Scavenger Hunt Birthday Party
I think it's pretty safe to say that everyone wants to have a birthday party that everyone talks about fondly long after the party is over. And once you've done that once, you can never go back to ordinary. Each year you have to try to top the last. You have to keep the ideas fresh to keep up with that kind of self-imposed pressure.
A few years ago we tried a Scavenger Hunt for my teenage daughter's birthday party. Everyone loved it. We didn't have any trouble finding adult volunteers to help either since everyone thought it would be fun.
This is how we did ours:
- We had the party guests all meet at our house. You can begin the party anywhere you like, but make sure you have everyone gathered at one place before you begin. Stragglers don't really work well with this type of party.
- We broke up into teams based on the number of legal driving adults present and the seating capacity of their vehicles. In our case, we had four vehicles.
- Each team was handed a bag (any type will do) and a typed list of items to find that was prepared beforehand. Knowing how many guests to expect and vehicles participating helps a lot.
- We had several meeting points along the way at designated times so that the birthday girl could switch vehicles and ride with each group at some point during the adventure. (It's not much fun to go to a birthday and spend all day with other people besides the birthday girl.) Make sure the drivers are familiar with the meeting locations. Having cell phones helps tremendously in this. I gave the driver of each vehicle $10 in cash and a disposable camera that they could use at their discretion. They could use the money for gas, to purchase any items they may have trouble finding for free, or one driver even bought drinks for everyone in her vehicle. The camera was for anyone in the vehicle to take pictures of anything they wanted to. One of the places we stopped was a park. The kids took lots of pictures of each other there while they played for a bit on the playground equipment.
- There were several places in town that I knew would be of interest to the kids. Included in my list were places they had to go and write down what they saw there or answer some question that let me know they had been there. They had to read several historical markers and give me dates of what historical event took place there, etc. There is also a house that has a huge concrete gorilla in their yard close to the street. They decorate the girl for each holiday and other special occasions. I asked them to tell me what they found at such-in-such address. Again, your drivers should be familiar with the location.
- Below is a list of items to have the teams gather similar to the list we used. You want to have some items that are easy to find and some they may not find at all. That's what will spawn their creativity and a competitiveness between the groups. It may be the only thing that separates the ‘winner' from the ‘losers'.
- Arrange for all the teams to meet at a specific time to end the hunt and make sure they understand that being punctual is part of the game. Have someone call out the list of items and have everyone hold up that item. You can have prizes for the winner.
- Take up the cameras and have the pictures processed. Get extra copies and share them with the guests so that everyone has something from the event. Nowadays you can more affordably get all of the pictures put on disks and email them, etc.
Paper cup with a logo
Piece of lace
Piece of string
Any size battery
Book of matches
Napkin with a logo
Piece of gum
Packet of ketchup
Packet of hot sauce
Something pink and purple
One real flower
One artificial flower
Two rocks-different colors
Two strands beads-different colors
Something in black and white print
Any type of hair accessory
A coin between a range of years
CD from a certain year
Happy face sticker
Baseball card or trading card
Something with #1 on it
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