How to Make a Thrifted Book Scavenger Hunt for Valentine’s Day

Every Valentine’s Day, instead of surprising Eben with chocolates and candy – I surprise him with a Valentine’s Day scavenger hunt. Every year the prizes that he finds during the scavenger hunt are the same – books. Books that I have scoured my local thrift stores for -sometimes it takes me months to find enough books that are in great condition and that I know he will love. This is probably his most favorite family tradition – he looks forward to it every year. It’s great fun and super simple to put together, read on to check it out.

What you will need:

  • thrifted books
  • paper from the recycling bin to wrap them in
  • colorful scrap paper
  • pen

How to get started:

1. Choose several books that your child will get really excited over. Eben loves graphic novels and comic books – so this will be my focus this year. I picked up a handful of Garfield, The Far Side and Calvin and Hobbes comic books. He will go berserk!

2. Wrap the books in fun paper from your recycling bin. I used leftover Scholastic book order forms.

3. Make several colorful hearts (depending on how many books you have + a couple extra).

4. Star by writing a “welcome heart”, such as; Hi, Happy Love Day! Follow the clues, one by one, you’ll find a surprise each time you find one! Secure this heart on the front door or whatever door your child comes home from school in or the place where you want to start the scavenger hunt. 

5. Place the second heart, right inside the front door – with the first clue on it. Write a different clue on all of the other hearts, each clue should direct your child to the next clue and so forth. I like to really spread the clues out so Eben has to go upstairs and downstairs, inside and outside over and over again. (Just make sure to do the scavenger hunt yourself one quick time to make sure that clues make sense!)

6. With each found clue, leave a wrapped book.

7. Place the last clue in the family room or a room that the entire family can join together in – watch your children unwrap and devour their books.

Do you have a special Valentine’s Day tradition that you surprise your children with? I would love to hear about it, please share your tradition in the comments below.


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