Four or five years ago, my now 12-year-old asked me to make her a scavenger hunt to find her Easter basket. We had long hidden Easter baskets and made the kids search for them.
I didn’t want to make the scavenger hunt, but I did it anyway, and the reaction of my two little children at their treasure hunt was epic. Their giggles and running around the house made it all worthwhile.
I’ve since made scavenger hunts every Easter, including religious and non-religious ones as well as a wordless hunt for my struggling reader and a more challenging one for my tween. My kids now expect these which is okay because their reactions are still really satisfying to me.
A Scavenger Hunt for Christmas?
Last year, my then 8-year-old asked me to make a scavenger hunt for her Christmas presents. We do Christmas huge at our house, and the thought of hiding 15 or more wrapped presents around the house sounded to me like a recipe for disaster, lost presents, and sky-high stress for both Mom and Dad.
And also, it is not exactly easy to make one of these scavenger hunts, with separate clues for two different kids, one more challenging with words and one less challenging without words.
But she asked again this year, sweet cherub that she is, and I had a brainstorm. We are giving the girls a two night trip to the Great Wolf Lodge this year as a present, and I have been thinking about how to wrap it. We have been there before and have several Shadow Quest wands, and I thought about sticking those in their stockings, but that seemed somehow anti-climatic for such a big and expensive gift.
I decided instead to write out a message on the back of a dollar store puzzle and hide the puzzle pieces around the house – and this lent itself perfectly to a new treasure hunt.
I made a new treasure hunt, this time Christmas themed. It will send my kids to most of the normal clue hiding places (shoes, oven, bathtub, car, etc.), but in a new way with new rhymes. Originally, I thought I would wrap a couple of puzzle pieces with each clue, but upon further consideration, I think that’s a good way to lose pieces, so I’m just going to put half the puzzle in one box and the other half in a second box and hide one box in the gift location for each scavenger hunt. My kids will then have to work together (dubious outlook on that) to complete the puzzle and read the message on the back.
I’m also toying with the idea of when to give the girls their first clue. If I do it on Christmas Eve, they will get their big gift early. But if I wait until Christmas morning, they may want to open all those out in the open tempting packages first and accidentally see a lot of the clues before it’s time to hunt. I would love your advice below in the comments.
Remember that these download buttons don’t work if you’re reading in email. Click through to the post on the blog, and you’ll be able to click the button.
This scavenger hunt is made up of twelve clues, including the one that you give at the beginning, and I have included six extra blank cards in the PDF so that you can make up your own rhymes or replace any clues that don’t work for your situation.
If you do replace cards, don’t feel the pressure to make them rhymes or even clever. You officially have my permission to just write the name of a place on the card and call it good enough.
Also in the PDF is a list of what clue goes where, and the clues are numbered to make it easy for you.
Using the Christmas Scavenger Hunt for Big Kids & Teens
I’ve made this really easy for you.
- Click the button above or below, enter your email address, and download the PDF.
- Print pages 1, 2, and 4. Page 3 is the blank cards, so if you need blank cards, print that one, too. You’re only going to use these clues one time and only for a few minutes, so there is no need to print on cardstock or laminate or anything like that. Just use whatever cheapo printer paper you have.
- Cut the clues apart.
- Decide how you’ll give the kids the first clue. Will you leave it on the breakfast table? Wrap it in a box? Hide it in a book? Just hand it over? Totally up to you here.
- Hide clues 2 through 12 in the places designated on the PDF.
- Hide the gift in the hall closet or use one of the blank cards to specify a different location.
- Sit back and watch. It’s super fun.
I can’t wait for Christmas for a number of reasons, but one of them is this scavenger hunt. I know for sure that my kids have no idea that it’s coming, and they will be so excited to find their first clue. There will be much squealing and laughing and running around, and that will make this momma very happy.
Hold on for the no reading version of the Christmas scavenger hunt. I’ll share it on Friday at this link, still in plenty of time to make it work for Christmas!
© 2019, Tara Ziegmont. All rights reserved.