Grandma has created a treasure hunt tradition for my children's birthdays. Whenever the big day nears, we arrive at Grandma and Grandpa's house to find a treasure hunt of birthday gifts awaiting us. Often, the entire family will scavenge the house together to discover the booty. While the birthday gifts are a delight - my boys are just as thrilled by the hunt.
Here's the book Grandma uses to organize the fun. Published by Klutz, the book is out of print now, but still available through Amazon.
This Klutz book provides a variety of clue "sets" that can be used to set-up a treasure hunt around the house. The clues come in a variety of patterns, sometimes rhyming, sometimes in code, sometimes following a theme. Luckily, each clue card can be saved and used again and again (perfect for a Grandma with a gaggle of grandchildren).
Our most recent set of clues included a series of codes. Each sentence led the birthday boy (and his adoring audience) to another room of the house -- where he collected his gifts.
dniF eht txen eulc no a rorrim. (That's: Find the next clue on a mirror.)
Another clue (& a small treasure) hidden in the bath tub.
Hooray for birthdays! Hooray for scavenger hunts!! Hooray for family traditions!!
Why it’s great: Does Grandma live 1,000 miles away from that sweet voice you hear each day? Kiddos have no patience for writing long thank you notes? This tool allows you to capture and send a visual AND audio moment-of-joy to share with anyone in the world.
How to use it:
Details: Share via Facebook, Twitter, email or embed the 'foto' in your blog/website. Be sure to set your profile settings to “Make my Fotobabbles private by default.”
This summer our family is embarking on a big trip! I mean a BIG trip! This will be our first ever across-the-Atlantic-my-babies-have-passports-please-oh-please-Mr. Volcano-stop-erupting WOWZA of a BIG trip! (Send your prayers!)
In an effort to suppress the “How many days until I ride on an airplane? questions (which have already begun), my youngest son and I spent the afternoon making a paper chain to help us with our vacation countdown. Simple, easy, old fashion fun!
For those who need a recap, here are the basics:
1) Cut your paper strips. You can use construction paper, old magazine pages, or even cut-up paper bags. I used different colors of copy paper.
2) Number each paper strip (Great time for some extra handwriting & number sense practice. Tee hee!).
3)Staple the rings together to create your chain.
4) Now hang up your creation and take turns tearing off a ring each day until you are down to #1.
My son was proud to show the chain to his brother and Dad after dinner and explain the countdown process. This is a great activity for anyone looking forward to a holiday, birthday, or other special event.
It was nice to sit with my son and talk about our upcoming trip while working on this project. It gets me even more excited for the adventure ahead. Now if I can just explain to my husband that we don't begin packing on the day we get down to chain #1, but instead get an early start - we'll be golden!
My youngest son celebrated his 5th birthday this month. Ek! How did 5 years go by so fast?
For the special occasion, we planned a small party with school friends and chose a Superhero theme. (I thank all the fabulous Mommies who have come before me for their inspiration and great ideas!) Here was our recipe for fun:
Step #1- Superhero ABC makes for a great read aloud, as it includes some pretty heavy alliteration that encourages kiddos to think of words that fit the pattern. (Mom alert: The V Superhero Vomits on Villains which is Very Vile – be warned.)
Step#2- Superhero capes made from inexpensive costume fabric can be cut, surged, and finished with double fold bias tape with ease. Use super-savvy sticky-backed felt to create letters and symbols to decorate the back. Have even more stickers and jewels on hand for Superkids to personalize their cape and decorate their superhero mask.
Step#3- Drop a pinch of paper confetti into brown balloons before blowing-up and allow your super heroes to demonstrate their superhuman strength by lifting and then crushing these “rocks.” The resulting confetti all-over-the-floor is dramatic, but vacuums up easily. We also hid stars throughout the house and children used their amazing eagle-eyes and x-ray vision to find those stars inscribed with their name. It’s all the fun of hide-and-seek, with no one crouched beneath your coats in the front closet.
Step #4- Be prepared for running, as it’s almost impossible to put on a superhero cape, flex your muscles, and NOT run around in order to see the cape flap-in-the-wind behind you.
Step#5- Lastly, be sure to have your camera ready as you’re guaranteed to see super-big smiles on super-great kids at this super-fun party!
Do you have any superhero or party ideas? Please do share! Another birthday will be here before we know it!
After Christmas this year, my kiddos and I created our very own thank you cards. My sons enjoyed using a ‘Monster Making’ sticker kit to decorate the front of each card. My seven year-old can now write his own messages, while I serve as my four year-old’s secretary.
Plain cards with matching envelopes can be purchased at your local craft stores, and then supplies on-hand can be your inspiration. Over the years, we’ve decorated cards with hand and foot prints, tracings of the boys’ hands and just good-old stickers.
I have to say: I’m a huge fan of mini-glue dots. These fabulous, little wonders let my sons independently glue decorations on to their cards without the spilling, oozing, all-over-the-table-mess.
Just this week, my family also used our homemade cards to participate in the "Make a Child Smile" program. This national program tells stories of "children battling serious illnesses" and coordinates volunteers to send mail to the children in hopes of brightening their day. My kiddos LOVE to get mail – so they can certainly relate to the mission of this non-profit.
Our family signed-up, sent cards with our very favorite knock-knock jokes, and even included a deck of cards and directions to our family’s favorite card game. It’s a great volunteer opportunity that even allows the youngest member of the family to join in. Those special kids on the receiving-end deserve a good smile and we appreciate the opportunity to be a part of their journey.
I can’t believe it has been two years since my boys and I raised Monarch Butterflies here at home. My oldest son still talks about it and my youngest still thinks every butterfly he sees may just be the one we released.
A gift from dear family friends, our caterpillars arrived with enough fresh milkweed to help them grow (and oh, how they grow) and transform into beautiful Monarchs. The boys were enthralled by it all and we were lucky enough to see the exact moment of transformation from caterpillar to pupa and pupa to butterfly. The bookshelf in our kitchen became our own private Discovery Channel!
These short term pets make a great birthday gift, science project, and/or just family fun! I’ve seen kits purchased from other farms, but have been most impressed by the business below. The fresh milkweed and the large Monarchs offer a great “ahhh” factor. No need to but extra materials, the simple $10 kit allows you to raise and then simply release these beautiful creatures. Remembering it all, makes me want to order some more this summer!
My oldest son just recently celebrated his seventh birthday. Where has the time gone?
One of our ‘birthday traditions’ is to add another footprint to a board that we’ve hung on his bedroom wall. We all giggle at how much he’s grown and have started to envision what it will be like to have to hold him up (as we try to get just the right angle) as he enters his teens.
These two ‘foot boards’ are the best décor I could ever think of for my sons’ room. It’s better than any wallpaper and if we ever move… these boards are coming with us!
Needed Materials: 1) A simple pre-made white board (sold for shelving). 2) A set of mirror fasteners (to easily hold the board to any wall). 3) Kitchen sponge and craft paint (to coat that cute foot). 4) Paint marker (to write in date). 5) Clear varnish (to seal the paint once filled with footprints).