Normally, I like to go overboard on celebrating my kids’ birthdays. But some years depending on what is happening in life, a quiet celebration feels more appropriate. Could be your expenses. Or you just don’t feel like you can entertain, plan and do all the things.
No problem. You can still make your child the star of the day! Having a birthday present scavenger hunt at home with just your child is the perfect way to do it!
Idea 1: Traditional Scavenger Hunt
How does a birthday present scavenger hunt work?
Basically, you begin with a clue that leads your child to a place where another clue appears. Then that clue leads him to another then another. At the end, he will find his gift.
Kids absolutely love scavenger hunts! We do them for Valentine’s Day each year. They don’t really care what the end prize is, the process is what is so much fun.
But for a birthday, and especially when you’re substituting it for a party, you can really get some mileage out of this! At each clue, another present can be found that then leads to another present.
This does not have to be expensive. You can get dollar store items or candy. You could take multiple pieces of one present and hide them in different parts of the house leading up to the final piece. The point is to extend the game of them finding their present. This is great especially if they won’t be having a lot of people over to open presents like they normally would.
This website lets you create your wording for your own scavenger hunt. It can be a birthday, holiday, or whatever. There are also tons of ideas you can borrow.
Idea 2: Clues Hidden Inside Helium Balloons
This is my favorite way to do a birthday present scavenger hunt for kids. Because kids love to pop balloons! I’ve been doing this one for years and they haven’t tired of it yet!
For my son’s 7th birthday, I had seven helium balloons with seven notes with clues to the presents folded up inside each one.
I went to the party store and picked out seven slightly different shades of blue balloons. I wrote each clue on a small piece of paper and folded it up very small. I gave the attendant the clues and asked her to put one inside each balloon. I kept track of which clue went inside which colored balloon. When she handed them back to me I wrote #1 – #7 on them. This way I would be able to hide the present with the corresponding balloon number.
When he woke up that morning, I presented him immediately with the balloons and we began the scavenger hunt immediately. I didn’t want to take a chance on him finding any of his presents accidentally or wondering why the balloons were numbered.
He would pop a balloon and then scramble to find the clue to the present.
The clues weren’t rhyming and catchy, but the kids absolutely loved it and have asked to repeat this type of birthday again and again. I tell you this to say, do not put so much pressure on yourself! Your children just want to have fun with you!
Here are the silly clues:
Clue 1: These guys are hiding away in my space – not yours! One is asking for the birthday boy and one is asking for his sister. (Hide-a-way pet hidden in my closet)
Clue 2: This guy sure does like to hide-a-way but he isn’t even dirty so why is he here? (Stuffed animal hiding in the washing machine)
Clue 3: You had promised if you got one of these it wouldn’t end up hiding away in here. (Stuffed animal on top of my bed)
Clue 4: We threw your old one away because it smelled so bad. This one doesn’t smell so let’s get it out of the garage and put it where it belongs. (Backpack in the garage)
Clue 5: This is waiting to be filled with Lunchables already (Lunchbox hiding in the fridge)
Clue 6: Your swords usually end up here when you get too crazy with them. I hope this is the first and last time this present is here. (Marshmallow gun hiding on top of the fridge)
Clue 7: Your night light may not be working anymore but the picture still looks cool. Especially with this. (Spiderman Chair hiding in his room where the old nightlight was.)
More Affordable Ideas for the Balloons
If that’s too many gifts, there are a ton more options!
- Instead, insert jokes or reasons you love them in some of the balloons. That way they never know which one will contain the clue to the gift.
- Or just have the last balloon contain the clue to begin the whole scavenger hunt.
- You could also put small pieces of candy in the others.
Just make sure you ask what the attendant at the party store will do for you. Sometimes they are a little skeptical of me when I ask to insert paper into the balloons. I’ve been warned it will make the balloons lose helium or other stuff. I don’t worry about it too much!
Want More Birthday Ideas?
For more inspiration follow my Kid’s Party Board on Pinterest!