An easy way to turn a simple activity into something engaging and exciting is to make it into a scavenger hunt. Scavenger hunts are a great way to encourage teamwork, engage children and promote problem solving skills. This Free Printable Scavenger Hunt for Kids is an easy way to get kids outside taking a close look at nature and practicing their number skills.
Going for a walk, or hike is a great way to spend time outdoors. Keep kids engaged and even learning as they become very mindful of the items surrounding them
The hunt includes ten different (groups of) items for children to find. Kids will hunt and count in order to complete the scavenger hunt.
When doing the scavenger hunt, encourage children not to pick any flowers or handle any bugs or critters they find. It’s best to leave them untouched in nature. In the past when I have done with hunt, with older kids, they’ve loved taking pictures of each of the items they found.
If you and your kids love this scavenger hunt, then you’ll want to check out this collection of 35 Scavenger Hunts for Kids. From more free printable scavenger hunts to use outdoors to a free school scavenger hunt, there are lots of scavenger hunt ideas and inspiration.
So, pick a nice day and head outside. You can do this hunt in small groups or children can do it independently. You can also add to the challenge by setting a time limit. The hunt can also be used with younger children because there is a picture associated with the words for each item they need to find.
Preparing Your Free Printable Scavenger Hunt
One of the great things about this scavenger hunt is the fact that you don’t have to prepare anything or set anything up. Everything you’re looking for is already in nature.
All you need is:
- A copy of the scavenger hunt
- Clipboard (optional)
Head to a forest or area that children can walk and explore nature.
Scavenger Hunt Printable
Read the things that kids need to find during their hunt. The items are:
- 1 Animal Home
- 2 Things that are Yellow
- 3 Living Things
- 4 Things that are Soft
- 5 Twigs the Length of Your Hand
- 6 Stones Smaller than Your Fingernail
- 7 Leaves that are Different from Each Other
- 8 Plants Shorter than You
- 9 Trees Taller than You
- 10 Blades of Grass
The hunt includes math because of the requirement to find a specific number of each item. It also includes math because children will have to measure and find things of certain lengths.
The printable package also includes a copy of the Free Printable Scavenger Hunt that does not have the numbers and children can simply find one of each item. Each of the pages are also included in black and white.
Free Printable Scavenger Hunt – The Hunt
Once you have your scavenger hunt sheet printed, you are ready to go! Taking kids outside and exploring nature is one of my favorite things. We are lucky to have a large forest close to our home that we have walked through countless time.
Bringing along this scavenger hunt turn our outing into a whole new adventure. My kids look at the forest and everything in it in a whole new way while doing the hunt and notice things that may not otherwise.
Free Printable Scavenger Hunt – An Animal Home
Below I have given some ideas of what we found during our nature scavenger hunt. For the animal home children can find anything from a snake hole in the ground or a hollowed out tree that many animals have likely called home over time.
You may find things like a bird’s nest or even an ant hill. Whatever you are lucky enough to find remind children not to disturb the animals home.
Scavenger Hunt Ideas – Something Yellow
There were lots of yellow things on our hunt. You may find an insect or butterfly or various wild flowers, like we did, with yellow on them.
A Living Thing – Outdoor Scavenger hunt
We had a lot of fun with this part of the scavenger hunt and spent the longest time looking for critters and living things. We slowed down and quietly watched, and listened to all of the animals we could hear moving through the forest and calling to each other.
Finding something soft was another item that my kids had fun finding. It is also a great way to incorporate their sense of touch and feel into the activity.
Make sure that children aren’t touching anything that they shouldn’t be, but otherwise it is fun for them to feel various leaves and logs to find different textures.
A Twig the Length of Your Hand
There are broken twigs all around and they are easy to find. However, can you find some that are the same length as your hand? Finding this item requires some math skills and measurement.
The twigs don’t need to be the exact same size, but encourage kids to avoid breaking twigs to the right length. They may need to really search to find what they’re looking for.
Stones Smaller than Your Fingernail
This is another great hunt that involves a little bit of math. Rocks and stones are very easy to find, but with the restriction of them being smaller than your fingernail, children have to search and measure carefully.
Leaves that are Different from Each Other
Take your time with this part of the hunt. Children know that there are lots of different leaves on different trees. But do they really know how many different kids of leaves and trees there are?
Taking time and really inspecting the leaves can create a great discussion about the different types of trees they see. Challenge children to find specific leaves that you know are common in your forest.
Free Printable Scavenger Hunt – Plants Shorter Than You
This should be an easy one that mixes in some math again. Children are challenged to find plants or trees that are shorter than they are. It’s an easy way to measure their height and judge how tall a plant is.
A Tree that is Taller than You – Free Printable Scavenger Hunt
Children will stop and notice just how tall the trees are. If your kids are anything like mine, they may try to find the tallest tree in the forest. I love that they were noticing things that we had never really looked for before.
Blades of Grass Outdoor Scavenger Hunt
The final thing to find in the hunt is grass. It’s a really easy item to end the hunt with. You may even be able to find this before you enter the forest. It’s easy for kids to count and also a simple thing to challenge younger children to find if there is a group doing the hunt together.
I hope that you have as much fun with the free printable scavenger hunt as we did. You can use the hunt any time of year. Better yet, try it at the beginning of each season and consider the differences you noticed in terms of what you found and what was more challenging depending on the season and weather.
More information on how to download the pages featured in the activity above can be found below.
Outdoor Scavenger Hunt Escape Room Game
If you like the Free Printable Scavenger Hunt, then you’ll love this Outdoor Scavenger Hunt Escape Room game. Print the clues and hide them around the backyard or outdoor space. Challenge children to find and solve the puzzles to find their way to the end.
The game is perfect for parties, celebrations or simply some screen free outdoor time!
Download the Printables
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More Hands-On Teaching Ideas
For more hands-on activities for kids indoors or outside, check out a few more popular activities below. Try a Free Printable Escape Room for Young Kids or visit the collection of 63 Outdoor Learning Activities for various subject areas and interest.