“Birthday Present Treasure Hunt” {Free Printable}

birthday treasure hunt


Trust me on this one….you are going to want to download this and save it on your computer somewhere! I can’t tell you how many times I have wished I had done so!

Let me back up a couple of steps. The night before last I was up LATE talking with my daughter Britta about her upcoming wedding plans. You know…food, flowers, dresses, recorded vs. live wedding music, cake vs. cupcakes, etc…ALL those sorts of things, when I realized that I hadn’t set up the traditional Birthday Present Treasure Hunt for my 13-turning-14-year-old yet! I can’t tell you how many times I have done this. It’s late the night before a child’s birthday and I’m up making up new signs for the treasure hunt! The things we do for our kids!


birthday treasure hunt

birthday treasure hunt

I wrote about our family’s tradition of doing a Birthday Present Treasure Hunt to find their birthday gifts in this post last year when my son turned 13.

Well, yesterday he turned 14 years old and guess what? He still wanted a birthday treasure hunt! lol. I really thought I might get away with not having to set one up this year, but before he went to bed, sure enough, he asked about it. How could I say NO? I couldn’t.


Screen Shot 2013-04-17 at 11.20.37 PM


So there I was….LATE at night, once again, making up new birthday treasure hunt hints on the computer like I’d done TIME AND TIME AGAIN over the years. You’d think I’d learn to A) not wait until the last minute….and B) SAVE IT FROM LAST YEAR!

Well, unfortunately, I’m a bit of a slow learner in areas like this. So please benefit from my mistakes over the years and download this! Because, first of all, if you’re NOT doing a birthday treasure hunt for your kids each year, you’re missing out! Second, if you ARE doing one every year for each of your kids, this will save you a lot of LATE NIGHTS up making treasure hunt hints! All you have to do it print it out, add your own “hiding places” hints, cut along the dotted lines and you’re done!

Since I thought LAST year’s birthday would be the last time I would need these (and I was wrong), I’m not taking any chances…I’m S A V I N G this file for next year and beyond. I’m sure I’ll find need for them with grandkids one day. :-)

I hope you enjoy!

OH!  And Happy Birthday Sten! I promise to do a birthday present treasure hunt for as long as you want! :-)  



sten 14th bday 2



 (the below graphic is just an image of the downloadable .pdf file. Download is above.)

birthday treasure hunt


Does your family have any special birthday traditions?


Enjoy This Post? Never Miss Another!

Subscribe to Jillee's FREE email newsletter and receive more great tips and ideas!



  1. says

    This was sweet. I love those printables. The only birthday tradition we have in my family is actually for *my* birthday. Lol. I’m a huge bookworm & every year my mother gets me a gift card to Barnes & Noble. The amount of money she puts in depends on the new age I’m turning. Ex: Last year I turned 22, so she put $22 dollars in the gift card & I was able to buy 2 good novels :)

    I hope your son had a great birthday. Treasure hunts are fun at any age!

    xo, Charlene

  2. Diana B says

    When I was a teenager (very many years ago) the youth group at my church would do a scavenger hunt. We would get assigned groups with someone older (early twenties) in each group. Some were done within a certain area of a neighborhood (neighbors were warned) with a list of items to get. Things such as Popsicle sticks, clothes pins, use your imagination. I remember it being such fun.

  3. says

    Happy Birthday, Sten! Looking at your two pictures, one of your 13th birthday and the one for this year shows how much you’ve grown from a young boy to a fine young man. I know your parents are proud. My husband and I wish you the best birthday ever!
    Thank you, Jillee, for the birthday treasure hunt download. I plan on using it with my grandchildren…what fun!

  4. Leslie says

    Birthday treasure hunts were a tradition while raising our kids. The one spin on it that I did was make each clue a rhyming riddle that they would have to solve before they knew where to look next. Talk about late nights on those birthday eves! Now I can’t wait until the grandkids are old enough to read :)

  5. Victoria says

    On each birthday we go out to dinner, and the birthday boy or girl gets to pick the place. We’ve had Greek food for the 11th and 12th birthdays for my son, and we’ve tried a Japanese hibachi and a completely out of the way tiny little sushi restaurant for my daughter’s 14th and 15th. We’ve found some pretty amazing places. Whenever we run errands, both kids keep an eye out for unusual restaurants they may like. If we try a new restaurant that is pretty good, one or both of the kids comments “We’re going there for my birthday”. Highest compliment they can give a restaurant.

    Of course, the parents are pretty predictable. We’ve had Mexican for my last two and hubby usually picks something Italian.

  6. Emma says

    Jillee –
    First off thank you for the time and energy you put into providing all the wonderful information. I have a suggestion – It would be nice to have a tab with all the printables under it for those of us that can’t remember what the post was. I’m looking for the one that has the number of tablespoons in a cup etc.
    Thanks again.

