I recently helped host a one year anniversary party at a local business here in Troy named Culinary Square. Run by Sam and her mom Carolyn, they offer a fabulous selection of high end cookware and kitchen appliances (To learn more about Culinary Square you can check out their website, Facebook and Instagram). This past October (2016) I was invited to host a Halloween cupcake bar for Troy Night Out, our monthly cultural event here in Troy that encourages everyone to get out and enjoy everything our awesome city has to offer. We had such a fun time that they asked me back to help them celebrate their one year anniversary this April!
My idea for a scavenger hunt came to me because they have SOOO much amazing inventory in their store and I thought it would be helpful to encourage customers to wander around the store to see what they can discover. Customers that completed the scavenger hunt during their one year anniversary party were entered into a raffle for a $100 mandolin (not too shabby for a free contest!).
Scavenger hunts are perfect for kids birthday parties but can be a pain to put together. This post lists 7 easy clues you can adapt and put it together in a timely manner. Let’s get hunting!
Getting Started: Determining Boundaries
I lucked out because I could use the entire store for my hunt but if you’re hosting a scavenger hunt it’s important to set boundaries. Kids are curious and when it comes to competition they can sometimes forget about manners so unless you want a child rummaging through your underwear drawer looking for their next clue I suggest you explain the Off Limit areas before you start. Some areas to consider off limits: bedrooms, bathroom cabinets, the garage, kitchen drawers, etc. You may also want to consider setting all drawers and cabinets off limits and explain that all of the clues will be out in the open. You just never know what kids can get into or find so it may be best to keep all drawers and cabinets off limits.
Select your Clue Locations
I find it’s easier to select the clue locations before you start creating your clues. In my case, I selected my spots then put them in order around the store so people wouldn’t have to keep walking from one side of the store to the other. If your scavenger hunt is for kids that may be exactly what you want them to do because it stretches out the activity and it keeps them moving around.
Coming up with Clues
This is where things can get tricky. To help you out I’ve put the clues in order of quickest to develop to most difficult so if you’re trying to throw this scavenger hunt together in a hurry I suggest sticking to the first three or four clues I’ve listed and use them multiple times.
I like to make all of my clues little games or puzzles. It makes the hunt more interactive and it slows the kiddos down a bit. After all, if you’re spending all of this time on a great scavenger hunt you don’t want the participants to run through it in five minutes.
Let’s get started with some of the easier clues to put together:
1. Word Scramble Clue
This clue is super easy to put together. Just take the letters and scramble them up in the wrong order and you’re done! One thing I like to do with younger groups is add a helpful picture to the background or attach a picture to the clue so it gets them on the right track.
The word scramble we did at Culinary Square was for their Viking Stainless Steel™ products so we added a viking hat and a stainless steel pot to the background to help the hunters out.
2. Jigsaw Puzzle Clue
Don’t let the sound of this one fool you, it’s super simple. Think of a picture that would tell the kids where to go next, for example a couch would tell them to go to the living room, a dining room table would send them to the dining room, etc.
Print out a picture of that item onto a sheet of paper (thank you Google images), use a pair of scissors and cut the picture up into various pieces (Use your discretion and based on the age of the group decide how small the pieces should be, but I’d say keep it to under 20). Take the pieces and throw them in a ziplock bag or envelope and boom, there’s your clue. See, I told you that one was easy.
3. Rebus Clue
A rebus is a puzzle that has pictures and letters that the solver puts together to make a word or phrase. For the Culinary Square event, Sam wanted to feature their new Corksicle™ tumblers (she was even kind enough to send me home with one as a thank you) so I thought Corksicle™ is an easy word to put together with a rebus. Here’s what I came up with:
I put it together pretty quickly – here’s how. I opened up Word and used their Clip Art to find the pictures then I pasted them in the right order in the document. To insert Clip Art go to Insert then select Clip Art (it’s the 6th button from the left) then enter in the image you’re looking for in the Search for: field at the top of the Clip Art box. A quick tip on working with pictures in Word: if you find that the pictures won’t move or go in the right direction, select the picture, go to Format then on the right there’s an area called Arrange from there select Wrap Text and then the In Front of Text option. This allows you to move the pictures around the page as you need.
