This post and its photos may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you! Read my full disclosure policy here.
Inside: Looking to spring into summer in a fun way? We’ve got some fantastic outdoor scavenger hunt for kids idea’s along with a free Scavenger hunt printable bundle for your next outdoor adventure.
There is nothing better than fresh air and a little bit of Mr. Golden Sun to make us feel alive.
And while being outside in any capacity is fantastic, there is nothing more fun than exploring the great outdoors with our kids.
So, here’s a fun twist:
Season up your outdoor time with a fun Scavenger Hunt for kids.
And below, you can snag some helpful free outdoor Scavenger Hunt printables (4 different sets) to liven up your outdoor adventure even more.
And here’s the best part:
You don’t need to get lost in the deep woods to do this…an hour spent in your backyard or at the park is equally as fun.
We’ve gathered up the best Scavenger hunts for kids (and even included 22 free Scavenger Hunt clues) so put on your investigative caps and let’s get to it.
Don’t forget to snag this cute printable bundle perfect for all ages (at the end of this post).
Benefits of Outdoor Scavenger Hunts for Kids
1. Outdoor Time
In a nutshell:
Being outside is healthy for kids
Pediatric occupational therapist Angela Hanscom recommends that kids get 3 hours of outdoor time each day!
Wowsers, that’s alot!
Health Harvard published a post that gives six good reasons kids need to play outside. You can read it here.
The exercise we get when we are outside is also so imperative to raising happy, healthy kids.
Another BIG benefit of being outside is:
Vitamin D is very crucial for the development of kids. And we get this magical vitamin from being out in the sun.
2. Living In the Present Moment
Being a mindfulness nut, it’s true that Scavenger Hunts are one of the best ways to bring kids into the present moment (and get them off their screens)!
And we all know that living in the moment is the foundation for a happy life.
3. Teach Problem Solving Skills
Scavenger hunts allow kids to practice hands-on problem-solving tangibly.
4. Teach Teamwork
If you are going on a group Scavenger Hunt (in the classroom or at a playdate or party), this teaches kids the value of teamwork and promotes social interaction.
Get your free printables below!
Where to Use the Outdoor Scavenger Hunt for Kids
There are so many excellent options of where you can go on an Outdoor Scavenger Hunt for your kids. Below are a few ideas:
- Kids’ party
- At the park
- During vacation
- At the cottage
- By the pool
- In the backyard
- At school
So, what’s the bottom line:
You can do this anywhere!
Outdoor Scavenger Hunt Ideas for Kids
There are many variations you can choose from in planning an outdoor scavenger hunt for kids. This will depend on your child’s age, interest and maturity level.
We’ve listed five awesome options below.
1. Nature Scavenger Hunt for Kids
One of my favorite scavenger hunt ideas is to go on a nature scavenger hunt.
I love this idea because it’s perfect for toddlers, preschoolers, and even younger elementary-age children.
- Modify this printable to fit your scene or area
- Check off the items as your go.
- I love the idea of bringing a basket and collecting a few items. You can later examine and talk about the things you found.
And here’s the best part:
This nature scavenger hunt for kids is completely free.
Don’t forget to circle back and talk about your Scavenger Hunt:
- What was your favorite item you found?
- What was easy to find? Difficult?
- Was there anything you couldn’t find?
- What senses did you use?
Incorporate the 54321 Grounding exercise into your walk and make it a senses walk or a watchful walk. Going on a mindful walk is one of my steadfast summer activities with my kids. Snag full instructions here on how to go on a senses walk with your kids (and grab the free printable below.)
Nature Scavenger Hunt Clue Ideas
This nature scavenger hunt has a ton of great ideas:
- Logs or sticks
I also love to make my nature scavenger hunt more detailed for a little added challenge, so get particular:
- Red leaf
- Purple Flower
- Tiny Stone
- Something that smells good
- A leaf with a neat shape
Up next we have a neat twist on the traditional Scavenger Hunt for Kids. Up next is a Color Scavenger Hunt.
2. Color Scavenger Hunt
Perfect for toddlers, preschoolers or school-aged kids.
Choose 8 to 10 colors and mark them on a piece of paper. (Or use the free printable included in our Scavenger Hunt bundle).
Have kids venture into the outdoors and find items that closely match those colors.
Have kids collect the objects (where they can) and return to show and discuss what they found.
If collecting objects proves to be too difficult (like you are walking in the neighborhood and don’t want to end up in jail), then simply write the name of the object you find below the color on the Color Scavenger Hunt for Kids printable included.
3. Study the Objects Scavenger Hunt
I’m obsessed with taking time to really look at things. Especially things in nature, there’s a famous saying,
“If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change.”Buddha
So it goes without saying that a great variation on the typical Scavenger Hunt is to study the items you find.
Take a notebook and document discoveries. Write about the bugs you see, use a magnifying glass to really examine ants and flowers.
This teaches kids to really see things and look at items with fresh eyes.
I’m obsessed with this Outdoor Explorer Kit (this is the exact one I have). We used it SO much last summer, it’s worth every penny.
Provide your kids anything they want with this outdoor adventure toys kit; 5x power magnification binoculars, compass, butterfly net, magnifying glass, tweezers and bug containers, and backpack. Wonderfully fun for camping trips and outdoor or indoor investigations
4. Scavenger Hunt Clues or Treasure Map
A scavenger hunt is different from a treasure hunt in that you provide a list of items for the kids to find. The first person or team to check off all the items on their list wins the game.
