If it were up to my kids, they’d live outside. Any chance they get, they are playing in the yard, going for a walk, looking for bugs, or exploring in the woods. I wanted to build upon their curiosity about nature, so I came up with a series of scavenger hunts for them to use during their outdoor adventures. My almost 5-year-old helped me come up with ideas of what to include on each sheet, and then I had him pick two to try out. I think these hunts are going to be most successful for kids ages 3 and up. My 2.5-year-old was not terribly interested in participating, but she did like to name the pictures and was interested in watching her brother as he searched!
Neighborhood Scavenger Hunt
This hunt is perfect to take along on a walk. You can play it like BINGO where you try to get a line or shoot for the stars and try to fill the whole sheet. We regularly go on walks through our neighborhood, but it was so fun to see my son noticing details and really studying the familiar surroundings. When we got back inside, he sat by the window and declared that he was going to continue watching for a bicycle since we hadn’t seen one during our outing. He was thrilled when someone rode by on one ten minutes later! He also asked if he could bring the sheet in the car the next time we ran an errand so that he could looks for things while we were driving. I hadn’t thought of as an alternative use, but I love it!
I laminated our sheet so that we could reuse it. Thanks to my fellow Bannor Toys Collective Moderator, Jessica, for suggesting a laminator a few months back! You can find one for less than $20 on your favorite online warehouse shopping site, and it’s amazing how many uses you’ll find for it. Not only did laminating the sheet make it reusable, but it also gave the paper some structure so that it was easier to write on without needing to put it up against something.
To download the Neighborhood Scavenger Hunt sheet, click here.
Rainbow Scavenger Hunt
This hunt could be used on a walk as well, but we searched for things of all different colors right in our backyard. We decided to place the various objects onto the paper, though our black ant was not interested in staying within his box! Older kids could write the names of things inside the boxes, or you could check them off as you find things. My plan for the next time we use this sheet is to challenge my son not to repeat any of the objects he found this time.
To download the Rainbow Scavenger Hunt sheet, click here.
While I only kid-tested two of the sheets, here are some additional versions for you to try with your kids!
The Use Your Senses Scavenger Hunt focuses on finding things that smell, feel, sound, or look different ways. I’m not going to encourage your kids to taste random things they find outside, but they can look for something that an animal would eat!
To download the Senses Scavenger Hunt sheet, click here.
For rainy days, there’s an Indoor Scavenger Hunt! While this one diverges a bit from the original intent of these sheets, some days going outside isn’t an option. My son also says he wants to bring this sheet to his grandparents’ house to see what he can find there.
To download the Indoor Scavenger Hunt sheet, click here.
If you get tired of using these sheets or want to get creative with your own ideas, here are two different Create Your Own Scavenger Hunts as well!