Monday, July 16, 2012

Day 16: Outdoor Scavenger Hunt @ Home

 {If you're just now following us and curious about what we're doing, check out our prior "31 Days of Play" posts.}

I am always trying to find fun ways to explore nature with my kids, so I was excited when I found this idea for an outdoor scavenger hunt on Simple Homemade recently. However, I knew giving my 3 1/2-year-old and 21-month-old a written list of items to search for would not work. So, I opted for making a visual list of familiar outdoor items including plants, trees, flowers, and other natural features for a toddler-and preschooler-friendly outdoor scavenger hunt.

Here's a small glimpse of what I came up with, followed by instructions for how you can create your own scavenger hunt:

Scavenger Hunt @ Home


1. Take some pictures of natural objects outside your home {alternatively, go to a local park or nature preserve}. Consider the age of your children in your selection. {My almost 4-year-old can distinguish between different tree leaves and barks; whereas, the almost 2-year-old can not. So, I threw in some easier pictures for her to find.} Also, I used 15 pictures for our kids. You might want to use more or less depending on the ages of your children and their familiarity with the natural objects in their backyard.

2. Edit your images. I used free and super-simple PicMonkey to enlarge and crop my images. I also added numbers to give order to our hunt. I ordered my pictures according to the location of the images in our yard, but for older kids, you could mix up the ordering to make it more challenging for them.

3. Print. Then, print out your images in color. You could use card stock paper, but I simply used regular white copy paper. 

4. Explore. Head outside with your paper list, and have fun with your kids finding the objects in your own yard. If you want, elicit any knowledge you might have about the plant, tree, or flower to your child, but keep it light and fun! We're enjoying nature, not having a botany lesson.

5. Offer a prize {optional}. I like incentives and so do my kids, so I offered the girls a prize if they could find all 15 items pictured on their list. Jellybeans for everyone!! Yea!!

 Even Dad was involved in the scavenger hunt!

 Kate celebrating after finding the hackberry tree pictured on the list

 Cora pointing to the rock she found

Kate with a Queen Anne's Lace--another item on the scavenger hunt list

An outdoor scavenger hunt is a simple but enjoyable way to explore nature with your kids, and the great thing is that you don't have to leave your house to do it! 

Have you ever created a visual scavenger hunt for your kids?  What did you do?

Thanks for joining me in our 16th day of "31 Days of Play"-- a challenge to play more with our kids!
Blessings to you!


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  1. FUN, FUN, FUN!! I love it. I know our children love scavenger hunts. I really just love your series on 31 days of play! Thanks for linking it up.

    1. Yes, it is fun. Our oldest wanted to play it again the next day and the next!

      Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Thanks for sharing this on Monday Mom Musings. My husband is a game playing sorta guy-- and scavenger hunts are among his favorites. I'm sure he'd love it if I set up something like this for he and my daughter to explore sometime soon. Thank you for this wonderful idea, Keri.

    1. Jelli, I bet you could create some amazing scavenger hunts in Costa Rica. And it is a fun Daddy/daughter game for sure!

  3. This looks so fun! My kids would love it, especially once the leaves get colorful and we can go and look for different types & colors! I'd love for you to link your post (or any frugally minded post) over at Thrifty Thursday!

  4. So fun! My kids would love to look for all sorts of colorful and different types of leaves in the fall, so I will definitely have to try this! I'd love for you to come and link up this post (or any other frugally minded post) over at Thrifty Thursday!

  5. Whoops, forgot to include the link!