  7. Renee says

    We actually do this for special Christmas gifts. We use our stacking Nutcrackers and each one contains the clue inside, the final one with the special gifts. Not all mind you just one that we hide. My kids are late teens and we still have to do this. Ha Ha Ha. Thanx for the print out it will make this year much easier.

  8. Krystal says

    So much fun! My Hubby and I did this one Christmas for our kids when the gift was “big” – a go cart. They had a blast Christmas morning running around inside and outside the house following the clues. Thanks for the memory!

  9. Becky says

    Very cool! We do a treasure hunt for Christmas every year. The first clue is in each of their stockings. You want to see crazy? Try writing out puzzle clues for each of 6 kids on Christmas Eve! : ) Well, I guess I draw pictures for the youngest two. It is totally worth it though, they LOVE it.

  10. Loyda says

    Our family has been doing this each year for the kids(since our 35 yr old was 4 yes old! Dh composes the silliest rhymes for his hints)! Love your format! Thanks, will save this download for the grandkids!

  11. Janice sheldon says

    I did hunts similar to this when my girls were younger (they’re in their 30′s now). But I was like the one gal who made each clue a rhyming riddle – that they had to solve to get to the next place. One thing I added was a present in each place. And, if they had friends for a party, there were party favors in each place for the other kids (like gum, life savers, balloons, etc.). I’m physically handicapped, so this gave the party some activities, while everyone got “something” when the birthday girl got each of her presents. They loved it.

  12. says

    Jill, this post brings back beautiful memories of all the birthdays of the six wonderful children in our great family. It was certainly worth the effort it took for us, as parents, to do it. To see the excitment and joy in children’s eyes (small and large) as they hurriedly run from place to place in the house to finally find their birthday treasure. Eyes got bigger and bigger, and I don’t remember that ANYONE was ever disappointed. Thanks for sharing that with your world of good people participating in One Good Thing by Jillee. It is a worthy birthday tradition that brings with it fun and excitement for all. You are the BEST, and we are VERY proud of the good you do in the lives of others.
    Love you, Jillee(bean). Mom

  13. Susan H says

    We have several birthday traditions, but our silliest? Our birthday song. It’s the same ole traditional song…. But we all sing it as crazily as possible. Lol. It’s a crack up when you have guests. Sometimes we warn them…sometimes we don’t. The dog has even howled at (with?) us! I had a boss 12 years ago that told us this was her family tradition and we thought it was so funny that it is ours now too.

  14. says

    Wow – this is awesome! I don’t have kids, but I’m totally going to use this for my husbands’ birthday in May. We do a full scale birthday week in my house, so I’m extra excited to find something awesome as his gift and make he travel all over creation trying to find it! Thanks for the idea!

  15. Colleen L. says

    I’m really loving this idea of a scavenger hunt for my girls. Our tradition – which dates back to when I was a kid – is to decorate the kitchen the night before the birthday and have the wrapped gifts out. The birthday person also gets to choose where to go out for their birthday dinner. I’m thinking it would be fun to combine the two — decorate the kitchen, but instead of putting the gifts out, put the first clue to the presents. :)

    I also like the suggestion to create a “printables” tab on the site that links to them all. Thanks!

  16. says

    Thanks for the post, Jill. We ran into something similar when I asked my very young daughter what was going to happen the next day on her birthday. She promptly answered, “I’m going to wake up and find balloons and streamers all over my room!” Hmmmm….we had never done this before, and I had NO IDEA that she was thinking this, but I promptly ran out to the store after she went to bed, bought the balloons and streamers, and decorated her room while she slept. In that moment, a new tradition was born! (We have also done treasure hunts with plastic Easter eggs, with each egg containing a word or letter of a word describing their gift, but this treasure hunt sounds like fun, too!) Yes, the things we do for our kids!!! :-)

  17. Marcie says

    I also did this for my 3 kids at Easter for the past 6 years. I buy 10 treats at Target and the dollar store, then write clues for each one and hid them throughout the house. I also have a 15+ year tradition of making a carrot out of Cheetos in a cellophane bag, tied with green curling ribbon strings. I thought last year was the last treasure hunt since two are in college and one in high school, but boy did my husband and I get the guilt trip for not doing anything this year! They said, “At least we could have gotten a carrot!” They will never get too old for traditions! I hope they do this for their kids one day.

    • Megan says

      My sister is 31, I’m 26 and my brother is 24. Santa and the Easter Bunny still visit us at my mom’s house too ;) She thought she could stop it one year but boy was she wrong! Now she gets a visit from Santa too.

