Adapt the Scavenger Hunt Game to Your Event

The scavenger hunt party game is adaptable to the size of the party and to any number of themes and event types. The most significant changes, event by event, are usually the boundaries of the hunt. A birthday party of very young children will be confined to a relatively small space such as a backyard, while a block party will engage a whole neighborhood. A school event fundraiser with adults involved as drivers might make the whole town its happy hunting ground!

This post will tackle the most ambitious type of scavenger hunt, with grown-up participants. You can scale back this model as needed or desired.

There are 3 categories of things to gather: photos, objects and answers. You can choose to incorporate just 1 or 2 into the game, or go for broke with all 3! Typically, you will want to come up with 10-20 items per category, depending on how many of them you are including, your assessments of difficulty, and your time limit. It’s better to have too many than too few. What follows are examples of each category.


  • Police officer
  • Local monument
  • Person walking a dog
  • Fire truck
  • Phone booth
  • Objects

  • French fries container
  • Xerox of a hand
  • Chinese restaurant menu
  • Pine cone
  • Movie ticket stub
  • Questions

  • What movie is playing at XYZ movie theatre?
  • What are the current ice cream flavors at XYZ ice cream shop?
  • What is the new exhibit at XYZ museum?
  • Assign points to each item, based on level of difficulty, from 1-5. The team earning the most points wins. You will also need to come up with penalties. Teams will lose points for getting back late, for forgetting to include a teammate in a photo, for interfering with another team’s efforts, and so on.

    Try to generate as many event theme-related items to gather as possible. That goes for prizes, too. For a school-related sports boosters’ fundraiser, for example, you might include fan gear for all registered participants — and for the winners, tickets to a contest against the No. 1 rival!

    Next post: Conducting your scavenger hunt.

    Games for Kids’ Parties

    Here are a few of the tried-and-true!

    Clothespin Drop Game

    Object of the game: Drop clothespins into the jar one by one. Whoever gets the most clothespins into the jar out of 10 tries wins the game.

    You need: large jar with a medium-sized mouth, 10 clothespins, sturdy chair (optional)

    Prep & procedure: Whether you use a chair depends upon your judgment of the best way to make the game challenging yet achievable for the age and height of the children involved as well as the width of the jar opening. You may want to experiment in advance.

    If you use a chair, put the jar behind the chair. Each player will take his/her turn by kneeling on the chair. Whichever hand the child is using for dropping the clothespins should not sit lower than the top of the back of the chair.

    If you don’t use a chair, give instructions to stand straight and to hold the clothespin at chest height.

    Bonus Tip: The Clothespin Drop Game is great for carnivals as well as birthday parties.

    Guess the Smell

    Object of the game: Identify as many of the items as possible, blindfolded so the identification is by smell only.

    You need: blindfolds, plain brown paper lunch bags, assortment of items with identifiable aromas, paper and pencils (optional)

    Prep & procedure: Number each bag on the bottom. Put a bit of each “smelly thing” into each bag so it cannot be identified by sight. Fold the top of each bag once or twice to hold the odor in.

    Procedures can vary according to the age of the party-goers. You might have younger children take guesses verbally at the end of each “round” while you note who gets each i.d. right and then mix up the bags for the next round. Older children may write down what their guesses are for each bag number, to be scored at the end of all the rounds.

    Keep in mind that half the fun is watching the faces players make when they take big whiffs of certain bags. Be sure to conduct and pace the game to maximize the entertainment value!

    Fresh strawberries, soap, rose petals, garlic, coffee beans, perfume, and spices are examples of some of the odiferous items you may want to include. If appropriate for the crowd, throw in one or two “joke” items, such as a stinky gym sock or a strong cheese!

    Guess the Sound

    Object of the Game: Identify as many things as possible solely by the sound it makes.

    You need: Audio recorder, (possibly) paper & pencil

    Prep & procedure: Select an assortment of sounds that the party will not find too difficult to identify. As you can imagine, this will vary quite a bit by age group. Record the sounds in advance.

    At the party, play each sound separately. Players guess until someone gets it right. If playing for prizes, keep track of who identifies each sound first and tally scores at the end.

    Examples of some sounds you may want to use are: barking dog, squeaking door hinge, running faucet, car starting, ticking clock. If possible, play sounds that tie into the theme; for example, animal sounds for a farm or jungle party.

    Find more ideas in the Party Games catalog at ShindigZ.

    Set a Great Grad Table

    Build on your graduation party theme, color scheme and level of formality at the table, starting with your table covers.

    For a fairly informal look, choose either a paper or plastic table cover. ShindigZ Party carries various sizes of rounds and rectangles as well as tablecover rolls, and has 16 different colors to select from. These table covers are perfect not just for graduation parties but for other more informal occasions and outdoor use.

    Seamless paper and decorative flat paper on rolls are other affordable paper options for covering tables. The paper comes in a stunning array of colors and theme-perfect patterns: stars, marble, brick, checkered, cobblestone, and water.

    Add a basket or jar filled with markers or crayons to the tables and let guests doodle to their hearts’ content. The guest of honor can then selectively cut out and save some of the most meaningful scribbles when the party is over, as a fun scrapbook keepsake!

    For a more formal effect, add skirting either to match your plastic or paper table cover or to match another color in your scheme. Metallic skirting paired with white plastic or linen tablecloths looks super (we have some terrific metallic skirting with stars), or try our “Super Shine” metallic table covers and skirting for a night that will shimmer and shine in the memories of your guests.