A treasure hunt is where you can create a fun map of the backyard, park, or forested area. You preplan and hide items in the spots on the map and then give clues about where to find the items and what they are looking for.
Whichever you want to do is perfectly fine.
A treasure hunt often involves a bit more work upfront. You need to hide the treasures in specific places beforehand.
Both options are especially perfect for school-age kids who can read clues and be a little more independent.
Kids will LOVE to go hunting for these unique treasures.
Readymade Scavenger or Treasure Hunt Clues
Every good treasure hunt needs some fun clues.
I’ve created 22 clues to get you started, all involving common outdoor items. You can also make your own clues to create the perfect treasure hunt.
(These clues and some blank Scavenger Hunt printables are included in our FREE and EPIC Scavenger Hunt printable bundle for kids)
Scavenger Hunt Clues:
- I love to soar above the trees, look up, look up, can you see me?
- I have two wheels and sometimes a bell, I love being ridden, and if you fall off, I promise I won’t tell.
- You give me to people to make them happy. I smell sweet and sometimes make people feel happy.
- I stand tall and proud, and I’m sturdy as can be. I provide everyone shade, and sometimes birds live in me.
- I buzz around and making honey’s my thing, but be careful not to disturb me, or you might feel my sting.
- I’m really pretty but sometimes full of ants. People tend to me and grow my plants.
- I have a blade, so be careful around me. I like to keep the yard looking as neat as can be.
- I’m made of wood, but it’s all good, people love to relax on me and so they should!
- I’m really tiny and make tons of tunnels. Look down as much as can be, so you don’t step on me.
- I fall off trees, and I’m usually green; people often have fun raking me.
- I can be big or tiny, smooth or rough, but don’t throw me as I’m also super tough.
- People call me a weed and try to get rid of me. I’m yellow and mellow and spread like the devil. Can you guess what I am?
- I’m a green, lean, watering machine.
- Hopscotch and scooters are my jam, and I love when you write chalk messages on me! Way to go, bam!
- I’m everyone’s favorite summer treat; put me in a cone, and have a cold feast!
- Kid’s love rolling in me, and dogs love digging me up. But despite all the fun, beware, a bath is a must if you enjoy me too much.
- I’ll help cool you off on a hot summer day, so attach the hose, and watch me sputter away.
- I open and close all day long. I have a handle you can see and sometimes need a key.
- Some people think I’m slimy and slow, but really I’m a cute little mollusk who just wants to glow.
- I live in the park or in the backyard; you can sit on me while you pretend to fly and reach for the sky.
- I’m beautiful, bright, and flutter about; everyone loves me, without a doubt.
- I’m made of glass and loved to be clean, so grab the Windex and watch me glean.
Answers: 1. Bird 2. Bike 3. Flowers 4. Tree 5. Bee 6. Garden 7. Lawnmower 8. Deck 9. Ants 10. Leaf 11. Rock 12. Dandelion 13. Hose 14. Sidewalk 15. Icecream 16. Dirt 17. Sprinkler 18. Snail 19. Swing 21. Butterfly 22. Window
Now make up your own clues, it’s super fun!
- Be sure to choose clues that fit your outdoor space.
- Consider adding a fun treasure at the end.
- Neat idea: Save the icecream clue for the end and finish off your Treasure Hunt with a cool treat.
- You can also head to the dollar store and find yo-yos, balls, fidget toys, silly strings. You’d be surprised how even the most simple things suddenly become over the moon exciting when “found”.
5. Find the Items Scavenger Hunt
The easiest Scavenger Hunt for kids is to simply “find the items” (like in our Nature Scavenger Hunt printable).
Don’t limit yourself to only a Nature Scavenger Hunt. You can create a general backyard Scavenger hunt and send kids looking for bikes, garden hoses, doormats (anything).
You could make it a beach scavenger hunt, park scavenger hunt, neighborhood scavenger hunt.
The ideas are endless.
This is the perfect idea for a toddler scavenger hunt or a preschooler scavenger hunt.
6. Gratitude Scavenger Hunt
I also love anything Scavenger Hunt so add a twist with this fun Gratitude Scavenger Hunt printable.
This is perfect for home or the classroom.
Be sure to check out 15 other amazing gratitude activities and exercises for kids.
Final thoughts on Outdoor Scavenger Hunts for Kids
I hope you have a ball with these Scavenger Hunt ideas. I just know your kids will love them!
Be sure to leave a comment below on your favorite from above!
>>Download your free Nature Scavenger Hunt Printables Right Here
What You Should Do Next:
1. Subscribe to my Newsletter:
Signup for my newsletter for tips and resources to help you create a happier home or classroom. We give away a lot of printables, too. Plus, when you subscribe, I’ll also send you a copy of our strategy-packed guide, 12 Mini Mindfulness Activities for Kids, and you’ll gain access to our entire library of printables.
2. Fall in Love With Parenting All Over Again. No, SERIOUSLY!
If you want even MORE tips and strategies for raising resilient, mindful, happy kids, check The Positive Parenting Toolkit (for busy parents or teachers ready for change at 77% off the regular price). Plus, for a limited time, get FREE bonuses worth $25 — completely risk-free and with lifetime access. We also have a teachers’ or practitioners’ bundle option.