Getting your family outside can be such a challenge. With so many screens and games to play, it’s hard to get kids excited about spending time outdoors. The good news is that you don’t have to do it alone! There are plenty of ways for the whole family to enjoy nature together and one of them is with a scavenger hunt. A nature scavenger hunt involves spending time outdoors, while “searching” for items on a list. You don’t have to bring all the things home with you, but setting out to explore nature can be a great way to get out of the house and enjoy time together as a family. Try to get out together as a family, but if that isn’t possible at least try going out individually or in pairs with your children.
Tips for creating your nature scavenger hunt
Planning a nature scavenger hunt doesn’t’ have to be daunting. Use our free printable below or create your own.
- Pencils, pens, or crayons.
- Printable nature walk scavenger hunt or paper.
- Book or clipboard.
- Snacks (optional).
Items to include on a nature scavenger hunt might include:
- pine cones
- flowers for different seasons
- sticks and rocks of different shapes and sizes.
Tips for success:
- Bring a book or clipboard to make crossing off your scavenger hunt items easier.
- Make it fit your family. Younger kids might want to collect little treasures while older participants can bring along a phone to take pictures or use an app to help them identify plants and insects.
- Don’t forget to let them know which items they’re allowed and not allowed to pick up.
- Keep track of time so everyone is back home within a set period of time.
- Make it fun with food! Bring along snacks or even make your own scavenger hunt snack mix at home before you start the activity.
- Check the weather forecast before you go so that everyone stays safe and comfortable throughout the hunt.
Need something fun to do at home? Read: Fun Family Activities at Home
Places to have an outdoor nature scavenger hunt
Include items that are specific to your location. For example, pine cones or sticks might be harder for children in other areas of the country to identify. If you’re planning a scavenger hunt closer to home include some items from your area. Your kids will enjoy learning more about where they live with this activity! Other ideas include:
- hiking trail
- National Park
- your backyard or neighborhood
Now that you know what to include in your scavenger hunt, and where to go, it’s time for the fun part: going out and finding them! Make a day of it or pick an afternoon to spend in nature. You can even try going on multiple hunts over the course of a few days, each one with different items to find and explore!
What to do when you get home
Once everyone has found their items on the list, encourage kids to create a nature collage with all of their findings by gluing them onto paper or drawing a picture. You can also use this as an opportunity to reflect on your adventure. Ask children questions about their favorite parts of the day and what they learned. What did they hear or see? What did they like or not like? You can even write the answers down on your scavenger hunt list for them to include with their items.
You might also consider creating a nature journal together where you record all of your walks and hunts, what you found, heard, saw, etc. over time so that children have an ongoing record of these special memories.
Create a scavenger hunt today for some quality time spent outside together as a family!