    Select from several themed tableware lines, such as our Bravo! Graduation, Grad Flamingo, and Congrats Grad ensembles. More:

  • To highlight a buffet table, hang several Graduation Mortar Board Cap Cut Outs from the ceiling above it. Hang them at different angles to look like they were tossed up into the air in celebration.

  • Make your tables special with one of our graduation centerpieces. Any of these choices look even better with a few sprinkles of sparkling confetti scattered across the table!

  • Personalized Napkins imprinted with your party slogan and the design of your choice will serve as great decorating in and as mementos for graduation scrapbooks.

  • We’re sure you’ll enjoy browsing our Graduation Party catalog. Stop by soon!

    Plan Fun on the Beach with SpongeBob™

    Once the SpongeBob Classic™ and nautical decorations are up and the cake is ready, greet guests at the door with shell necklaces, leis and/or Nautical Hats, and SpongeBob Sculpted Bubbles™.

    If there is a party theme that begs for lots and lots of bubbles, it’s a SpongeBob™ theme! Have plenty of clear or blue latex balloons blown up for balloon-pop relays and fill others partially with water for water-balloon contests and as substitutes for bean bags in tosses. Of course, a bubble machine is a natural for this party.

    Other activity ideas:

  • Purchase the Giant Octopus or Giant Shark Mouth Stand-In for photo ops. Kids love it!

  • Use a SpongeBob Music CD for a Freeze Dance or lip-synch contest. Pull out the cowboy hats for the Texas Song in honor of Sandy Cheeks.

  • Run a Bikini Bottom Relay of two or more teams. Relay runners must outfit themselves in beach hats, goggles and flippers and carry a beach pail brimmin’ full of water to a designated line before returning to tag the next runner. Award a prize for the team that wins the race and another for the team with the fullest pail at the end.

  • Sandboxes can be used for building sandcastles and for a “clam dig” where the children dig up small treasures with plastic shovels.

  • The Pirate’s Treasure Chest is a terrific prop for an old-fashioned Treasure Hunt, or blindfold them and have them individually pull out a prize.

  • Encourage Krabby-ness! The crabwalk, in which the children walk on hands and feet with their backs facing the ground, can be used for racing or for a Krabby soccer match using an inflated balloon for the ball.

  • Make up individual cups of blue gelatin dessert. When the gelatin is half-set, place a gummy fish in the middle of each cup. Use them for a deep sea rescue contest, where each contestant must rescue the fish by eating the gelatin that surrounds it – without hands!

  • Introduce a SpongeBob™, fish or treasure chest piñata for a whale of a time.
  • Beach Pail & Shovel Set
    Our Beach Pail Set works great as a favor container. Fill with more bubbles (of course!), Nabisco SpongeBob Cheese Crackers™, SpongeBob™ Backpack Clips, ocean stickers, and other goodies from ShindigZ Party Favors catalogs.

    Create an Inviting Underwater Hangout for SpongeBob™ & Friends

    The fun of a SpongeBob SquarePants™ party theme begins with the invitations! Start with one of the following slogans, or another that suits your child:

    “Bikini Bottom Birthday Bash!”
    “Ben’s Barnacle Rockin’ Birthday Party!”
    “Oh, Tartar Sauce…It’s Jenna’s Birthday!”

    Use the slogan in a SpongeBob Invite/Thank You Combo or create your own invitations. If you can hand-deliver the invitations, try these ideas:

  • Attach a Tissue Pineapple to each invitation with curling ribbon. Upon delivery, say, “Who lives in a pineapple under the Sea? SpongeBob SquarePants! He wants you to come, and party with me! SpongeBob SquarePants!”
  • Deliver a message in a bottle from Bikini Bottom™! Add about 4 tablespoons of sand to an empty water bottle, label removed. Cut apart a Shell Necklace and add a few shells to the bottle. Roll the invitation up, and tie it with a small piece of green curling ribbon (as seaweed) or raffia. Push about 2/3 of the rolled-up invitation into the neck of the bottle. The Shell Necklace will provide enough shells for about 10-12 message-in-a-bottle invitations.

  • As a p.s. on the invitations, encourage guests to wear Hawaiian shirts to the party and, if the season allows, to be ready for some wet fun, too!
  • Next, break out the bright SpongeBob Classics™ Kit-N-Kaboodle. The basic kit gives you a table cover, balloons, curling ribbon and enough tableware to serve a party of 8; while the deluxe version gives you all of the above plus streamers, birthday candles, a mylar balloon and an Attach N’ Go banner that you can personalize with your own wording.

    The banners and balloons are an easy and affordable way to splash the party venue with festive color. Try putting two streamer colors (yellow and orange, if using the SpongeBob Deluxe Kit-N-Kaboodle) back-to-back. Drape and twist the two-toned streamers from the middle of the ceiling outward towards each wall and corner and attach. Then, create a “chandelier” of 5 or 7 balloons to suspend in the middle of the ceiling. More streamers can be used to swag across an entryway or suspended vertically from it as a festive “curtain.” Additional balloons can be used, singly or in clusters, in corners and centerpieces, on chair backs, outside as a signal to arriving guests, and for use in party games.

    Give the party room an undersea feel by covering a wall with Dark Blue Water Patterned Gossamer. Populate your “water” with Paper Tropical Fish along with clear and blue balloon “bubbles” suspended at different heights. This idea can also be adapted for a shade tent or canopy outdoors, using gossamer or streamers suspended from the cover and Tissue Fish for a more 3D look.

    Decorate an ordinary sheet cake with the SpongeBob™ Cake Topper and decorator’s icing, and the party venue is ready to welcome SpongeBob’s™ friends!

    Next post: Activities and favors for a SpongeBob™ theme.


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