Last year began our annual treasure hunt. We mastered the Safari Treasure Hunt last year. I can’t believe it’s been a year! I can’t believe all the kids are a year older!
This year, I added a few additional games along the hunt to keep their developing minds at a fever pitch 🙂 And I had fun, calming, bonding activities planned for the end of the treasure hunt.
As many party planning ideas as there are on Pinterest, I found it dismally lacking in the treasure hunt / scavenger party arena. So once again, I’m sharing with you the behind the scenes look and details into our soiree! This is my Kid’s Party Guide to Mastering the Rainforest Treasure Hunt.
I’ve outlined all the steps I took. I’ve also provided opportunities throughout this post to access free PDF printables for download.
A side point here: I feel it is important to mention that while the information I provide on the animals of the rainforest is accurate, they are not indigenous to just one particular rainforest. There are approximately 6 major rainforests in the world; I borrowed animals from all of them for our game.
What You Need
Music Costumes or Props Clues Additional Obstacles Treasure Themed Coloring Activities Movie
Costumes or Props
Themed Coloring Activities
I created another fun Invitation / Welcome Banner this year. I love the colors of this one. And notice the hidden scavenger card clues? But don’t worry, the pdf file I’m going to share with you does not include the year at the top left corner; it’s an evergreen invite so you can print the date yourself.
I found most of my free images on Pixabay then uploaded them to a design program similar to PicMonkey to create the multiple overlays that I wanted.
I made the image 8 1/2 x 11 for standard printing which is a perfect size for a detailed invitation like this.
You can print in a larger size or even get an engineer print at an office supply store for a custom banner to put on the front door or somewhere in your entry.
Music proved to be somewhat challenging this year. My Baby Einstein: Baby Noah Animal Expedition CD would have been perfect since it’s upbeat and includes music of the rainforest and tropics, but alas, I’d just given my Baby Einstein collection away to a new mom!
Since I didn’t have ready access to music this time around, I checked Amazon, and found a few alternatives. The Rainforest Music: Playtime Rhythms CD had some cute songs; I just wanted something better suited to slightly older kids.
The Indigo Dreams: Rainforest Relaxation for Kids was cost effective for me since it’s available to stream for free as part of Prime Music; I found it too relaxing for the upbeat treasure hunt, but perfect for the more calming coloring activities at the end of the hunt.
I finally settled on, Rainforest by Robert Rich. This is also available to stream as part of Prime Music, and I chose 3 songs from the CD that were the right tempo and feel that I wanted for the hunt. I also found a cool link to ambient sounds of the a Puerto Rican rain forest at night; you can listen to a stream, a 5-minute recording or a 15-minute recording, and just loop it. Yay – success is sweet!
I decided to “splurge” on the props this year. Instead of raiding my local Dollar Store for the gear to equip my adventurers, I reused a few of the items from last year, utilized what I already had on hand, and then opted for fun decorations from Amazon. I made this decision based on what items they used last year versus the ones they didn’t utilize. I spent $0.00 – $7.00 per item. The animal masks not only served as a costume of sorts, it was also an activity. I had each child color their masks prior to the beginning of the hunt.
Clues and Additional Obstacles
The clues were the most time-consuming part of the preparation. This was a three-step process. I wrote clue cards to lead my adventurers to the animal scavenger cards. The goal was to find all 7 Rainforest Animal Scavenger cards. Once all 7 cards were found they would encounter a final clue card in the form of a puzzle to be solved.
I wrote activity and rhyming clues. I spent time on research to make sure the animal facts were accurate. And of course, there was time involved in finding free images to incorporate in a design for the clue cards, the scavenger animal cards, and the final clue puzzle. It was super fun though!
Already a subscriber? Use your case sensitive password in this link to download the clues from the library list.
We kicked off the hunt with a coloring activity. Each child picked a Rainforest Animal mask as their costume prop. Once the mask was ready, they randomly picked one animal out of the four in the safari helmet, acted like that animal for 30 seconds to receive their next clue, then the hunt was on!
There were 10 clue cards in total; 7 clue cards to match up with 7 scavenger animal cards, a clue before an obstacle, and the final clue. Additionally, there were 4 animal activity cards to start the hunt. We used 4 animal activity cards at the start since there were four children.
A third of the way thru the hunt, they encountered their first obstacle in the form of a crocodile hop game. I strategically placed it where they’d come across it on the way to finding their fourth scavenger animal card. I taped simple instructions on the crocodile hop game to finish the game before continuing with the hunt. Upon completion of the game, they proceeded to find the fourth scavenger animal card.
Two-thirds of the way thru the hunt, they encountered their second obstacle in the form of an alligator ring toss game. This was strategically placed with instructions in the same manner as the first game. I taped simple instructions on the inflatable alligator to finish the game before continuing with the hunt. Upon completion of the game, they proceeded to find the final and 10th clue.
And with these additional obstacles, you get the bonus of having a new activity to pull out for the kids to play with on a rainy day.
*Please Note: the crocodile hop and alligator ring toss games are made out of vinyl and have a strong odor. If you are sensitive to smells or chemicals, I strongly urge you to air this out outside for a few days before playing inside.
The 10th clue card led them to a rhyming clue card which corresponded to the puzzle banner letters. Once the letters were unscrambled, they spelled out FRONT PORCH, the location of the treasure chests.
Of course, what’s a treasure hunt without a treasure? You can make it as inexpensive or expensive as you want. I found fun items at the Dollar Store. I also found some Rainforest themed items on Amazon that were too perfect to pass up. The treasure chests boxes were labeled with the name of the appropriate child’s gift(s) and placed on the side of the front porch in a waterproof bag.
The inexpensive, age-appropriate, themed gifts included a copy of the original Jungle book story, a Lego Rainforest Animals creator set, a Cat in the Hat book about the Rainforest, a Geronimo Stilton book, and another adventure book about the Rainforest.
Themed Coloring Activities
I didn’t want the activities to end with a discovery of the treasure. I decided to engage the children with some Rainforest themed coloring activities to complete together.
It’s amazing what you can find on Amazon! So I found an instruction book on learning how to draw Rainforest and jungle animals, a 48×72 Rainforest coloring scene (large enough for several to color at once), Rainforest stained glass coloring books, and a pop-up, make your own Rainforest scene activity.
Once the hunt was over, the treasure was discovered, and the coloring activities were put away, I decided one more treat was in order. A movie seemed just the thing to bring the party to a close. It gave the kids some downtime while us adults put the finishing touches on our family dinner.
My girls had never seen the original animated Disney’s The Jungle Book movie so this was a real memory maker!
None of us owned this movie. I looked on Ebay for an inexpensive DVD, but I couldn’t find one. Netflix only had remakes or secondary movies, not the 1967 animated version I was looking for. In the end, it came down to Amazon again. I was able to stream this instantly with a standard definition version for $14.99. Not too bad of a price to own a digital masterpiece. There is also an option to own the physical DVD for $19.99. And for any of the rare few out there who still own a VHS player, you can get a VHS tape for under $3.00 🙂
P.S. What have you done for a cool treasure hunt?