A scavenger hunt is a great idea for a kids' party. It's a way to keep them entertained and let all the kids enjoy the game. Either split them into teams and let them compete to find out who can discover the treasure first, or let the whole lot of them run around seeking out clues and objects. Either way, each kid should be given the chance to read and figure out a clue, and each group should be accompanied by an adult to make sure everyone’s playing fair.
The more parental activity involved, the more intricate the game can be made, with parents lying in wait to ambush their children with squirt guns or crepe paper nets and stuffed lion attacks. The kids, of course, will escape and run on to the next clue, but the excitement of knowing there could be an ambush ahead will make the kids feel like their favorite adventurers.
Plastic pith helmets, canteens and water guns of their own will play into the theme and help the kids get into the game. Plus, with all that running around, kids can stay hydrated carrying their own canteens—or they can refill their flagging water gun ammunition. Encourage the kids with trail mix snacks hidden among the other treasures, but don’t overdo it as you want them to have a good meal after all this activity.
Clues with simple, age appropriate riddles will help you space out the actual treasures, letting you make the game as long or as short as you’d like. Make sure there’s an adult on hand which each group to gently nudge the kids toward the riddle’s answer, if they can’t seem to puzzle it out. Clues can be addressed to specific kids—especially if you know there’s a shy one or two in the group—or to all of them in general. The adults should never give the answers straight out, or let on that they know the answers, but instead encourage the kids to figure them out.
Make sure there are enough treasures to go around, and everyone feels as if they’ve come out of the hunt with something. If you split the hunters into teams, let each team find their treasure before declaring a winner and have a little something extra for the winner. If the treasure hunt is undertaken by the whole group, give out medals to everyone and reward all the kids for their participation. Suitable treasures or objects to find might include spyglasses, kaleidoscopes, binoculars, compasses, and stuffed animals like lions, zebras or hippos.
After the Hunt
Make sure to have a meal ready for the end of the hunt. Whether it’s hamburgers or hot dogs, or pizza and sandwiches, have something ready for the kids to sit down to. This will help them transition out of the more active hunt, and let them wind down before its time to return them all home. If you’re planning this as a birthday party, the birthday cake could even been the final treasure.