Idea No.


Scavenger Hunt -6yr- Backyard Team Hunt



September 2004


Shannon in Frisco, TX


Scavenger Hunt Party

For my daughter's 6th birthday, we decided to do a scavenger hunt in our yard. It was in June on a Friday night, from 6-8pm. (Still light outside in Texas then). We have a lot of space and thought it would be neat to have it outside. You could easily do this theme at a park, or in several neighbor's yards, as long as you plot out all your "clues" in advance. (It was either doing this, or yet ANOTHER princess party, and since my daughter had so many boys that she wanted to invite, this ended up as a good "unisex" party idea.)  Also, since the kids were so young, we didn't feel it was a good idea to do the car scavenger hunt idea YET. Staying home was a much better alternative. 

I may be more detailed than you want, but I know that when I'm looking for ideas, I print off as many variations as I can find to get an overall "concept" of the party. I'll include everything I can to make it easier for anyone interested in doing this same scavenger hunt theme.  I struggled with invitations because I was amazed at how few places sell a generic "scavenger hunt" themed invitation. Everything with a treasure chest or map also had pirate pictures, etc. (With a daughter, this just didn't work.) We ultimately found some card stock that was ivory and had kind of a leopard-looking border with some palm trees on the side. The colors were basically green, brown, black and ivory.

Not necessarily anything to do with the ultimate party colors, but it set the stage for the "outdoor scavenger hunt". The wording on the invitation said:  X marks the spot fot the party today There'll be pizza & cake & some treasure along the way  The adventure begins just a little past six As we search the yard over for things on our list.  We'll do silly things to get points for our team Taking pictures all the while of all that we've seen.  As I received RSVPs, I then split the kids up into teams. This was tricky because we started out doing it lottery style, so noone would feel left out. From there, I then made a few moves to make sure no child was on a team with people they didn't know. At least everyone had one little buddy. There were four teams altogether. 

I went to Wal-mart (the main expense of the party) and bought a bunch of blank Hanes Beefy-Ts shirts in red, royal blue, white and yellow. (The most unisex colors I could find in all sizes.) I then designed a tshirt design in Photoshop (nothing real fancy ... found some clip art with a man holding a magnifying glass and binoculars) and put "In search of a good time" across the top, with Katie's 6th Birthday Scavenger Hunt below the logo. I bought a bunch of those iron-on transfers (keeping in mind that your colored shirts need different kinds of transfers than the white shirts.) The most time-consuming part was determining what colors the logos should be for the different shirts. If I used the same logo on all colors, it would be hard to see certain things. So what I did is I used the same color scheme of red, white, blue and yellow, and changed the background of the logo so that it was a good contrasting color against the shirt. Therefore each team had their own logo color. It took me a day or two of testing to get everything right and then the process of ironing began.

That only actually took me about 3 hours, off an on, to iron, peel, etc all 40 shirts, and and my daughter helped. (She thought that was really cool.)While we had a large crowd, I'm sure this same concept could be great for as few as 16-20 kids. (One other thing to consider is sizing of shirts. That was kind of hard, so I would request RSVPs a little sooner than later, so you can make sure to have as close to the right size for each guest as possible.)  I didn't really do anything in the way of decorations, except for some red, blue, white and yellow balloons at the mailbox. Then when the kids came in, they were given their team shirt as well as a straw scavenger hat, a pair of black binoculars and a green canteen -- all from Birthday Express. We had two rooms designated as boy/girl dressing rooms, so the parents could take them back and change before they dropped them off. (I had pre-warned everyone who RSVPed by email that the kids should dress very comfortable. That way none of the girls showed up in dresses.) 

Once the kids were changed, we immediately served the pizza in the kitchen/on the back porch, since we knew that they wouldn't want to stop and eat once all the fun began. We served juice and water, in coolers. They were so funny running around after eating pretending like they were in search of treasure.  After food was done, we gathered everyone up for a group picture, lining up all the teams on each step. It made a very cute, color-coordinated picture, which incorporated into our thank you notes that we printed ourselves.  Since there were four teams, my husband and I each were in charge of one team, my sister another, and his sister the other. EAch of us had a digital camera and knew to take pictures of each "activity" to prove it had been accomplished.

