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The Ultimate Nature Scavenger Hunt for Kids [Free Printable]

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With spring in full swing, there’s no better time to plan the ultimate nature scavenger hunt for kids! It’s a great way to immerse kids in the great outdoors and develop an appreciation for nature. Grab your free printable checklist so you can get started exploring.

Path through forest for nature walk
Photo by Tim Gouw from Pexels

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Why I Created This Free Printable for You

As a child, I always liked to explore the woods near my house and see what kinds of creatures I could find. Quite often, I’d spot a rabbit staring back at me or some honeysuckle I could enjoy on the journey.

Ah, those were the days!

With so many “screen time” distractions competing for attention nowadays, getting outside to connect with nature is therapeutic for both kids and grownups alike.

I hope you’ll enjoy using this free nature scavenger hunt as a way for both you and your family to find some inner peace.

Nature scavenger hunt for kids free printable with binoculars

Why Every Kid Needs Time Outdoors

If your kids are anything like mine, too much time indoors is not good for the soul — theirs or yours!

According to Harvard Medical School, there are actually six reasons your children need to play outdoors:

  1. Sunshine is important for Vitamin D development.
  2. Exercise outdoors encourages more active play compared to indoor activities.
  3. Unstructured play outdoors improves executive function, which includes problem-solving, prioritizing, and troubleshooting skills.
  4. Outdoor play can encourage kids to take risks and learn through failure.
  5. Socialization outside can improve cooperation and sharing skills.
  6. Being with nature encourages an appreciation for the environment and a greater sense of responsibility to protect it.

Did you read that last point? That’s exactly where a nature scavenger comes into play!

How to Plan a Nature Scavenger Hunt Kids Will Love

Child walking through leaves on nature walk with rain coat
Photo by VisionPic .net from Pexels

With a treasure hunt for plants and animals, kids can pay greater attention to details they might miss on a typical walk in the woods.

A nature scavenger hunt is a great activity for kids during a picnic or hiking trip. For children, it’s like playing “I Spy” while learning about the local flora and fauna in their natural habitat.

Before heading on your hunt, here are a few helpful ways you can help your kids or students appreciate nature and learn to protect the environment. Just make sure younger children understand not to touch or remove the plants and animals without an adult’s permission.

Supplies

  • Journal or notepad
  • Printable scavenger hunt for kids
  • Binoculars (optional)
  • Nets or bug jars (optional)
  • Pencil or marker

Top Binocular Sets & Bug Kits


Get your little ones ready to explore with their own set of binoculars, magnifying glasses, and bug catchers (for the friendly bugs only).

Planning Tip

You can laminate your scavenger hunt to reuse the sheet for multiple walks. This works especially well for a classroom or summer camp activity.

Discussion Points

Whether you’re in a classroom setting or on a family outing, you can make the most of your adventure by asking kids a few questions about their experience.

  1. What kinds of smells and sounds do you notice?
  2. Which items were hard to find, and why do you think that is?
  3. Are there certain items that are related to each other (like the nest and bird or caterpillar and butterfly)?
  4. Which animals can live up high in trees? Which live only on the ground?

Children can record some of their reflections in a nature notebook or journal. To incorporate a writing lesson, have the kids describe their favorite parts of the walk in an essay.

One of my favorite ways to remember a nature walk is by creating pressed flowers, which you can learn more about in my article on pressed flower wall art. It’s a great way to bring the outdoors inside, especially on a rainy day.

Microwave DIY pressed flower wall art tutorial flowers
Pressed flowers from nature walk

Printable Nature Scavenger Hunt for Kids

Nature Scavenger Hunt for Kids free printable

To download your printable checklist, simply enter your information below. You’ll also receive exclusive VIP access to other printables, including these fun kids activities:

More Scavenger Hunt Ideas for Kids

Here are a few products and books your kids may enjoy as part of their nature exploration. You can begin by reading nature-related books or take some of these accessories on your outdoor scavenger hunt.

Pin it for later!

Nature scavenger hunt for kids free printable

Enjoy your scavenger hunt, and don’t forget to follow me on Instagram or Pinterest to share your nature walks with me!

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More Activities for Kids


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12 Comments

    1. That’s wonderful to hear, Marianne! Thanks for letting me know. It’s so important for kids to get out and enjoy nature. I hope they have fun exploring.

    1. Thanks, Paula! This would’ve been my kind of activity as a kid, too. I was always outdoors exploring, and it’s one of my fondest memories of childhood. Thanks for stopping by!