We celebrated my daughter’s 10th birthday this week with a Mall Shopping Game. A friend liked the idea and asked if I would post my “secrets” on the site. It’s rather detailed, but so worth the effort!
MAIN IDEA: Party guests meet at the mall and use clues to travel from store to store where they receive small gifts as well as letters to fill in a code puzzle. The puzzle answer leads them to the food court where guests enjoy the cake and drinks. (Note: We tried to do this party as cheaply as possible with a few exceptions . You can adjust accordingly if you want to spend more money.)
TARGET AGE GROUP: This party is ideal for girls between the ages of 5 and 10, but could be adjusted for older girls. You will want to limit the number of guests to around six-eight to help with your budget and with the logistics of the party.
We wanted to spend around $10 on the treats. Here’s what my daughter and I found at a local party supply store:
fake money $.25
fake checks $.25
chocolate coins 10 pack $1.00
lip gloss rings 6 in a pack $.99
flower notepads $.25 each
mini glitter pens $.25 each
tatoos pack of 10 $.49
glow-in-the-dark bracelets pack of 12 $1.00
twisty suckers $.34 each
mini Mad Libs pack of 4 $3.99
(I splurged on the Mad Libs because my daughter really wanted them but you could substitute book marks.)
shopping stickers pack of 8 $.99
Other supplies: money envelopes from a local bank, quart zipper bags, gift bags to use as “shopping” bags (I personalized these with the girls’ names.), additional small prizes for games in the stores if you choose to play them.
1. Gather supplies-See above.
2. Write Clues- (See below for the Clues that we used or write your own). Write each clue on a separate bill of fake money and place one clue in each bank envelope (one for each guest + the birthday girl) with other bills and a few chocolate coins.
Place bank envelopes in a quart zipper bag marked ATM.
3. Organize Treats-Place the treats into quart zipper bags marked with the number of each stop. (For example: Store#1 was Macy’s and the treat was shopping stickers, so I placed the stickers in a zipper bag with a piece of tape marked #1.) You can see the list of stores and corresponding treats below.
4. Prepare Puzzle-For our party we received a “check” at each store to help us complete a puzzle. (This step could be skipped for younger children or made more difficult for older children.)
The top check is an example of a puzzle clue. The dollar amount is the number to be filled in on the puzzle (see second check) and the letter in the “For” section of the check is the answer to that number.
So in this example, the letter for the number four is “E”. As we read each check at the corresponding store, we then wrote the letter on the puzzle.
The solution to our puzzle was “Time To Eat”. The puzzle solution should be something about going to eat or the food court as that will be your next stop when you solve the puzzle. I have included the clues for our puzzle below if you choose to use them.
Once you have written the check for each store, place the check for store #1 in the #1 ziploc bag with the treats for store #1, place the check for store #2 in the #2 bag, etc.
5. Bag Items- Place all items for the scavenger hunt in a bag with handles. You will be carrying this throughout the mall so choose one that is comfortable.
Take the girls to each stop and follow the instructions:
ATM-Explain that you are getting your shopping money. Give bank envelopes with money and chocolate coins and hand out shopping bags.
Mall Directory/Map-Explain that now you have to decide where to shop. Have the girls look in the money envelopes to find the dollar bill with the clue on it.
Have the person with Clue #1 read it aloud:
Now you’ll have to travel far.
You’re looking for a big red star.
Go to …
Store 1 (Macy’s)- Hand out the first treat (shopping stickers). Look at the check ($2.00, letter I) and use it to fill in the first number on the puzzle.
Read Clue #2:
Now we’re looking for some bling.
This store has lots of shiny things.
Store 2 (Jewelry Store)– Give glow bracelets. Write the letter from the check on the puzzle ($9.00, letter T).
Read Clue #3:
Next we go to somewhere sweet.
This place has lots and lots of treats.
Store 3 (Candy Store)– If you’re not going in, hand out the suckers and go to B. If you are going in, have the girls find a piece of candy that is not cherry, strawberry or chocolate. You could buy them each a piece of candy or give them the suckers when you leave the store.
B) Read the check and write the next letter on the puzzle ($4.00, letter E).
Read Clue #4:
You can go here if you like to look
at games and toys and lots of books.
Store 4 (Book Store)-Give Mad Libs or bookmarks. At this point you can ask the girls to find a book that starts with the first letter of the birthday girl’s name (easy) or to find a book with her name in the title (more difficult). You could have an additional prize for the first girl to do so.
Read the check for this store and write the next letter on the puzzle ($6.00, letter O).
Read Clue #5:
This store has clothes and toys too.
The name is the same as a word in this clue.
(This clue is for Limited Too. See the alternate clue below for a different named store.)
This store has clothes made just for you.
They sell toys and jewelry too.
Store #5 (Girls Clothing Store)- Give the girls the treat for this stop. Our store is called Limited Too so we gave out taTOOs. Have the girls find an item for $2.00 or less. You can give a prize to the first one to bring an item to you.
Read the check for this store and fill in the puzzle ($8.00, letter A).
Read Clue #6:
This store has lots of stuff for hair.
You can buy earrings while you’re there.
Store #6 (Claire’s)-Give the girls the lip gloss rings (or other jewelry item). My daughter had her ears pierced for her birthday so the girls helped her to choose earrings.
Look at the check for this store and write the next letter on the puzzle ($5.00, letter T).
Read Clue #7:
Everything here costs the same
and it’s the last stop in our game.
Go to …
Store #7 (Dollar Store)– At this store give each girl $1.00 (and a dime for tax) and have them buy something for themselves or something for the birthday girl.
When everyone has finished shopping, look at the last check ($3.00, letter M) and write the letter on the puzzle. You will have two letters left (1=T, 7=E), but they should be able to solve the code.
Go to the food court for cake and drinks!
Rebecca Bruce says
Great idea. We did one recently with the Homeschool group, but ran into some difficulty. The managers got upset when so many people came into the store, without buying. It seems there are counters at the stores now, and they are supposed to sell according to the head counts. Did you all experience this problem, or did you meet the girls just outside the stores? Happy Birthday, Em.
We only went into one store where we did not buy something. Did you see the manager’s comment on the Hallmark post about the counters?