Monday, April 4, 2011

Nature Scavenger Hunt

Here is a great way to turn the outdoors into a game your children can enjoy over and over again.  Better yet, they can create themselves!  Use your backyard, playground, favorite park, or campground, in a Nature Scavenger Hunt!

Step 1 - Make a List
Your neck of the woods (ha ha.. get it?) might not have all of the same goodies as another part of the country, or world for that matter, so come up with a list of things that you can find in the places you and your children visit.  Better yet, make this part of the fun!  Visit a favorite spot and ask your child to go out and collect 20 or so different items.  You can then use the items to come up with your list.

Make sure you include some variety and throw in some unusual items. For example, we added something man-made and a bug to our list to make it more fun. You can add items to make your list more challenging, or not.  It is up to you!  We felt that 18 cards were a good number to search for.

Here is our list...
- a pine cone
- an acorn
- a smooth rock
- a dry leaf
- a leaf bigger than your hand
- a "Y" shaped stick
- a clover
- a weed
- something man-made
- a flower
- a feather
- something red
- something shaped like an oval
- a smooth-edged leaf
- something curved
- something shiny
- pine needles
- bark from a tree
- a bug
- moss
- a berry
- a mushroom

Step 2 - Create Your Cards
Design a card for each item you have selected for your list.  You can cut your cards out ahead of time, or simply fold your paper into 9 sections like we did below.

Next, allow your child to write the name of each item, and draw a picture to go along with it.  Have younger children draw the pictures and you can write the item below each picture.  That way they are still able to join in on the fun.

Here are my daughter's completed cards...

Make sure to include a card for the cover of your Scavenger Hunt collection.

Cut your cards out if you didn't cut them out before you created them.

Step 3 - Laminate
If you can do so, I recommend it!  It cost me less than $2.50 to laminate 18 cards at the copy shop, and your child's cards will last much longer.  Not to mention the fact that they look so snazzy, don't you think?

Trim around your cards, but be sure not to cut right to the edge.  You want to keep a border of laminate around each one so the sides of your cards don't fray apart or get damaged if they get wet.  Once the cards are cut, punch a hole in the corner of each.

Step 4 - Tie Them Together
Add the cards to a large ring or string them onto a cord.  I chose to use a piece of jute twine since it has a nice "nature" feel to it.  I made it long enough that it could be worn around the wrist during play, and added some wooden beads to finish it off.

I strung all 18 cards, with the cover on top, onto a piece of twine about 15" in length.  I then held both ends of the twine together and threaded on three wooden beads.

Next, I tied a knot on the end, to secure the beads and the cards.

And there you have it!

Step 5 - Make a Bag
It's a scavenger hunt, so you are going to need a place to collect all of your treasures, right?!  You can use a large Ziploc bag, a paper bag or something else you might have around the house.  If you are really crafty, you can create one.

I made a big with some scrap fabric, adding a casing to the top to thread more jute twine through for a drawstring top.

Now you're ready to play!
Children can play alone, race against others, or work as a team.  You may even want to award a prize to your child, or each team, once they have successfully collected each item on their Nature Scavenger Hunt list.

I know I can't wait to get out to do this with my kids!  It's been a long winter!!!  :)

Happy Hunting!


  1. FABULOUS!! I would love to include this in a special post I am putting together about celebrating outdoor play! I will link back to you and let you know when it will be out. Thanks!

  2. Great blog! I just hopped over from the UBParty! I love the Easter egg bunny and chick--I might need to try that with my kiddos--SO CUTE!You got a new follower--and would appreciate a follow back! Thanks!

  3. What a WONDERFUL idea!!
    I'm going to pass this along to my daughter. :)

  4. Such a cool idea, Rachel. My kids love to go on nature hikes, but one often gets bored while the others want to keep going. Having a scavenger hunt would keep them all entertained.

  5. Thanks everyone!! I find that this is a perfect activity when we are camping. We have used it when we are setting up camp as a way to keep the kids entertained. The kids love it, and it is a new game every time. We love it!

  6. What a fun blog! My kids would love your activities! New follower from UBP

  7. Stopping by from the UBP11! I am your newest follower, and I cannot wait to read more! I hope to have you stop by my blog and follow me back!

  8. I have come over from ABCand123 and am delighted to have now discovered your creative and inspiring blog.

    I love that your children created the cards - what a special treasure hunt. It makes it all the more memorable because your children were involved with the brainstorming and making the cards. Such a lovely touch to have a special bag too.

    I am your newest follower.

  9. Oh my these are fab. I love the lists you wrote and the kids drawings and everything! Down to the little beads! Need to get a laminator.... ASAP!

    Thanks for sharing these as well with us on Kids Get Crafty!


  10. I am your newest fan from the Ultimate Blog Party 2011. I would really appreciate it if you follow me back through Google Connect Friend. I have a lot of contest going on Madame Deals. $25 amazon gift card, Vera Bradley purse, $100 in jewelry, 200 cut coupons, bare minerals gift pack, $30 for an organic outfit, $75 P&G products, and the chance to win $1000. Thank you Amee

  11. Fabulous idea. I can't wait until we have consistent spring weather. Josie would have a ball with this activity.

  12. My kids would love this! I'll have to keep it in mind for after the SNOW melts! Thanks!

  13. I love this!..thanks for sharing,I visiting from Amaze me Monday,dittledattle.
    Thank you for sharing this, it gives me such a great idea, I'm going to try this for family get together.This will be so much fun, I thinking I'll make a list and send each family memeber a clue and they can bring thier item with current family photo, and we will make a first ever family album,with thier item from thier "neck of the woods",I'm already getting excited about this project,whooohooo
    Hey I'm new follower, come for a visit to LazyonLoblolly and see what me and the Mr made this weekend for our herb garden.
    Follow back if you will.

  14. I adore this idea!!! We're going to the beach for vacation in a couple of days.....maybe I'll come up with a beach scavenger hunt!! You are totally inspiring. :-)

  15. this is so fun! I had some cards on my computer when I was using Before Five in a Row, a lady on the forumns had shared them with me, but my computer crashed, and I lost the cards and forgot about the idea. I am glad you shared! My kids will have so much fun with this!(they were too young at the time so I was waiting till they got older to use the cards)

  16. All kinds of fabulous :) This would make a lovely gift, or party game as well.

  17. Thanks so much for sharing this cool idea at my Summer Fun party. I love how you had your kids make the list and draw the pictures, what a great way to get them involved!

    I just featured it in my Five Fun Ideas with Science and Nature post. (Feel free to grab a Featured button)

    I can't wait to see what other fun ideas you share this summer.

  18. OMG...I love this!! My daughter is about to turn 10 and her party is going to be a the state park close to our house. I cant wait to tell her what i found. Thank you for the idea and for sharing. We are going to have so much fun preparing and partying!!


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