The Go Wild Go West blog

Party Bag with a difference: Ditch the plastic and send the children on a secret mission

Swap plastic for adventure

With Max turning 6 last month, we wanted to come up with a new party bag idea that moved away from giving out plastic nick-nacks and sweets and do something a little different.

Instead, we had a family walk up to Cheddar Gorge, Somerset and hid a Tupperware box at Max’s favourite picnic spot (nicknamed ‘Max Rock’). In the box we left a note that Max had written. He said that it was his birthday and that he was interested to see who else loved this rock. We also left notepads and pens so people could reply. The box was hidden in a sheltered but relatively obvious place so that anyone who stopped at the rock would likely see it.

A secret mission…

On his birthday Max, had a fire lighting and den-building party in the woods. At the end of the party, we gave out a ‘secret mission’ rather than a party bag. Each of his friends were given a set of instructions about where to find the hidden box and how to leave a message. The kids were very excited about the mission and they all managed to complete it!
Download the full mission at bottom of page.

We soon returned to Max Rock to check the box. Max was totally bowled over by the number of responses and birthday wishes he has received from all over the world! People had been kind enough to leave good luck trinkets from their own cultures, like lavender bundles and coins. It was truly lovely to see messages from friends and strangers alike – all united in visiting that one place. I’ve attached a few of the notes to share.

I’ve attached the pictures with the instructions to the secret mission. If you fancied doing something similar for your child’s party bag please do download below.

Cheddar Gorge Walk

Cheddar Gorge is known around the world, and it’s really beautiful to walk up there. You can avoid the crowds and extortionate car parking fees by starting from Black Rock at the other end of the gorge. From here, climb straight up the rocky path to the top. The view are beautiful and there’s wildlife everywhere! Max rock is one of the first plateaus on your right. Be very careful with children and dogs on top of the cliffs! Roam along the top until you reach Jacob’s Ladder (can you count how many steps there are?) and then descend into Cheddar.

Walks on Cheddar Gorge

This is the perfect time to have an ice cream pit-stop or maybe even a Cheddar cheese sandwich! Now at the half way point, ascend back up the Giant’s pathway as we like to call it – a beautiful wooded path with giant boulders. Look out for the hidden cave on your left. You then walk back along the top and down to the car park. The walk is about 8km in total.

There are instructions for a shorter walk on the National Trust site here.