Sylvia’s Birthday Treasure Hunt

Sylvia turned four last week and got to have her first friends birthday party. For the first activity I pulled out an old but favorite party trick from the book Your Three-Year-Old: The Treasure Hunt. We’ve done this for years, and it’s really fun for kids. Max was a little sorry that the boys at his party just got goodie bags and didn’t have an actual Treasure Hunt for his tenth birthday this year, so you know they’re fun if a pre-adolescent is still into them.

I’m also trying really hard to give kids goodie bags with things that won’t immediately end up in a landfill when their heads are turned. So for Sylvie’s birthday I tried to avoid the party aisle and instead tried to include some more useable treasures.

The hunt itself is simple. Each kid gets a container: We used plastic buckets with attached shovels. I was on the fence about these, being plastic and all, but I thought the kids could actually use them all spring and summer, and if they break, they could be recycled. Inside the bucket is a colored piece of paper; each kid gets a different color. Hidden around the house are treasures with the same color paper attached. When they find one, it goes in their bucket. There were four treasures for each party girl.

Here’s what we included.

I made each of the girls an apron using a simple and free pattern I love from Sew Liberated. This is one of my favorite kid presents for two- to five-year-olds because it’s designed so kids can put it on themselves. It’s also really easy and fast to make.

Sylvia saw the aprons in progress and declared that she didn’t want something so girly, so she got to choose her fabric from my stash. She designed an apron that was kind of a home-sewn version of a mullet. Denyse Schmidt business in the front:

Anna Maria Horner party in the back:

We also included glitter playdough using this recipe:

Sylvia broke out her playdough after the party and we played for a while. Shiny things are fun, even for a girl who despises princesses or girly aprons.

The only things she requested for her treasure hunt were pencils and candy, so we included a couple Easter pencils and this candy bag:

It was actually supposed to look like a pot of gold under a rainbow of Rainbow Twizzlers, like here, but after going to three stores not finding Rainbow Twizzlers, I settled for just colorful Twizzlers. Next time.

The party girl had a great time on her treasure hunt, with her cupcakes in the shape of a lightsaber (the idea came from here), some simple crafts, and weather that allowed the girls to play outside for a while.

Here’s to being four, Birthday Girl!


2 thoughts on “Sylvia’s Birthday Treasure Hunt

  1. Sounds like a great party. We have done many treasure hunts over the years (we have 3 kids) and everyone always loves it. One year, I gave the kids mini pens and mini note pads in their goodie bags. They sat in a circle on the grass for over an hour with their pens and paper writing and passing notes to each other. Simple is always best!

    • That’s a great idea, Alison! I might use that idea for some extended family picnics this summer. The in-between kids often need more activities, and this would be so simple but fun for them.

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