Play outside with nature scavenger hunt printables

Want some fun and easy ways to get your family outside having fun?  Have you ever done a scavenger hunt outside or a specific nature scavenger hunt?  They’re incredibly versatile… you can use them for all ages, plus they’re a low-prep activity. Make sure to grab your nature scavenger hunt free printable below!

The first time I tried a scavenger hunt with my kids I scribbled down some things for them to find on a recycled receipt I pulled out of my paper recycling bin. I gave this to them along with a little paper bag and sent them on their way. 

I had no idea they would have so much fun!  The hunt lasted over an hour and they were eager to look for more things, but they’d found everything I could think to put on the list!

image of nature scavenger hunt printables, text reads scavenger hunts, printable nature activities
a girl holding seeds and bark in her hand after a scavenger hunt

How to make a nature scavenger hunt?

Really, there’s no limit to how complex or simple scavenger hunts can be. 

You can play in teams, take photos or gather items. 

You can stretch the search out over a few outings or challenge yourselves to find as much as possible in one afternoon.

When we head out on scavenger hunts we usually bring along a pencil to mark off the items we find, but you could laminate your hunts to reuse them with wipe-off markers.

One thing my girls have enjoyed is making their own lists before leaving the house.  It’s quite funny to hear the things they think they might be able to spot or find outside. 

The standard nature scavenger hunt items include:

  • Various leaves, flowers, and rocks
  • Different types of trees or plants
  • Animals, birds, and bugs
  • Outdoor elements like bridges, signs, and benches

Adding variations like colour and size help make the hunt a little more challenging.

My kids really like when they’re challenged to find an item matching the exact size of their hand, arm, or ear.

A child's finger pointing to nature scavenger hunt treasures like rocks, leaves, twigs, and flower petals

Another fun element to add to scavenger hunts are activities such as climbing a tree, standing on the biggest rock, picking up litter, petting a dog, or saying ‘hi’ to a neighbour.

We really have found that scavenger hunts are great motivators to getting kids outside.  It’s also a fun activity when boredom arrives and you need a backyard activity idea for them or for when your little neices and nephews are visiting and you’d like to occupy them on a family walk.

Other outdoor scavenger hunts:

Because my family enjoys nature scavenger hunts so much, I thought I’d make up a bunch of outdoor scavenger hunts for you all to enjoy.

By joining the Take Them Outside Newsletter you’ll get access to the free resource and printables library, there you’ll find these outdoorsy scavenger hunts:

  • Around town scavenger hunt
  • Fall scavenger hunts
  • Green spaces scavenger hunt
  • Campground and Camping scavenger hunts

Some of these are better suited to younger kids in an afternoon around the neighborhood, and some are more involved for older kids and a trip to your urban green space.  I even made one specifically for getting outside in the big city.

Download your own printable nature scavenger hunts

I’ve created both a black and white version as well as colour for each of the scavenger hunts and you can download and print as many as you like.  Some people choose to laminate these so they can be re-used with a white-board marker.

Following the link to the nature scavenger hunts will actually give you access to my entire printables library.  You’ll also find a few other goodies in there and more to come in the future!

two girls holding hands after a scavenger hunt
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