All summer long, The Little One had been telling us that she wanted a birthday treasure hunt to find her presents. I don’t know if it stemmed from the fact that she loves the National Treasure movies, or if it is because we go geocaching and letterboxing all summer long. Whatever the reason, we were happy to make a little treasure hunt for her in the backyard so she could search for her birthday gifts. It was a huge success! The Little One loved it and is already asking for a treasure hunt next year on her birthday.
Birthday treasure hunts can range from quite simple to quite elaborate. We went with fairly simple clues this year. The Little One had 3 gifts to find from us, and then a gift from each of her siblings. The rest of the family had a lot of fun finding hiding spots for her gifts while she waited in eager anticipation inside. (Given the unpredictability of Ohio weather, I didn’t want the gifts sitting outside all day!)
We didn’t tell her outright where the gifts were, but we made the clue simple enough that it wasn’t too difficult to figure out. We started by handing her a card which was the clue to where her first gift was hidden. Then each gift leading up to the last one also had a new clue along with it. It was a blast to watch The Little One run around the yard, discovering the hiding spots for all her gifts
Want to hold a Birthday Treasure Hunt for your child? Here are some tips to get you started.
- For small children who can’t yet read, use picture clues. Take a picture of the place where the gift is hidden and print it. Use the photos in lieu of the written clues.
- If your child’s birthday is in the winter, hold the treasure hunt inside.
- For older children, make the clues more cryptic.
- If you are creative, consider writing a short poem or using a picture puzzle for each clue.
- If your family geocaches, use geocache coordinates instead of regular clues. Be sure to hide the gifts far enough apart to take into account the accuracy of your GPS. You can either hand them a card with the first coordinates and have the birthday child enter the coordinates themselves or have the coordinates for all the gifts already in the GPS. If you choose the written coordinates, be sure to include the next coordinates with each gift they find. If you have all the coordinates entered in the GPS, it might be a good idea to clear all other caches so they know how many to find and can mark each one as found in the GPS.
For our treasure hunt, we used a variety of hiding spots that had The Little One running all over the yard. Hiding spots we used were the sandbox, the canopy over the swingset, our garden, hanging on the clothesline behind some towels, the hose reel, and the shed. Even if you have a small yard, you probably have an abundance of hiding places to use.
No matter how you set it up, a birthday treasure hunt can be great fun!
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