Enjoy the last days of summer with a scavenger hunt outdoors
12 February, 2024
Scavenger hunts are jammed full of learning opportunities and children just love them! Slip on your shoes, grab a hat and head outside to see what you can discover together.
They may be just a simple list of items to find, but scavenger hunts are seriously irresistible. Humans are naturally curious – children particularly – so, once they’ve ticked off the first few items on the list they’ll be invested in finding them all! Let your children take the lead. They’ll have so much fun, they won’t even notice they’re learning.
Scavenger hunts can be lists of words or pictures, or both. Either way, children need to use their visual literacy skills to understand the list. Younger children can practice their fine motor skills by crossing out or circling an item once they find it, while older children may like to write where they found the object or even draw a picture of it.
A scavenger hunt is a great way to entice children outside to get their bodies moving, building their co-ordination, fitness and strength. If your child really need to get their wriggles out, start your hunt at the bottom of a hill or a good distance from one of the items on your list. Make it an opportunity to practice gross motor skills by asking your child to choose a movement to take you to the next item, such as running, jumping, skipping, hopping or walking (carefully) backwards.
Some items may be easier to find, while others, such as an insect, may require a little more effort. Children need to look at, explore and consider their surroundings, which builds their focusing and concentration skills, while also expanding their understanding of the world around them.
Children may need to brainstorm the best places to search for items and use critical thinking to decide which theories to test, for example, will it be easier to find a butterfly near trees, flowers, or the playground? Why?
Flush with the fun of completing a scavenger hunt, children may be keen to create their own. Pull out paper and pencils and see what they create. Once it’s ready, you could do your child’s scavenger hunt together as a family, or get together with cousins or friends.
Free scavenger hunt printables:
We’ve scoured the Internet for you to find free, easy-to-print scavenger hunts that are perfect for you to try this summer:
- This Nature Scavenger Hunt is beautifully illustrated by Melbourne artist Kate Rijs for Eco Explorers.
- This Fun Colour Hunt set by Just family Fun blog encourages children to seek out bright colours. Tip: try the third one to conserve your printer ink.
- This Beach Scavenger Hunt from Emma Owl provides images for children to match at the beach.