This is the easiest idea that is so inexpensive and really fun to create memories with the kids. I am not sure how this idea originated but we have been doing variations on this for three years now and it is always the one thing the children remember from their birthday. Fancy gifts? Nope. Trips or big parties? Nah. Go ahead and ask my girls and they will tell you that on their birthday they had a treasure hunt with all their favorite things. This simple little idea is what always stands out in their memories and the first thing they ask for.
I know we are busy people and ain’t no one got time for a lot of fuss and hassle. If it takes more than 15 minutes, I really have to think hard about any project or idea. This one is simple. It requires a bag of balloons, a marker and a few treats from the grocery store. Easy. You can totally do this.
So the idea is to do a little treasure hunt and hide a handful of items your child loves in secret locations. We usually do food type treats (again ain’t no one got time to run around to various stores) but anything at all works. Books, Hot Wheels, Slime supplies, nail polishes and bath bombs… whatever your child is into that is fairly inexpensive and easy.
Next up you need the clues to guide the hunt. We have made cards before with clues, at one point I was going to design cute printable cards for y’all to customize, drawn elaborate maps… then it was the day of my daughter’s 11th birthday and I was panicking a bit thinking lady this is your child’s favorite tradition and if YOU don’t have the time to fuss with it, neither do your blog readers. Make it work.
So I did have 15 minutes to run into Target and I came out with a bag of balloons and 5 or 6 treats she often begs for and I rarely buy. (Lemonheads, Pringles, Gummy Bears, Sunflower Seeds etc…) nothing exciting or fancy here just simple things that she loves.
We also have a tradition in our house to fill a bedroom with balloons on a birthday. It is fun for the child to wake up to a sea of balloons and we have done that for years now (see Maya’s last birthday balloon drop here.) As I was blowing up the balloons to surprise her after school, I decided to combine the traditions and just started writing little clues randomly on the balloons to direct my daughter around the house to specific locations where her treat was located.
An example is “When you give a dog a cookie…” obviously a play on the sweet children’s book series When You Give a Mouse a Cookie but the treat was hidden inside the jar where we keep dog treats. Another clue “This is where dirty clothes go… hint it is not your floor.” Ha ha 😉 Her treat was resting in the laundry hamper.
So she ran around the house collecting her little treasures and wound up with a basket full of all her favorite things.
Simple, easy, inexpensive and a really fun way to surprise your children on a special day.
I’d love to hear any fun traditions you might have in your family for birthday celebrations too!