We also all had our own version of a whistle (train whistle, sports whistle, flute, etc) so that our teams knew that when they heard their designated sound, they needed to come over to us for the picture.  As all of my clues were intended for outdoor use (and I"ll include them here), I panicked the afternoon of the party when we had one of our biggest storms ever. Fortunately, I had also prewarned parents that if bad weather came, we would still be having the party, so don't let that determine whether their child would still be coming.) Because of the rain, I sat down and quickly tried to come up with clues that could be used indoors. (All the while stressing over the chaos that was sure to be running through my house!)

Fortunately, the rain stopped just as the kids were arriving, so by the time the kids finished eating, they were gradually starting to go outside. We then switched many of the indoor clues back to the original outside clues, and ended up with a good combination of both. (We eliminated the outdoor clues that were in the muddiest areas of our yard.)  I'm going to give you both sets of clues, so that you can have a rainy day backup plan if you ever decided to do any of this. What would happen is I had the adults read the clues aloud and then the kids had to either fill in the blank or figure out where in our yard they were supposed to go based on what they heard.(Note: I'll warn you that some of the clues are cheesy sounding, but they were hysterical watching the kids do them! And the pictures were even funnier!) 

CLUES:   1. CLUE: I'm made of wood and have colors of brown, yellow and green. When you're on me you can climb, slide or swing. What am I?  (the answer was our swingset) 

ACTIVITY:  Picture of all team members on the slide at the same time = 4 points 

2. CLUE:  Ahoy Matey! If Captain Hook were here today He wouldn’t want to laugh or play He’d search the land both far and wide To find the hidden treasure inside.  What do you think Captain Hook’s treasure is in? (I stashed a treasure chest I picked up at US TOys and put a bunch of paper pirates hats, plastic swords, bead necklaces and eye patches in it. A pirate flag stuck out from the chest to make it easier to find.) 

ACTIVITY: Find the treasure chest and everyone should dress up with a hat, eye patch and sword and take the meanest group pirate picture around = 4 points 

3. CLUE:  Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a ____ of water. (We set up a fake "well" and they had to go find it. My father-in-law filled it up with confetti, they didn't know this, and threw it all over them. They thought they were getting wet so these pictures were especially funny.) 

ACTIVITY: Picture of all team members around the well as "bucket" is emptied on their heads = 4 points  

4. CLUE: What is in Katie's yard that is made out of wood, is painted yellow and white and has its own roof? (answer - the playhouse) 

ACTIVITY: Picture of team members inside the playhouse as they are all crammed in the puppet theater at the same time = 4 points 

5.CLUE: Ariel has been kidnapped by Ursula the Sea Witch! King Triton doesn’t know where Ursula is but said she’s wearing a disguise. Now she’s green and yellow and has eight long legs. What is she? (answer - we have one of those pool floats that is a giant octopus. I blew it up for this activity). 

ACTIVITY:  Team picture of everyone squeezing Ursula, the giant Octopus. = 3 points 

6.CLUE: I'm yellow and round and oh so short You're sure to find me on a tennis court. (if you don't have a tennis court, you could put a bucket of tennis balls on the driveway to do this) 

ACTIVITY: Have team members line up and throw tennis balls in the air. Team gets 1 point for every ball that is in the picture AND in the picture. Hint: Don’t throw balls too high. (Only get 2 tries at a good picture.)  

7.CLUE: What professional sport had their draft yesterday?  (at that time, it was NBA)  ACTIVITY: Get a point for each team member who makes a basket on the first try (everyone can try only once.) Take group picture of ONLY the ones who made the basket, with the basketball in the pic. (Not necessary to take pictures of everyone shooting just take a few for fun, though.)  

8.CLUE: I pledge allegiance to the _______ and the United States of America. 

