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Birthday Treasure Hunt…..Hunting for a Present

Happy Birthday to my monkey in the middle!   Today, he is nine!  Many birthdays ago, we established a birthday tradition:  present treasure hunts!  Since it is one of their favorite parts of their special day, I thought I would share it with you!  For more ideas for simple, inexpensive birthday fun, check out our Top Ten Birthday Traditions

Birthday Treasure Hunt……..Hunting for a Present! 

Mom has hidden clues all over the house……First Clue: Finding your present will be so nice. Get the first clue where we keep the ice. (He goes to the freezer…..)

Don’t give up………pursue your gift! Go to the place where you get a lift. (He goes to the mini-van….)


Hurry….hurry… there’s lots to do….. Go to the washer to find your next clue. (He goes to the washing machine….)


You’re doing great……. you’re on the right trail….. Go to the place where we get the mail…… (He goes to the mailbox…..)


Wow! Look at you! What smart boys! Go to a shelf that’s full of toys. (He goes to the toy room….)

How many more clues will there be? Find one more in an evergreen tree. (He goes to the backyard to look in our evergreen trees. We have three, so it will require searching!)


Stop…. no tears! Please, don’t weep! Get your next clue in the place where you sleep. (He rolled his eyes at me on this one! A “Mom-I’m-Too-Big-To-Cry!” kind of a look! He goes to his bedroom…..)


You’re almost there…’ll be a cinch! Take a look by Dad’s workbench….. (He goes to the garage…..)


An electric scooter!!  The prize at the end of his hunt!


Trying out his new ride……Happy Birthday!


 How to Make a Birthday Treasure Hunt

1.  Choose a birthday present as your “treasure.”  Some years it was a big present:  a scooter, a bike, a remodeled bedroom, etc.   Other times I have hidden a special family outing at the end:  “boarding tickets” for a ride on a friend’s airplane or tickets to a monster truck show.   A few years ago, I hid goody bags for everyone at the end of the hunt. 

2.  Make the clues.  I always make the clues myself.   I just think of places where I want the clues to be hidden.  Then I think of all the ways to describe that place.  Next, I use a rhyming dictionary to find a rhyming word to match it.  For example:  if I want to hide a clue in his bed, I think:   bed, sleep, pillow, lay down your head, tired, snooze, etc…..  Then, I type all of those words into the rhyming dictionary until I come up with a good rhyme. 

3.  Hide the clues.  Stow the birthday boy in a hiding place while you hide the clues and put the “treasure” at the end. 

4.  Hunt!  Grab your camera and go hunting!  



 1.  Make a treasure map.  Instead of clues, draw a map of your house and yard.  Label each spot on their hunt.  Have them follow the map to find their treasure.

2.  Hide an object instead of clues.  One year, we had a monkey party.  So, I went to garage sales and thrift stores and bought a bunch of stuffed monkeys.  I hid the monkeys at the tops of trees in a local park.  My son had to run around the park looking for monkeys in trees.  When he found them, he had to climb the tree and get the monkey.  After he found all of his stuffed friends, the last monkey was next to his treasure. 


 Does your family have birthday traditions?  Tell me about them! 

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Top Ten Birthday Traditions


  1. Decorate his room while he sleeps-When he wakes up, he has balloons all over his floor and a Happy Birthday banner over his bed.
  2. Choose Birthday Cereal- We don’t eat sugared cereals on a regular basis.  Yes, my children have told me that I am terribly mean! On his birthday, he chooses any cereal that he wants, regardless of the sugar content.
  3. Birthday Breakfast-The night before his birthday we decorate the kitchen with balloons, streamers, confetti, etc.  Party hats and noisemakers complete the decor. The birthday boy eats on a special birthday plate.   I don’t spend much money on it.  Usually, most of it is from the dollar store.
  4. Small presents in the morning- After breakfast, the birthday boy opens two or three small presents. 
  5. Look through pictures of his birth- At some point in the day, I pull out his baby book and show him pictures of his first few days of life.  Sometimes, I will brave the attic and bring out his newborn clothes.  It is so sweet to see how much he has grown! 
  6. Choose the menu-  The birthday boy chooses the menu for the entire day. Which, in my house, equates to junk food, junk food, and a little more junk food.  In the past, I would ask them, “Can I prepare you a special meal?  Lasagna? Chicken Fried Steak?”  The response has remained the same, “Mom, I just want macaroni…from a box, Mom.  Not the healthy stuff.  And some hot dogs.” 
  7. No School- Birthdays are a holiday in our house. 
  8. Choose the entertainment-  The birthday boy is in charge of our schedule for the day.  Should we invite friends to the park?  Movie party in our pj’s?  Swimming?  He decides.
  9. Makes his own cake- For years I have stressed about making the perfect, people-pleasing cake for my kids.  One year I decided that I would let my son make his own.  For the most part, he did everything!  Proudly, he displayed his creation to the world. (Well, his world.)
  10. Grandparents come over for dessert- Grandparents and cousins are invited to our home for cake, ice cream, and more presents.  Usually, I will prepare some other dessert to go alongside the “cake filled with love.” 


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