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Fun Nature Scavenger Hunt Ideas for Kids

Michele Meleen
Man reading to kids on a field trip in forest

A fun and easy way to connect kids with nature is to make a nature scavenger hunt. All you have to do is list scavenger hunt clues for kids and get them in nature. You can do nature scavenger hunts indoors by finding natural items in your home or looking out the window. You can also do outdoor nature scavenger hunts at your house, in your neighborhood, or on vacation.

Free Printable Nature Scavenger Hunts for All Ages

Kids of any age can participate in an art-related nature scavenger hunt. Each seasonal nature scavenger hunt PDF includes six colors kids need to look for in nature. When they find an item for a color, kids can draw a picture of it in the empty box or even glue the small item inside the empty box. Click on the image of the scavenger hunt you want to try, then download and print. Check out the troubleshooting guide if you need help.

Printable Spring Nature Scavenger Hunt

Kids will need to find something light green, black, yellow, light blue, brown, and something with two different colors on it for this spring colors scavenger hunt. From all the animals coming out to play to spring plants sprouting and budding, kids should have no problem finding these colors in Spring.

Spring Scavenger Hunt

Printable Summer Nature Scavenger Hunt

The colors kids need to find in this summer colors scavenger hunt include yellow, blue, pink, purple, turquoise, and tan. From camping trips to the beach, the natural colors of summer are bright and varied.

Summer Scavenger Hunt

Printable Fall Nature Scavenger Hunt

Use this fall colors scavenger hunt to find things that are red, orange, yellow, green, maroon, and brown. While leaves are the obvious choice, encourage kids to find a totally different item for each color if possible.

Fall Scavenger Hunt

Printable Winter Nature Scavenger Hunt

The colors of winter vary based on where you live, but you should be able to find something red, blue, white, light brown, dark brown, and dark green in nature wherever you are.

Winter Scavenger Hunt

Preschool Garden Nature Scavenger Hunt

Preschoolers are often learning about the basics of gardens and gardening. Take learning outdoors with a garden scavenger hunt. Make a list of about ten things you can find in your garden or a public garden and get looking. Some items you might find in a garden include:

  • Worm
  • Bee
  • Different size flowers
  • Flowers of different colors
  • Specific types of flowers
  • Grass
  • Weed
  • Clover
  • Dirt
  • Rock
Children at nature reserve

Backyard Nature Scavenger Hunt

Making a scavenger hunt at home for kids is easy when you use your own backyard as the hunting grounds. Look at all the natural items in your backyard and make a list of things to find that fits your child's skill level. For younger kids, you can pick obvious items and just list their names. For older kids, try using backyard scavenger hunt riddles to make it more challenging.

Nature Walk Scavenger Hunt

Take a hike or walk through a beautiful park for your nature walk scavenger hunt. The idea here is to look for specific natural items as you walk. If you choose smaller items, kids can collect them in a backpack or pail they carry during the walk. You could also have them create a nature journal before the walk and keep track of their items there. Kids can write in things like where they found the item and even add a labeled drawing of it.

Winter Poem Scavenger Hunt

A poem scavenger hunt is fun because you have to read several poems, identify their nature subjects, then find those items in real life. Read all these original winter poems and find the item that is the main subject of each poem. If it's not winter, look for poems related to the season and do the same thing. For these winter poems, your list would include:

  • Something frozen
  • Snowflake
  • Seeing your breath
  • Snow
  • Family
  • Icicles

Weather Scavenger Hunt

Kids can explore natural weather with a weather scavenger hunt that takes place over a few days or a week. This hunt is best for older kids because they have more patience. Your weather scavenger hunt list might include:

  • Precipitation
  • Hot temperature
  • Cold temperature
  • Wind
  • Clouds
  • Thunder or lightning

Water Cycle Scavenger Hunt

Older kids can explore the water cycle through a challenging water cycle scavenger hunt. Kids will look for natural examples of each stage in the water cycle, which are:

  • Evaporation - Look for something that has evaporated, like a puddle you know was bigger yesterday or could be evaporating at the moment.
  • Condensation - Clouds are the obvious choice here.
  • Precipitation - This could be mist, rain, or even snow.
  • Runoff and Percolation - Look for water coming out of your gutters or heading for a stream.

Geology Scavenger Hunt

Kids who understand what geology is and what fossils are can head out on a geology scavenger hunt. Create a list of items based on the different types of geologists and see what you can find in a creek bed or around your neighborhood. List items might include:

  • A rock that sparkles
  • A rock with multiple colors
  • A fossil
  • A rock with layers
  • A rock made of sediments
  • A volcanic rock
  • A rock with something growing on it like moss

Nature Tracking Scavenger Hunt

Tracking animals in nature can be fun and challenging. On this scavenger hunt, kids will need to look for signs of life left behind by different creatures. You'll probably need to head into the woods for this type of hunt. Your list could include:

  • A small footprint
  • A large footprint
  • Scat
  • A bent branch
  • A plant that's been chewed
  • Bones (possibly from a carnivore's meal)
Kids in forest with a magnifying glass

Terrestrial Food Chain Scavenger Hunt

Terrestrial refers to land, so this scavenger hunt explores the food chain of a land animal or multiple things you'd find living on land. You can choose one animal and follow their food chain or use the typical elements of a food chain to structure your scavenger hunt list. An example of following the food chain of one animal would be:

  • Find a squirrel
  • Find a nut (squirrels eat nuts)
  • Find the tree that nut came from
  • Find the roots of that tree
  • Find the sun

Marine Food Chain Scavenger Hunt

Marine refers to water, so this scavenger hunt explores the food chain of a plant or animal living in water. You'll need to find a stream, pond, lake, ocean, or other body of water for this hunt. A simple marine food chain scavenger hunt list includes:

  • Sun (provides food for plants)
  • Plant (eaten by insects)
  • Insect (eaten by fish)
  • Fish (eats the insect, is eaten by birds or people)
  • Bird (eats the fish)
Boy looking at butterfly

A Danger to Nature Scavenger Hunt

Older kids and kids in middle school can explore nature pollution with a nature danger scavenger hunt. You can create a list based on different types of pollution or specific examples of pollution, like garbage. This scavenger hunt list is based on types of pollution:

  • Two examples of air pollution
  • Two examples of water pollution
  • Two examples of soil pollution
  • Two examples of noise pollution
  • An example of thermal pollution
  • An example of light pollution
  • An example of personal pollution

Stages of Life Nature Scavenger Hunt

Kids of all ages can explore the stages of life for plants in this scavenger hunt. You'll need to create a list of the stages a plant goes through, like a tree, in its life. A tree stages of life scavenger hunt would include:

  • Tree seed
  • Tree sprout
  • Sapling
  • Young tree
  • Mature tree
  • Dead tree
  • Decaying tree

Find Nature

Nature scavenger hunts make being outdoors more fun and educational. Kids can embark on scavenger hunts alone in the backyard or as a family activity in the wilderness. Help the kids in your life find nature and the love of nature by making outdoor time fun and exciting.

Fun Nature Scavenger Hunt Ideas for Kids