Thursday, January 22, 2009

Theme Party Thursday: Scavenger Hunt

Heaven knows I am the queen of theme parties. However, my kids now inform me that they are too old for theme parties. Thus, I have decided to post all of my theme party ideas online so I can delete them from my files. I'll post one a week over the next several weeks. However, if you're desperate for a certain theme sooner, just submit it in my comments and I'll see what I can do to help.

Oh and piece of advice. I only schedule my parties to last 90 minutes for small/elementary school aged kids (unless we go swimming or bowling or something). Cuz the games will go fast and you will end up with lots of kids out of control. I also tend to run my parties the same way. 1) welcome activity. 2) games 3) gifts 4) eat 5) party favors & good-byes. That way if a parent comes early the kids can take their cake to go and not miss out on the fun. 'Nuff said. Here goes... Enjoy!

This is a great one for the pre-teen or young teen. The good thing is, the bulk of the party is taken up by the scavenger hunt, and you don't need to plan a whole lot of activities.

The Game’s Afoot!
It’s [child's name]'s birthday!

I’ve searched and hunted for things to do,
Of course I decided to invite you too!
So if you’re up for a challenge, some adventure and fun
then come join the party for a scavenger hunt!
Regrets only [ph #]

Type of scavenger Hunts:
Take the Cake: Decide on cake recipe and then use the same amount of ingredients for the list of scavenger hunt items to be found (i.e., 1 C sugar, 3 eggs, 2 tbsp cooking oil in plastic baggie). When the group returns, have everyone help bake the cake. While the cake is baking, continue with the other food and presents, or any other game.
Silly Sounds: Give each group a list of items and a voice recorder. The groups will then go and try to find the sounds. The first group back with all of the sounds recorded wins. Use things, like “train whistle”, “bell”, “dog bark”, “baby cry”, etc.
Picture Hunt: Give each group a digital camera or camcorder. Include a list of items around town. The first group back with all of the images on their camera wins.
Mall Hunt: Give each group a set amount of money, such as $5. Then give a list of items to purchase. Items could be things like “hair clip from Claire’s”, “pen from Office Max”, “chocolate dipped Oreo from Suzy’s Chocolate”, etc. Visit the mall ahead of time to determine items, stores, and cost for each group. If you want, you could give each group an extra $10 and have them purchase a gift card from the birthday child’s favorite store. At the end of the party, the bought items become the party favors, and the gift cards is one of your gifts to your teen.
Bigger & Better: Split guests into groups of 3 or more. Give each group a penny. Explain that they have a certain time limit to try and exchange their penny for something bigger or better. They can continue to trade up for things that are bigger or better, as long as they return within the time limit. Then, when all the groups return, determine which group has the biggest item and which group has the best. Award both groups with a prize, such as a bag full of mini candy bars.
Traditional Scavenger: Make a list of hard to find items for a traditional scavenger hunt. Use items such as a “wheat penny”, “broken mug”, “foam hair roller”, “unused baby diaper”, “red inked pen” etc.

*We did the "bigger & better" scavenger hunt for my oldest son's 12th birthday. Everyone thought it was a hit. We had 3 groups and ended up with a Giant, bigger-than-life stuffed tiger, a 6 foot Artificial Christmas Tree and a girls pink bike. It's amazing what other people are willing to let you haul away. When the kids got back they had worked up an appetite. It was perfect timing as our 5 Buck Pizza had just arrived. They basically just hung out and shared their "hunt stories", ate pizza and drank soda till it was time for presents, cake & ice cream.

Party Favors: I didn't make any themes party favors for the guests as my son insisted that I not. (he was "too old"). But I did have their dad drive around the neighborhood snapping shots of each group on their hunts. After we developed the prints and handed them out to his friends. They loved that. I also sent them home with a movie-size candy. They were like 88 cents each at Wal-Mart. I attached a little note that said, "thanks for playing". It was perfect for teens.


Cindy said...

Where were you when I needed all those fantastic ideas?...I simply had my children at too young an age :)

Ruthykins said...

i've never played bigger or better. i think that one would be fun, though.

pinkelephant said...

Emma, you are the best! Where did you get all those ideas from? I will stick to your advice and do the gift then cake. I always did cake then gift. Some kids finished eating fast and it was sometimes painful to have to gather them all up again for the gift.
Also, you gave me an idea for my oldest who will turn 12 in May. I wanted to have kind of a bigger one but the thought of preparing everything overwhelmed me since the baby is due in May also. Bigger&better sounds like a perfect choice now!
Keep this posts coming. I LOVE birthday party with a theme. Thank you! xoxo

greenolive said...

Dear Party Professor
I am having a combined party for a 4 yr old and a 2 yr old in April. I figure it will have to be an indoor party. Do you have any suggestions for a bunch of kids in a cramped house? -Michigan Momma

RhondaLue said...

Dear Michigan Momma,

I'm not Emma but here's my advice for the kids in a cramped house:

Take some Prozac and have back-up!

RhondaLue said...

You're the COOLEST mom EVERRRR! We sort of have big ym/yw get togethers here and there but we only have friend BIRTHDAY parties every few years for each kid. As long as we have food and drink and plenty o' kids they come up with their own entertainment. It's especially fun when they play mafia and are kind enough to let my little kids play too.

I have a big EIGHT yr old in april that I'll be planning a party for. I'll continue to watch for more great ideas!

lilianril said...

Those are awesome scavenger hunt ideas! We never had any that good. And the kids that come to my house usually want a penny from before 1975 or something else kinda boring like that.

purplehaze said...

Emma you truly are amazing! I really want to hear what you thought of Disneyland though since it was your first time!!

The Willeyes said...

I remember this party! "S" loved it:)

"The Queen in Residence" said...

Great ideas.I had some kids just come around doing bigger and better, it was fun to hear what they finally ended up with.

Susie said...

What a great idea!!

KiennaP said...

Us young women want to do bigger n better for one of our activities!! Hey, what are we doing for MY 12th party???? ;) (i was just reading some of your old posts and stumbled upon your party ideas)