Birthday Scavenger Hunt: Ideas for Prizes plus Top Tips for Success!

Kid’s Birthday Party Looming? Try a Birthday Scavenger Hunt!

If your child’s birthday party is looming like a big scary cloud on the horizon and you’re feeling stressed about how to entertain a hole host of kids, then a birthday scavenger hunt can be a GREAT way to keep them entertained.

It’s simple, doesn’t need a lot of preparation, and can be played over and over in bigger or smaller teams.

If you’ve never run a scavenger hunt before, panic not. We set out some ideas towards the end of this blog for the sorts of items you can hunt for.

BUT what about the all-important prizes? What can you give at the end of the hunt to get kids really excited and make them feel they just came home from the COOLEST birthday party in town?

Well, we’ve got your back. How, you ask? Because we’ve been scouring the internet for cool gift ideas that will really get your party guests in the spirit of adventure for a birthday scavenger hunt!

Switch the typical plastic fantastic of party bags for one of these cool take-home gifts and there’ll be smiles all round! Plus the opportunities for imaginative play after the hunt are endless! So let’s get going…

Birthday Scavenger Hunt Prize Ideas

1. Get them imagining they’re the next Indiana Jones (or perhaps just Dora the Explorer’s sidekick) with one of these fab explorer safari hats (or pith hats to use the technical term). So cool. Kids can search for the elephants, enter a newly discovered pyramid…where will their imaginations take them with one of these on their heads?! We love these from the Natural History Museum, my son has one just like it. However, the more cost effective alternative would be something like this.


2. Give them the power of super-vision with one of these fab telescopes. Now I confess I am the proud owner of one of these and they are just so polished and slick – a real pirate’s dream. But there are lots of cheaper alternatives out there.

3. Get them prepared for their next adventure with a compass. The working ones like these are a little more expensive, but you can always opt for a fake one in it’s own case like this – again I have one in my pirate ship and while they don’t look expensive, they are really fun.

4. Get them trading in jewels with these pretend gem stones or diamonds. We all love shiny! (Again, these items are in my personal treasure chest so I can vouch for their cool factor!)

5. Gold coins and jewellery – now there’s so much variation here. Metal coins will set you back a bit, usually costing more than £1 per coin. And some of the plastic ones can be flimsy or dull, so make sure you shop around. There’s plenty to choose from, but we think these coins and rings in a pouch look like a lot of fun.

6. Birthday Scavenger Hunt Prize Idea number 6 is….a winner’s medal. Made from real plastic gold, as Peppa Pig likes to say! Every child loves a medal. We like these (which actually AREN’T plastic gold), but there are lots of more cost effective alternatives out there for big parties.

7. Keeping with the theme of real plastic gold, we have winners cups and trophies. You can go for the party pack style if you want economy like these 9cm ones from Baker Ross , Alternatively you can go all out for gold with an 18cm trophy WITH ENGRAVING (so cool – you’re party can be immortalised) for just £4 per child.

8. Back to the adventure and hunting theme with idea number 8: Binoculars! My 4 year old is SO into looking at anything through his set, and they really are a take-anywhere kinda prize

9. We couldn’t write a list like this without mentioning our own favourite party bag idea, Gotrovo Mini Treasure Hunt. It’s a reusable treasure hunt kit in a travel bag that every family will love, and with the multibuy option it really is affordable.

10. Enter the world of private detectives and spies with a code breaker kit or spy kit. Every kids’ dream (and mine too….if you’re buying!) You can even add one of these cool UV pens that let you write invisible messages!

Still with Us? Well done! Here are Birthday Scavenger Hunt Prize Ideas 11 – 15!

11. A treasure chest. Now you can either go down the craft route and buy these plain wooden chests and maybe some paints and jewels for them to decorate them (a fun activity after the hunt).

OR you can take things up a notch (and your bank balance down a notch) with something like this carved chest filled with pretend jewels.

12. Now these just make me giggle. How about a golden goblet – come on, you’ve got to love the bling! Prepare a pirate’s feast and let them enjoy!

13. Nearly there…birthday scavenger hunt prize idea number 13 is possibly the coolest of all in my mind. A golden bar money box. Now WHOSE kid wouldn’t love one of those? (And if your’s doesn’t want it, can I have it?!) Seriously, I’ve looked at these for ages and just think they are the bee’s knees!


14. Prepare for battle with a pirate sword or pop gun. May the best crew win! (but above all, please take care to play safely)

15. Finally, oh finally, we’ll concede to the chocolate monster and mention chocolate gold coins. But they’re everywhere, so I won’t bother linking to options for you!

So there we have it, my top 15 recommendations. Be aware we haven’t tried all these ourselves (where we do own them we’ve mentioned it) so make sure you do your due diligence on safety and appropriateness.

If you want to get really creative and mix things up a bit, you could always fill a large box with sawdust or shredded paper, wrap a selection of different prizes up, and pop them in to create a lucky dip. The simple act of hunting and unwrapping will get the kids excited! You could even decorate the box like a treasure chest…come on, you can do it!

Now, what next?

Top Tips for a Successful Birthday Scavenger Hunt

1. Create the lists of things you want kids to hunt for in advance. This is pretty easy. There are lots of ideas online, but you can create themed lists around colours, materials (something man made, plastic, wooden, see-through, for example), shapes, items found in nature etc. Otherwise simply brainstorm a load of things the kids could easily find. We’d recommend 5-10 items per list.

2. Make sure the list is appropriate to your venue. There’s no point hosting a hunt in the village hall and asking them to find books, for example.

3. Organise the children into teams. We’d recommend teams of around 5, but if you have larger groups then assign them roles. One person reads the first 3 items on the list then passes it to the next person. One person holds the booty bag (a good idea to have one of these per team, unless the children are going to run back to you with each item). Two people are responsible for presenting the items to the judge to confirm they’ve met the challenge. The others take it in turns to hunt, etc etc.

(Note: If you want to organise a team treasure hunt race, check out our options to do this simply here….or for a total party solution, try this.)

4. Remember you can re-use the same list by giving it to one team first, and then to another team.

5. If you’re dealing with non-readers, you can create a list by cutting out pictures and sticking them onto a sheet. It gives them a great sense of independence. We always find themed hunts work well with little ones – for example animal themed ones with cuddly toys – find a bunny, find a bear and so forth.

6. Remember if you ARE in a venue away from home, you can stage the hunt by bringing props (like the cuddly toys) from home. Just make sure you plan ahead!

7. If you want to increase the length of the hunt (and the kids’ activity levels!) you can try adding physical forfeits at each stage of the hunt. Get them to do 10 star jumps, for example, before moving on to find them next item. These handy forfeit sheets at under £1 might help.

8. To help with the tidy up operation, consider getting the kids in another race to put the items back where they found them. The first team to clear up gets their prizes first.

9. Add time challenges for older kids…and bonuses if they can find items that match more than ONE thing on their list (so for example if they need to find something blue, and a book, they can get a bonus for getting a blue book!)

9. Finally, if you want some down time after the hunt, it’s a good idea to calm them with activity sheets. We offer these sets of 10 printable sheets for age ranges 3-6 and 6-9: they’re simple, re-usable and a God-send when you need them to BE STILL!

Round Up

So there we have it. Our top tips for a successful birthday scavenger hunt with FABULOUS prizes. You’ll be the talk of the playground (in a good way, of course!).

And don’t forget, if you are stuck, here at GoTrovo we offer full party kits for treasure hunts. We can even create personalised letters from Captain Jack Saunders , addressed to the party goers, to get them right in the thick of a treasure hunting adventure!

So be gone big scary cloud, there’s adventure and fun on the horizon!

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