A Scavenger Hunt Party
I did this once with some military wives when Kevin was in the Marine Corps and it was so fun. We divided into teams and each team had the same list of items. We drove around looking for each item and took a picture when we found it. After we had found all the items we met back at a set location for a party. It was such fun trying to find the items and we laughed a lot! So, while it isn’t what my post is about, it is a great idea for a unique and fun party for adults!
Road Trip Scavenger Hunt
This was an idea born out of necessity! At one point when the kids were little, we traveled a lot. (Seriously, A LOT!) Why? Well, Kevin and I decided we needed a change. So I became a travel nurse! We put our stuff in storage, packed up what we needed in a small trailer and moved our family from Oklahoma to California for a travel nurse assignment for 6 months. Kevin home schooled the kids. I worked three nights a week in the Emergency Room. And, the rest of the time we were tourists!
When that assignment ended, we packed up and moved to Massachusetts for a travel job. We didn’t stay long in Massachusetts and ended up back in California. There are so many cool things to see on a cross country road trip! We went to the Grand Canyon, camped at the great lakes, spent a night in Las Vegas, visited Niagara Falls and saw Mt. Rushmore. The list is long but so was the amount of driving we did! Therefore, I had to come up with a bunch of ideas to keep the kids entertained. So, I started making scavenger hunts for road trips.
I’d make a different list of things for each child to see while we were driving and they’d have to cross them off. It encouraged them to look out the window and pay attention to their surroundings. Best thing? It kept them entertained and was fun, without electronics. The beauty of doing this is that it is really simple to make and it can be as easy or hard as you want to make it. By making different lists, it also cut down on the fighting between the kids! Bonus!!
My road trip scavenger hunt would look a little like this:
- a cow
- purple car
- picture of a milkshake
- a tractor
- a boat
- a car pulling a motorcycle
Stuff like that. I’d also usually make it relevant to where we were driving. Bridges, surf boards and boats if we were near the ocean. Cows, horses and red barns if we were driving in the country. It really is a fun and easy thing to do to keep kids entertained and give them a break from electronics in the car.
Back to the Birthday Party Scavenger Hunt
It kind of goes like this. We start with a key and the first clue on the table. Solve the first clue and you will find a present and the second clue. Solve the second clue and it will lead you to a present and the third clue. And, so on until you have found all the clues.
If you want to keep things simple, and depending on the age of the person doing the hunt, you could use the key for all the clues. Here’s a picture of the key I used for Weston’s last birthday. Notice it has a simple shape AND a number for each letter.
The first clue.
Weston used the key to find the words muscles, heavy and lift. This led him to a bin where we keep weights and dumbbells. There he found a gift and a second clue.
The second clue.
Weston loves football, so I wrote the name of four football players and left a blank spot for their jersey numbers for Weston to fill out. Once he figured out each player’s number (Some he knew and others he had to look up online.) he used the key to correlate it to a letter. The letters spelled out the word oven. That’s where his next present and clue were.
The third clue.
Often times, I’ll use a photo clue. I take a picture and write the location of the next present/clue on the back, then I’ll cut it up and make it a puzzle. I’ll put it in a baggie with some tape and that is the clue. Weston had to put this picture puzzle together and tape it. Then he turned it over for the location of the next present.
The fourth clue.
Here is an example of a clue where I type the same word, over and over but I insert extra letters at random points that spell out where the next present/clue is. I used the word BALL over and over and randomly inserted the letters spelling out fire pit. As Weston went through the letters he wrote down all the letters that were out of place. He figured out that the present was at the fire pit outside.
The fifth clue.
One clue idea that is very fun is a balloon clue. The child would find a clue that looks like this:
This leads them to looking for a balloon that’s different. Sometimes I draw a smiley face on the balloon with the clue in it, maybe I don’t blow it up as much, so it will be smaller, or maybe they just find it by shaking it and seeing the paper inside.
When they find the right balloon they have to pop it! Out come the clues. You can write where to find the next clue but for Weston’s last birthday, I put this clue in. He had to unscramble! (My kids hate to unscramble! MUAHAHAHAHA (Evil laugh!!!)) Note that I numbered it so they would know it was two different words.
Try This! You’ll love it!
Those are some of my ideas. The more hunts you do the easier it will get. I always make a list of where the presents go to help me when I set up the hunt. For example, for these clues my list would look like this.
I won’t lie to you and say that I throw this together in ten minutes. It usually takes me a few hours to make the clues but it is SO FUN!! Your child, spouse, fiance, really anyone will love this! And, you don’t have to have individual presents with each clue. You could just start with a clue that leads to another clue etc. and the final clue leads you to your gift.
Next time you have a special day, try it! Not only will the birthday child love it, so will you!