  18. CTY says

    What fun!
    Had to share this scavenger Party we threw once. It’s lengthy but I couldn’t help myself.
    Reminds me of the Indiana Jones party we threw. Naturally, our 12 yr old son was dressed head to toe like Indiana Jones.Clues for a missing artifact traced the kids all through our neighborhood. There was a story throughout the journal of the how a village needed the artifact to survive and hints that they would never keep it for themselves. All was written in a journal that was delivered by a “courier”. Each page was a clue for where to go next. Our neighborhood was very interesting we had a German Mens Choir Hall, a cemetery, war memorial and a few other oddities around. What was cool was the each of the kids figured out a clue. When they found/returned the artifact to the village chief they got a key to a treasure of the highest wealth–but not without one more challenge. DH and I built a maze under our trampoline with booby traps like piles of cooked pasta, webs of silly string, hanging spiders & glow in the dark eyeballs. It was dark by the time they got to the trampoline and the trampoline sides were covered with dark plastic tablecloths making it hard to see. Then they dug up the treasure (it was in a hole I had one of the boys dig a few days before & gave no explanation)–a wooden box with $100,000 bars, rock candy, PayDay bars, ring pops, chocolate gold coins. Then inside for “spider hot dogs”, egg ball deviled eggs (halved the other way) & dirt cake with lots of gummy worms–placed in a scalp cut off plastic Halloween skull. The best part wasn’t planned. The weather– it was the hurricane Bertha pre-storm (crazy wind and side ways light/med. rain) We didn’t use the rain date because there was too much prep put into this one.
    Our son’s birthday is the same day as Harrison Ford so he sent him an invite. He was a no show but sent an autographed picture with regrets that arrived the day of the party (son now 27 has it framed in his office).
    So much fun reminiscing just now. Thank you for that.

    • Amanda Z says

      That is very elaborate, And totally awesome!!!
      I’m 27 and would still love to have that type of party for my birthday…

      I’m gathering tips from all these stories for someday if I have kids….

  19. Cindy says

    We adopted our daughter when she was 6. The day we met her we gave her a bear my grandmother had made me a few years earlier when I had my hysterectomy. Everyone has a birthday, but not everyone has an adoption day. We did a scavenger hunt to celebrate that event every year, with a bear at the end of the hunt to go along with the bear Nana made. So, while it is not a birthday scavenger hunt, it was a big deal scavenger hunt in our family. And, twenty six years later, that bear is my 8 year old grandaughter’s best friend! Thanks for letting me relive those sweet memories! And, happy birthday to your son.

  20. Gina Vermillion Boulanger says

    The timing on this post could not have been more perfect for me. My daughters’ birthdays are nine days shy of six years apart, the first is this Sunday. They (almost 4 and nearly 10) will LOVE this! Thank you for the inspiration.

    I started a tradition on my yougest’s first birthday to make both girls crowns for their birthdays. I thought my oldest had outgrown the tradition, but when she saw her sister’s crown yesterday I was asked what colors I would use to make hers. The tradition continues.

  21. mychal says

    We often did treasure hunts like this, but we’d put clues instead of directions. It got trickier as we got older and clues had to be more clever, but such fun! And sometimes my dad would draw a map for us to follow. It would always be quite elaborate and difficult to follow, but that just made it more memorable.

  22. says

    Do these birthday treasure hunts as long as you share the same roof. This made me soooo nostalgic for Easter egg hunts and I still want them, but at 26 …. !!!

    Maybe when he gets his license it could be a drive around the neighborhood scavenger hunt

  23. Glad Caldwell says

    Oh how cute! So what did he get this year? Did I totally miss it in the pics? Was it the cake? Don’t laugh, I’m soooo slow sometimes, my kids say I’m not very observant…. help me out here. I might try it, my critters are 17, 22 & 27, I think they may get impatient. But I think I’m gonna try it. Thanks for sharing. Adios

  24. says

    Howdy! Quick question that’s completely off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My blog looks weird when viewing from my iphone4. I’m trying to find a template or
    plugin that might be able to resolve this issue. If you have
    any suggestions, please share. Thank you!

  25. Dana says

    At Christmas time, our parents would hide our gifts from Santa. The rules were that no one could open a gift until each kid had one to open. It was really a lot of fun and slowed down the Christmas morning craziness! LOL

  26. says

    On everyone’s birthday (we have 3 boys) we hand streaners all over the house & on the birthday boys’ bedroom doorway. They love waking up seeing streamers in all colors all over the walls, windows, etc. I also allow them to eat whatever they want the entire day.

  27. Nonie says

    Excellent idea for the kid that is hard to shop for – and which Teenager isn’t – lol. Thanks so much for sharing this. I am going to put a money twist to it where he has to find and collect his prize/s. Thanks again!


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *