Not every adult feels like I do about their birthday. While I’m not a kid anymore, I find it hard to let my birthday go by without any fanfare. A birthday where I’m home and in bed by 10pm just isn’t okay with me. So every year I try to do something, even if it’s a dinner party. But most of the time I’m aiming to do something fun during the daytime for my friends with kids and my own children as well. Then a dinner for those of us local or who want to go out, followed by some cheeky cocktails once the kids are tucked up for bed.
First came the inspiration/theme
This year, I had an inspiration that I wanted to do a scavenger hunt. I had this epiphany while standing in a Colombian restaurant waiting on a sandwich. I started to think about South America, and sombreros and some of the great eateries we have in our city. It dawned on me that I could create a type of progressive meal scavenger hunt event!
If you think you want to do a scavenger hunt but you aren’t sure where to start the best thing to do is to come up with a theme. Pick something that appeals to you, and let it grow from there. If you are still keen but drawing a blank, Pinterest could be just the ticket for that first inspiration.
Second came the research
Putting a scavenger hunt together does involve some time and research. Of course I have already mentioned Pinterest and I have spent some time on that site. I knew I wanted to put together a scavenger hunt that would be fun, with very little embarrassment factor (kids and introverts on board). I settled on a photo challenge, and decided against using riddles or cryptic clues. Sticking to a solid instruction-based hunt reduces the time you’ll spend on preparation.
Because I selected South America as a theme, I did three different types of research.
- I looked into restaurants and businesses in my city that were South American in some way or sold South American style things.
- I looked into South America, further researching the countries that make up the continent and also things that they might be famous for.
- I did a further search relating to my city and the things that these countries might be famous for.
Once I had all my research, I selected places for us to do each photo challenge and assigned a South American country to each place. I also thought about the timing of each photo and roughly how I wanted them to travel around the city to complete the tasks.
Third came the scavenger rules and pack
I packed a kit for each group that would be taking part in my scavenger hunt. In each pack I had the following:
- An inflatable mascot in a fiesta theme. This was for photo opportunities. You could hand cut some “photo booth style” items if you wanted.
- A sheet of rules. My rules were pretty simple (see below). You could also outline any prizes if you decide to have some.
- A map or instructions. This was easier than trying to ask each business along the way to look after our clues or next instructions. I actually had both a map and instructions.
- Some activities for waiting. As we had kids with us, I thought about including some colouring pencils and some pictures in theme.
These were the rules:
- At each location you need to get a photo of the main attraction.
- You can have one of you or the whole team in the photo.
- Your mascot should be in each photo – you can find your mascot in your bag
- No pressure to try anything your tastebuds don’t want. The main objective is to get a fun set of photos and have a great time.
- While we are out and about, please be respectful of people, places and property.
- Looking forward to seeing your holiday slides when we meet up at 6pm
Some of the challenges included things like:
- Buying churros at a churro food truck, representing Guyana
- Buying some chocolate from Trade Aid, representing Peru
- Finding some of our local street art for photos, these represented Bolivia, Brazil and Venezuela based on items in the art whether it was an animal or a fruit that country was known for
- Buying a cold brew coffee, representing Mexico
- Buying some cocktails or mocktails at a local Mexican bar
- The dinner stop was a Colombia restaurant
Now, the scavenger hunt doesn’t have to cost you anything more than some time and some paper. But in my case, for some of the places I was sending my friends, I wanted them to buy specific things. So into the scavenger pack I added some money (labelled ‘pesos’) to somewhat cover the mandatory things I listed.
On the day, some of us were dressed in theme. We split into groups of three and headed out. Our mascots and the food and drink challenges helped everyone relax and have fun. The kids enjoyed the silliness and the adults had some good laughs too. I had one issue where I accidentally wrote the wrong street on a later spot. So a few non-locals struggled, but we eventually all caught up with them and helped them out. Overall, I think everyone had a good time and I got the South American day I was dreaming of.
Birthdays don’t have to mean spending lots of money. You can create a fun day even on a shoestring budget. What we had was an adventure, exploring our city with fresh eyes. So while it was all about me, I reckon everyone had a blast.
This article was written by Kym Moore. Kym is a working mum of two, and occasional blogger. Fancies herself a writer, when she isn’t editing her kids’ vlogs or running their social media at Baby Likes Cake. Follow them on Facebook and YouTube.