The Ultimate Nature Scavenger Hunt for Kids [Free Printable]
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.
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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.
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:
- Sunshine is important for Vitamin D development.
- Exercise outdoors encourages more active play compared to indoor activities.
- Unstructured play outdoors improves executive function, which includes problem-solving, prioritizing, and troubleshooting skills.
- Outdoor play can encourage kids to take risks and learn through failure.
- Socialization outside can improve cooperation and sharing skills.
- 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
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.
- 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).
You can laminate your scavenger hunt to reuse the sheet for multiple walks. This works especially well for a classroom or summer camp activity.
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.
- What kinds of smells and sounds do you notice?
- Which items were hard to find, and why do you think that is?
- Are there certain items that are related to each other (like the nest and bird or caterpillar and butterfly)?
- 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.
Printable Nature Scavenger Hunt for Kids
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.
You’re welcome! Thanks for the nice comment, Racquel. Enjoy the scavenger hunt!
I love this scavenger hunt and am going to use it for a youth activity at a local Riparian Preserve. Thank you!
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.
What a fun activity for kids to enjoy outside! When I was a kid, I would have loved doing this.
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!