As it is well documented around here, we love scavenger hunts. They are one of our favorite family activities and party games.
Over the years, we’ve done lots of different kinds of scavenger hunts. One of the best ones, though, is the nature scavenger hunt. I love this type of scavenger hunt because there isn’t any set up for me. Like the beach scavenger hunt I designed last summer, finding the items is really based on the trail we hike.
And you know that less work equals more fun.
So before we set off on more hiking adventures with the kids this summer, I designed this Free Printable Nature Scavenger Hunt. Inspired by watercolor illustrations, I created a picture version of a nature scavenger hunt.
What is a Scavenger Hunt?
A scavenger hunt is a classic party game that kids (and adults) love. In the game, organizers create a list of objects that the players have to find. As the players locate the objects, they check them off. The first person (or team) to find all of the objects wins.
Do Players Actually Collect the Objects?
Actually collecting the items seems to vary for each scavenger hunt that we do depending on the hunt. For the beach scavenger hunt I created last summer, the kids just checked off the things as we spotted them.
I would recommend the same for this nature scavenger hunt. The items were chosen more for spotting than gathering. A bird would be hard to take with you.
If you do decide to collect some of the items, you can use a brown paper bag or small paper gift bag. Print the nature scavenger hunt on regular white copy paper (instead of white cardstock) and glue it to the outside of the bag. Also, be sure to return all of the items after you’re done playing. Nature will appreciate it.
You can also turn this nature scavenger hunt into a photo scavenger hunt. If the kids have their own devices, then have each team take photos of the items as they find them. This can be a great way to practice their nature photography too.
Why Use this Nature Scavenger Hunt?
In the past, I’ve usually used scavenger hunts made up of only words. If the kids were more non-readers, I would just read the items to them. This didn’t make the scavenger hunt as much fun because I was too involved in the adventure.
For this nature scavenger hunt, I wanted everyone to be able to use it independently. No matter what your reading ability. So, I designed it with pictures. Adorable watercolor illustrations.
When Can I Use a Nature Scavenger Hunt?
I love using nature scavenger hunts on our family hikes and camping adventures. Hiking can be tiring and not every child loves to be out on the trail. But when you give them a nature scavenger hunt, they become busy searching. Suddenly hiking in the woods is no big deal.
You can also make a nature scavenger hunt the main activity at your next celebration. It’s the perfect activity to do at a camping birthday or nature party. I’ve even used it at the fairy tea party that I hosted. Although that scavenger hunt also had some magical elements mixed in.
Scavenger hunts also make great activities for a summer barbeque, end of the school year party or pool party activity. When you want to take a break from swimming.
How Do I Set Up a Nature Scavenger Hunt?
The best part about a nature scavenger hunt is that there isn’t a lot of set up involved. Pick a trail or a space outdoors. Give each player or team a scavenger hunt card. Set a specific amount of time for players to hunt. The winner is the person who found the most items in that time.
You can also see which player or team can find all of the items first.
For the hunt cards, you will need a harder surface to lean on when checking things off. I like to use these mini clipboards. Clip the scavenger hunt card on the top. There’s even a pen attached to make for easy checking off. (affiliate)
Another idea to add a rustic feel to your nature hunt is to give each player a twig pencil. The natural feel will make your scavenger hunt even more fun. (affiliate)
Should I Award Prizes?
Although completing a scavenger hunt can be fun in itself, having prizes at the end is great motivation. One option is to choose a bigger prize for the winner and then give something small to everyone else. Here are some nature themed prize ideas participants will love. (affiliates)
Seed Confetti (place a few pieces in a small bag to plant when they get home)
What If I Want to Customize this Nature Scavenger Hunt?
Every nature area is different. So, being able to customize your nature scavenger hunt can be helpful.
This Free Printable Nature Scavenger Hunt is designed as is. If there are items you don’t think the players will be able to find, then cross them out before your start.
If you prefer an editable nature scavenger hunt, be sure to check out the ones in our shop. We have these editable boy and girl themed nature scavenger hunt designs to match our camping birthday theme. Or this more generic editable nature scavenger hunt that can be used for any kind of party.
How Do I Print this Nature Scavenger Hunt?
First, download your Free Printable Nature Scavenger Hunt. There are two 5″ x 7″ cards laid out on a standard sized page.
To print, I recommend using medium to heavy white cardstock. This is my favorite white cardstock since it can be used in lots of different types of printers (affiliate).
Once you’ve printed the design, cut out using a paper trimmer or scissors. (affiliate) And then you’re ready to play!
Looking for other scavenger hunt fun?
We love scavenger hunts around here. Check out some of my favorites that I’ve designed over the years.
Beach Scavenger Hunt
Take the search with you on your next trip to the beach with this Free Printable Beach Scavenger Hunt. See if you can find all of these beach themed items during your visit.
This color scavenger hunt can be used any time. We set up the hunt using egg cartons and keep them at the ready in the garage. When we head out to the trail or even a walk around the neighborhood, I bring them with me to keep the kids entertained. It also makes a great indoor scavenger hunt.
Pumpkin Patch Scavenger Hunt
Heading to the pumpkin patch this fall? Grab this Free Printable Pumpkin Patch Scavenger Hunt. See if your kids can find all of the items in the patch. Great to do during the hay ride!
Christmas Lights Hunt
One of our favorite activities during the holidays is looking at Christmas lights. Make your trip even more fun with this Free Printable Christmas Lights Scavenger Hunt. Lots of different types of lights to find. Just don’t forget to add some hot cocoa.
Thanksgiving Scavenger Hunt
Not sure what to do on Thanksgiving morning while you make the feast? Check out this Free Printable Thanksgiving Scavenger Hunt. A little different type of hunt. This one has clues to follow that lead you to your place setting at the big feast.
Still need to download your Free Printable Nature Scavenger Hunt? Be sure to download your Free Printable Nature Scavenger Hunt here.
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