Scavenger hunts are a common activity for older children, teens and even adults during birthday parties. Scavenger hunts typically start with a list of odd items that must be obtained from neighbors, nature, the mall or wherever your birthday party is being held. Each item will have a predetermined point value, and a list of rules must be followed. Split your party guests into teams, and let the hunt begin.
Divide your guests into two, three or more even teams, depending on the size of your party and the ages of the party guests. Draw names randomly to make it fair, or separate the teams into groups who don’t know each other very well to promote the kids interacting and making new friends. Assign each team a color or name to distinguish between clues or lists and make it easier to keep track of each team’s progress and points.
Explain the rules before the scavenger hunt begins. Set a specific time limit and penalties for being late, such as losing a certain number of points. If you’re planning a neighborhood scavenger hunt, dictate how many items the teams can get from each house. Let the participants know they must stress that items will not be returned to prevent any neighbors from becoming upset later. If you’re having a mall scavenger hunt, be clear about whether participants can spend their money on items. Use one list for all teams or create different lists, depending on what’s easiest for you. Assign each item a point value if some items are more difficult, or have each item be worth the same number of points.
There are various types of scavenger hunts and lists available, or you can create your own. Mall scavenger hunts can include things such as hangers, buttons, string, job applications, pictures with a sales person named John or a picture of a team member trying on a hot pink shirt. Nature scavenger hunts can include leaves, a blade of grass, a daisy, bugs or shiny rocks. Neighborhood scavenger hunts can include random items that neighbors might have on-hand, such as a penny from a certain year, rubber band, ball of yarn, cat calendar or shoestring.
Some items can fit inside of a small bag and serve as proof, but others can’t. For example, if you have an “around town” scavenger hunt, you can’t take statues or road signs home. Therefore, pictures or videos can serve as proof. Have fun with the pictures and videos as they can be turned into keepsakes and scrapbooks documenting the birthday party. Have teams find a police officer to sing or dance for, make a pyramid with or get handcuffed by. Or have strangers join in with silly songs or trade hats or sunglasses.
Give out prizes for different things so that each team gets a prize. Award prizes to the team that finishes first, gets the most points, gets the fewest points or comes back with the best picture or item. The team that comes in last or gets the fewest points could even get dollar-store gag gifts, such as silly nose and eyeglasses disguises, bubbles, gum or something that fits in with the theme of your birthday party.
- coloured bags on white background image by Nikolay Okhitin from Fotolia.com