Looking for an outdoor activity for the whole family? Try going on nature scavenger hunt for a great nature-filled activity for kids (and parents) of all ages!

Being outdoors is one of the best medicines for almost all ailments. Like bored kids, energy filled kids, stressed parents- and tons of other!

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So why not plan a nature scavenger hunt! It’s a great activity for the entire family- where young kids, older kids, and parents can all get in on the fun and play together. 

You can do a scavenger hunt anywhere outside- your own backyard, a nature center, the beach, a local park, a national park- anywhere!

So grab a picnic basket, some supplies and get exploring!


how to have a nature scavenger hunt with kids


Supplies for a Nature Scavenger Hunt

One of the great things about doing a nature scavenger hunt with the kids is that it needs next to no preparation. Just a few simple supplies and you are ready to go!

All you need is:

  • A printable nature scavenger hunt sheet (see below)
  • Crayons/Markers/Stickers- just something to mark off what’s been found. 
  • Optional- a basket or bag to collect items from your hunt

And that’s it! Just gather the family and head outside!


girl looking at an animal track sign


How to Do a Nature Scavenger Hunt (for All Ages!)

Not sure exactly HOW to hold a scavenger hunt outside? Here are a few tips to get you started. 

Choose an appropriate sheet for your area. I’ll link to over 20 different, free, printable scavenger hunt sheets below. Make sure to choose one that is appropriate for your yard, park, beach,  season, etc. 

Give everyone their own sheet. You know, because sibling rivalry! If you only have one sheet for the whole family things can turn argumentative quickly. So use that ink and print out one for each person. 

Alter the sheet to fit the ages of your kids. Older kids can be required to identify plants, critters, etc instead of just find them. Younger kids just have to see an item and color or mark it off. You can also use different sheets for different ages. 

Make your scavenger hunt a small competition. Again, siblings tend to love to compete– see who can find all their items first. 

Collect the items to bring home. Just remember to  be respectful of nature. Don’t bring anything living home such as salamanders, living shells, blooming flowers (unless you are in your own yard!). 


exploring lichen on a nature scavenger hunt


Extras to Bring on Your Scavenger Hunt

Don’t just stick with paper and markers- make the scavenger hunt a full body experience!

Here are some ideas of other items to pack for you hunt to extend the nature experience for everyone:

  • A magnifying glass to see up close
  • A couple of field guides (birds, trees, weed, reptiles, wild flowers, etc)
  • A notebook a colored pencils to sketch what you see
  • A camera to take pictures of what you can’t bring home
  • Binoculars to see things far away
  • A butterfly net (catch and release!)
  • A bug box (catch and release!)

And don’t forget to set up a nature table with your treasures once you get home!

Okay, now that you know HOW to hold a nature scavenger hunt for the kids, let’s get to the ideas. Here’s a list of some totally free nature scavenger hunt lists and sheets for you to print out and use on your next adventure!


Printable Nature Scavenger Hunt Sheets

More Family Activities to Try:

How to Do a MATH Scavenger Hunt

Printable Summer Bucket Lists

Free Printable Halloween Scavenger Hunt (3 Different Versions!)

Road Trip Scavenger Hunt for Long Car Rides

20 Things to Do As a Family This Summer

11 Best Family Board Games 

The Best Paper Airplane Design


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