Walking in nature is great to relax and soak in your surroundings. Kids (and some adults) however sometimes need an incentive to get out and explore. Nature scavenger hunts are perfect for kids of all ages to kickstart time outside.
Paint Chip Scavenger Hunt
One really neat idea we have used is to gather paint chips at your local hardware/paint store in as many colors as the kids think they will find in nature. Try and choose some harder colors you may not see for a challenge. Parents this also is a great rainy day prep outing as well.
Next take your paint chips and start exploring. This could be in your backyard, neighborhood paths or a local park. This is also great for taking on trips as it is a compact item. We put ours in baggies with the kids name on them and off they go. They can show you as they hunt what colors they have found.
An easy way to keep track is to mark the color with a pen or a small hole punch as well. This way you can use the over and over again. We also make sure that we don’t disturb nature or take anything from the trails. It is great to see and look and touch but don’t remove. For older kids maybe see how many items of one color they can find.
Traditional Scavenger Hunt
We provide on school and group tours of our farm what you would say is a traditional scavenger hunt with a list or pictures of things to find in nature. We have two different styles of scavenger hunts for you to use or make your own – one for smaller kids and one for older kids. I am sure there are plenty out on the web as well to grab. Make it fun and it is a great conversation starter with your kids. You will be amazed at what they retain, know already or want to learn. We are constantly hear why does this do that or how does that animal do that? If I don’t know I ask the kids and then look it up on the web as well…we are all learning no matter how old you are.
Alphabet Scavenger Hunt
Now this style we normally do in the car or on really long hikes. You start with the letter A and try and find something that starts with the letter A. Note to make sure it is not to easy the first word of the item can’t be a color like Red bird. This is very easy to do in a car but you can also take this outside and may be fun when walking through a city just to see what you can find.
Above all have FUN when you are outside. It is good for your health, soul and for kids it will instill a life long appreciation and love of the outdoors. When our kids get grumpy – we send them outside. It is amazing at what just 30 min outside can do for a person’s attitude and emotional health.