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Scavenger Hunts for Kids Birthday Parties

by Susan Revermann

When that special time of year comes around, you want to do your best to make your little one feel super special on his birthday. This also includes throwing the best gosh darn party you can, not to mention getting the personal satisfaction of hearing the kids talk about how cool the party was. There are several ways to devise a scavenger hunt to keep these guys occupied and out of the cake before it’s time.

Treasure on a String

For young kids that can’t read quite yet, but can crawl around like creepy crawly critters, this is the scavenger hunt for you. Grab a ball of yarn and attach one end to a final prize at the end of the hunt. Go around your home, winding the yard between chairs, under the table, around the sofa, under the chair again and any other area you find worthy. Cut the excess yarn off and attach this end to a handheld piece of cardboard. Make one of these for each child at the party. You can wind the yarn around the same household items; just don’t overlap the yarn. Line up the party goers and tell them they have to wind the string as they go along this hunt. They’ll scatter like little bugs crawling madly around the house; just don’t squash these bugs!

Animal Hunt

If you’ve got a pet in the house, this one will work. No, your child doesn’t count, even if you feel like you live in a zoo. Break the party goers into two groups. Hand each team a list of five to seven pet items that they can find in the house or in the yard. You can make either a written list or one with pictures of the items. Move some of them so the birthday boy doesn’t immediately win. The dog dish, food, treats and toys are a start. The doggie bed and leash works, too. Each time they find an item, they can cross it off the list. Once they have found everything, give each member of the scavenger team a bag of goodies, like Scooby snacks; the graham crackers shaped like dog bones, not real dog treats.

Treasure Hunt

Rrrrr ye kiddies ready for a hunt for de treasure? Decorate an empty shoebox for your pirate booty with stick-on jewels and glitter glue. Your birthday kid can help decorate this treasure chest. Fill the chest with pirate loot like stickers, press-on tattoos, ring pops and chocolate gold coins. Find a place to bury your treasure, such as a sandbox or filled laundry basket of clean towels. Draw up a map for the kids to find the buried treasure. Use an “X” for the buried treasure and “Start” where they should begin. Draw some landmarks on the map and a dotted line for the path they should follow. Pair the kids up and hand them a map. Let them race to see who finds de sunken treasure. Each pirate should get a fair share of the loot, of course.

Geocaching

Geocaching offers a free real life outdoor treasure hunt, with the help of a handheld GPS device. If you have one of these handy gadgets, you’re in for a treat. The hidden caches are usually just a box of random things, such as small toy cars or a little figurine. These are hidden from plain sight but not completely buried, like under a construction cone, fallen tree branch or rock. You’re supposed to find the treasure and leave something small of your own, if you decide to take something out of the cache. Whether you take anything or not, it’s still a fun adventure. Look on geocaching.com for a list of caches near your location or you can make your own and post it there. Type in the coordinates into the handheld GPS and have the party kids follow the directions given by the device. It’ll tell them when they’re near; they have to look around until they find it. It will be a team effort to find this real life treasure.

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