ACTIVITY: Picture of team members saluting the flag = 2 points   

9.CLUE: "There was an old woman who lived in a ______."  ACTIVITY: Picture of team members with their shoes on the opposite feet = 4 points 

10.CLUE: The itsy bitsy ___________ went up the water spout. 

ACTIVITY: Picture of the giant spider = 2 points (this was one of my Halloween decorations) BONUS: Picture of "real" spider = 8 points (DO NOT TOUCH!)  11.CLUE: One, two, buckle my shoe Three, four, shut the __________. 

ACTIVITY: Team picture taken in front of a white door = 2 points Team picture taken in front of a door that rolls = 4 points (this was meant to be the garage door)   INDOOR ALTERNATIVES:  CLUE: Tick tock says the __________________. 

ACTIVITY: Picture of team standing next to a clock that has a 6 showing in the time. = 4 points  CLUE: If you had to go to sleep This is where you’d lay. It’s big and brown and feels real soft And has pillows that like to play.  

ACTIVITY: Picture of team members hiding underneath all the pillows on the master bed. = 4 points  CLUE: If I were a rabbit, This would be my favorite place to be. For everywhere I look Lots of carrots I can see. 

ACTIVITY: Take picture of everyone sitting in the windowseat of Katie’s room holding/playing with all the rabbits. (my daughter has carrots all over her walls, so you could alter this to fit with whatever theme you have in your child's room)  CLUE: What you’re looking for starts with the letter U And when you’re holding it, here’s what you should do. It’s a song that you sing On a day like today  When the weather won’t let you Go out and play 

ACTIVITY: Find umbrellas on backporch. Have team open them up and video tape them underneath the umbrellas singing Rain rain go away = 4 points  CLUE: I have keys but I can’t unlock a door I have notes but I’m not a notebook Making great music is what I am for,  And when people hear me they’re sure to look.  What am I? 

ACTIVITY: Picture of team next to piano=2 points Picture of team next to piano while a team member plays a real song=5 points  CLUE: What has 4 legs, 6 holes, but you shouldn’t swim in it?  

ACTIVITY: Go upstairs to pool table. Team leader puts all balls out on table in random order and lets each team member take one chance to roll a ball into a hole. Get one point for total number balls team sinks (FIRST TRY ONLY).  

Things to keep in mind: Each team had a different "order of clues" so that they weren't doing the same things at the same time. that was a little challenging, but I finally got it to where they weren't on top of each other at the same time.  Next the kids ate cake and ice cream on the back porch. The cake was a treasure chest recipe I found on the internet. Too cute! My sister-in-law made it for us. It was two sheet cakes put together, to look like a chest, with candy necklaces, jewelry, etc spilling out between them. If you search for "treasure chest cake" on the internet, you'll probably find it. I just can't remember where I found it. 

While they were eating, my husband downloaded all the images to his computer and then we ended the party with everyone watching a slide show of all the pictures on the TV. It was so cute!  Since we had already given them a shirt and the hats, bincoculars, etc, for the goody bags, we just asked them to stop by the treasure chest on the way out the door. I had filled it with different kinds of candy and they just filled a little plastic bag with some candy as they left. 

For thank you notes, I put the group picture on the front and then tried to send the parent at least one picture of their child at the party. The front of the note said "In search of a good time ..." and below the picture it said "And we found it!" My daughter then took care of writing the thank yous on the inside. 

This was by far the most work I had ever done on my children's parties, but it was so rewarding because they had so much fun! Even if you didn't want to spend the extra money on all the hats, etc, I recommend the team shirts - and don't stress if you don't think you're artistic because even blank shirts would be fun. The kids loved their "teams" and the shirts made it easy for us to know who was supposed to be where. 

My daughter and her friends are still talking about this party and some of them have said they want us to plan THEIR next party. (No thanks, but it was certainly worth the effort of planning this one to see my daughter's smiling face!)  Good luck ... I wanted to share all of this with you because this website has been AWESOME for me to get ideas from. Happy planning!

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