To give you a little more inspiration or if you’d like to use these clues yourself, I’ve come up with a couple here for you (Bathroom and Mailbox Clues for Scavenger Hunt Print Out:
4. Idiom Clue
At Culinary Square they have a large, colorful selection of kitchen towels with clever puns and adorable designs so I really wanted to find a way to show them off. For the towels I created an Idiom clue:
(One note about these clues, younger kids may have a hard time with these simply because they aren’t familiar with the phrases so that’s something to keep in mind.)
Some examples that you may be able to implement in your scavenger hunt are:
“The next step is up to you, the ball is in your ________ (court).” This one is perfect if you have a basketball hoop at your party location.
“Wow you are awesome! I’d say you’re the best thing since sliced _______ (bread).” This clue should send them to the kitchen.
“That’s top secret information, don’t let the ______(cat) out of the bag.” This can lead them to the cat’s water bowl or to a stuffed cat you set up somewhere.
5. Trivia Question Clues
One clue that I didn’t utilize in my scavenger hunt but does work well is Trivia Question clues. Some neat trivia categories that work great for kids of all ages are TV shows, movies, sports, food and candy. A few examples of some trivia questions that can work for your scavenger hunt:
- “Where would Nemo and Dory enjoying spending time?” (the aquarium or fish bowl)
- “In baseball, when you hit the ball over this thing it’s considered a home run” (a fence)
- “Hermine from Harry Potter and Belle from Beauty and the Beast are bookworms. Where would you find them hanging out in the house?” (books or a bookshelf)
6. What Am I?
This clue has a fun twist to it because you get to describe the item as if you are that item. For the Culinary Square hunt the clue answer was a mandolin.
One clue I thought would be fun for a kids party is a television, here’s my description:
“I come in lots of different sizes and I’m usually black in the back and colorful in the front when I’m turned on. The whole family can use me at the same time. I can’t eat, but if I had a favorite snack it would be popcorn”
7. Password Cipher Clue
Here’s our final clue for today’s post. We used this as our last clue for our Culinary Square scavenger hunt. What you do is give the hunters a code they need to crack with a password cipher. The cipher will tell the hunter what each symbol means. Here’s the code I used for the Culinary Square, we used cooking and kitchen symbols for the password cipher:
The one we used for our hunt would be a little difficult to duplicate because we downloaded a new font for the kitchen symbols. However, a quick and easy way to come up with your own codes are Wingdings! You know that weird font that no one ever knows what to do with? Well now you have a reason to use it!
We even created this handy, dandy Scavenger Hunt Password Cipher Printable_Bash Birthday Parties. All you have to do is type out the clue words that you want the hunters to crack in CAPS, highlight the word and change the font to Wingdings and print. (Don’t forget to type the words in CAPS, otherwise it won’t match up to the password cipher) That’s it! Give them the password cipher and their code to crack and off they go.
Printable here (it prints 2 ciphers per page): Scavenger Hunt Password Cipher Printable_Bash Birthday Parties
You may want to use this as the last clue that way you can make it a message like, “go find Jack’s mom to claim your prize” or “You’ve complete the hunt, congratulations”.
Overall the scavenger hunt was a fun way for customers to enjoy the store and the anniversary party! I hope you’re able to take some of these clues and easily apply them to your own hunt. If you end up trying any of these out let us know in the comments section. We’ll be back with more party ideas (like our next post about the Girl Scout themed cupcakes I made for my friend’s bridal shower!). You can also check out our Facebook page or Instagram to see more of what we’re up to – lately it’s been a lot. Thanks for reading and talk to you soon!