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How to Plan a Nature Scavenger Hunt

Your kids will love spending time in the great outdoors with this surprisingly easy outdoor activity for kids.

By: Ashley Jones, Editor, AllFreeKidsCrafts.com
How to Plan a Nature Scavenger Hunt
How to Plan a Nature Scavenger Hunt
This image courtesy of kcedventures.com

With warm weather approaching, one outdoor activity for kids that never goes out of style is the classic nature scavenger hunt. While there are tons of different scavenger hunt ideas out there, the nature scavenger hunt is undoubtedly the most awesome, as it gets kids outside, lets them interact with their surrounding environment, and is a great activity for developing fine motor skills. Basically, scavenger hunts are the best!
This super fun nature activity is great for kids to complete in their backyards, at a local park, or as a classroom activity. Pre-k through elementary school teachers will definitely love all of our scavenger hunt steps and students can even create their own nature display back in the classroom. Kids are sure to love completing this outdoor activity idea, so be sure to follow our step-by-step guide on how to plan a nature scavenger hunt that's absolutely fool-proof.

Planning Your Scavenger Hunt

Welcome warm weather with this super easy guide for how to plan a scavenger hunt. We guarantee kids of all ages will love interacting with nature with this incredibly fun educational activity!

Instructions

  1. Choose your location. Pick where you'd like to hold your scavenger hunt and scope out the area beforehand. Start thinking about what items or animals kids will be able to easily find. If you'll be holding your scavenger hunt in a state or city park, make sure you know what regulations are in place. For example, some state parks don't allow visitors to pick wildflowers or collect feathers of certain bird species.

  2. Create your scavenger hunt list. This is probably your most imporant step. Make sure every item on your list can be found at your location. You don't want to include trees or plants that don't grow in your local park if that's where kids will be hunting. Keep the age of your kids in mind. Younger kids may get more easily frustrated if items are super hard to find. Decide how kids will document their findings. With pictures? Collecting items by hand? Marking them off a list? Don't forget to set a time limit. If your hunt is an hour long, make sure your items can be found within that time frame.

  3. Create your teams and set rules. If your group of kids is smaller, then teams may not be necessary. But for classrooms or large groups of kids, think about dividing players into teams. Will there be prizes for winners? Also, it's very important to clearly explain your rules before handing out your scavenger list. Make sure kids understand their time frame and make sure they know what areas are off limits. Younger children should be accompanied by a supervising adult. Make sure kids understand what each item is and how they should collect their findings.

  4. Hand out tools and assign a time keeper. Make sure kids have access to clipboards, scavenger hunt lists, pens, and pencils. If your kids are documenting their findings via photos, make sure each group has a camera. Provide each group with sandwich or paper bags or some other way to carry their findings back to headquarters. Assign a reliable time keeper to each group so that kids know what time to meet up with their class or main group.

  5. Have fun! Your kids will love exploring the great outdoors and will definitely have a blast with this fun and easy scavenger hunt idea. Check our lists below for ideas for scavenger hunt items, tips and tricks, and free scavenger hunt crafts and activities.

Tips, Tricks, and Scavenger Hunt Ideas

  1. Know the difference between a scavenger hunt and a treasure hunt. A treasure hunt requires kids to follow clues to a set location or prize, whereas a scavenger hunt contains a list of items to find.

  2. Children should always be supervised during group activities.

  3. Make sure to provide water and snacks for your kids and make sure that they have access to bathrooms and rest areas. If kids will be in a forested area, make sure to watch out for bees, wasps, and poison ivy or poison oak. Kids may want to wear long pants to prevent poison ivy and hats to avoid ticks.

  4. If you're afraid of kids getting lost, make sure to use they use the buddy system. Make sure that kids know where adults will be and where they are supposed to meet up at the end of the hunt.

  5. Stumped about what to include on your nature list? Try having kids search for the following items:
    - Insects (earthworms, butterflies, grasshoppers)
    - Spider webs
    - Leaves from local trees
    - Animals and amphibians, like bunnies, squirrels, or frogs
    - Different types of birds (owls, robins, woodpeckers)
    - Flowers
    - Mushrooms or berries (make sure kids understand not to eat anything they find)
    - Feathers or birds' nests
    - Pine cones or acorns
    - Fossils or interesting rocks

What are your super fun scavenger hunt activites? Let us know below in the comments!

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Love this nature scavenger hunt idea! These directions and the outline is fantastic and really gets anyone enthused to start right away! You could adapt the hunt for all the seasons and vary what is to be hunted! I could see modifying this for little ones, or challenged students by putting some of the intended items in easy to spot places to give some encouragement. As a former teacher and speech therapist, you could also modify the list for things that begin with a certain letter, or rhyme with another word etc. great idea, super tutorial! Thank you so much!

This is so cute! It'd be so easy to turn this into a science class assignment for all ages.

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