As a mother, I understand that sometimes it gets tough to keep your kids occupied and entertained. I believe outdoor scavenger hunts are so much fun for them to complete, keeping their little minds busy.
Outdoor scavenger hunts 🕵🏼♀️ are a wonderful way for your kids to connect with nature and satisfy their curiosity while having a good time.
If you are looking for ideas to conduct unique scavenger hunts in the great outdoors, you have come to the right place!
Outdoor Scavenger Hunt Ideas For Kids
Scavenger hunts are so exciting for kids when done outdoors, and you can curate them to be fun and educational.
The best part of these scavenger hunts is that you can adapt them to any outdoor surroundings – garden, backyard, neighborhood, park, beach, camping ground, or even a supermarket.
I would say that these scavenger hunts allow your kids to spend more time outdoors and notice the world 🌎 around them while developing their critical thinking abilities, problem-solving skills and learning new things hands-on.
In this blog post, I have included a list of ideas for your kids to enjoy outdoor scavenger hunts.
Outdoor Nature Scavenger Hunt
I would say that my son loves completing scavenger hunts that involve looking for nature items.
What you can do-
- You can write or print a template with a list of nature 🪴🌳 items like flowers, leaves, ants, ladybugs, sticks, stones, feathers, pine cones, mushrooms, trees, clover leaves, etc.
- Now, for the most fun part, your kids can go around their garden or a nearby park to explore and discover the nature items specified on the list.
- You can also include the colors, shapes, sizes, types, and numbers of some of the items on the list at random if you want. This helps to make it more specific for kids to find. For example – 2 flowers, a curved leaf, a smooth rock, something beautiful, and so on.
You can make your kids write or draw what they discovered in a nature journal, as I do with my son.
Outdoor Road Trip Scavenger Hunt
Road trips with kids can be fun, but sometimes, you may find it hard to manage them throughout the car 🚗 journey when they are wide awake.
Ah, the combination of long hours in the car and bored, restless children waiting to arrive at the vacation destination is something I quote from experience. I would say this is a perfect traveling scavenger hunt to play with your kids in the car.
To make the road 🛣️ trip fun and to keep your kids entertained, you can make them spot different things along the way. You can specify a list of things for them to spot, like a dog in a car, a pizza shop, a colorful car, a restaurant, a stop sign, a school bus, a red car, and so on.
Outdoor Beach Scavenger Hunt
My son loves spending time at the beach 🏖️ to build sandcastles and watch the waves come and go. He enjoyed playing a beach-related scavenger hunt, and I’m sure your kids will love it too.
You can write or print a template with a list of things that can be found at a beach, like seashells, sandcastles, rocks, sunglasses, beach balls, umbrellas, sunscreens, beach chairs, and so on, for your kids to spot.
Outdoor Sensory Scavenger Hunt
An outdoor sensory-based scavenger hunt is a perfect opportunity for your kids to nurture their senses and make use of their eyes, nose, ears, and hands to find things.
What you can do-
You can write or print a template with a list divided into four sections with a few prompts for each –
1. Something I see 👀 – tall, bright, beautiful, tiny, blue-colored, round, etc.
2. Something I smell👃🏼 – sweet, earthy, floral, fruity, pleasant, stinky, etc.
3. Something I hear👂🏼 – bird and animal sounds, vehicle sounds, etc.
4. Something I touch ☝🏼 – soft, rough, smooth, squishy, wet, prickly, etc.
This outdoor scavenger hunt engages the four senses of your kids to spot objects based on what they see, smell, hear, and touch in the garden, nearby park, or neighborhood.
Outdoor Texture Scavenger Hunt
Discovering textures by touch ✋🏼 and feel is a tactile activity that can be done in a fun way with an outdoor scavenger hunt.
What you can do-
- You can write or print a template with a list of names of various textures – something smooth, hard, rough, silky, prickly, and so on.
- Let your kids explore their garden, a nearby park, or any natural surroundings to find items with the textures on the list by touching them with their fingers.
- You can include the textures of grass, stones, leaves, flowers, barks, pine cones, etc., for them to explore the types of textures that exist in the natural world.
Outdoor Alphabet Scavenger Hunt
I recommend you make your kids play an alphabet-based scavenger hunt, and I’m sure your kids will love it as much as my son did.
I would say that this alphabet-based scavenger hunt is a fun activity that also helps kids learn the letters 🔤 and associate them with their surroundings.
What you can do-
- You can write or print a list with the letters written in alphabetical order and a blank next to each letter for your kids to fill in as they discover objects.
- The goal of the scavenger hunt is to make your kids spot objects that begin with a particular letter and write them in the blanks next to each letter by exploring the garden, neighborhood, grocery store, or nearby park.
- For example, they can find A – Ants, B – Benches, C – Carrots, D – Dogs, and so on.
Another way to play this scavenger hunt is with a different format of list. Instead of leaving a blank next to each letter, you can also make your kids spot a particular object you have assigned for each letter until they complete the entire alphabet.
Outdoor Number Scavenger Hunt
I recommend you also try another version of the alphabet scavenger hunt but with a replacement of numbers 🔢 in place of the letters.
You can write or print a list with the numbers as many as you want written in ascending order and assign objects next to each number for your kids to discover. For example, 1 cloud, 2 flowers, 3 trees, 4 mailboxes, 5 dogs, and so on.
The goal of the scavenger hunt is to make your kids spot objects assigned to each number while exploring the garden, neighborhood, or nearby park.
Outdoor Color Scavenger Hunt
“Colors are the smiles of nature” — Leigh Hunt.
You can write or print a template with a list of swatches of different colors 🎨 by drawing squares or circles on paper and coloring them for visual reference.
Make your kids go on a color scavenger hunt around their garden, nearby park, or neighborhood to find objects that match the color swatches.
My son enjoyed finding objects of different colors with this fun scavenger hunt outdoors. And I guarantee your kids will have fun searching for the colors while also learning about their names.
Outdoor Shape Scavenger Hunt
I recommend you try another version of the color scavenger hunt where your kids can spot different shapes instead of colors.
What you can do-
- You can write or print a template with a list of various shapes 💠⭕️ by drawing and labeling them on paper for kids to find objects in a circle, square, rectangle, triangle, and so on.
- Make your kids go on an outdoor scavenger hunt to explore the garden, nearby park, or neighborhood to discover and spot objects matching each shape.
I would say that this is a fun way to get your kids to learn the names of shapes and identify them while keeping them entertained.
Outdoor Single Category Scavenger Hunt
You can also do scavenger hunts based on individual categories for kids to learn in-depth about that while they spot items only from that particular category and have a fun experience.
What you can do-
- I recommend you choose one outdoor category with its types – flowers, insects, leaves, birds, farm animals, cars, shops, dogs, or anything else commonly found in the garden, neighborhood, or nearby park.
- You can write or print templates for your kids to spot the different varieties of things from that one category alone at a time for educational and entertaining scavenger hunts.
Outdoor Drawing Scavenger Hunt
If your kids love drawing like my son does, I would say this version of the scavenger hunt is perfect for them to showcase their artistic abilities and creativity.
What you can do-
- You can write down a list of various things related to the outdoors, like trees, clouds, sky, birds, flowers, leaves, cars, dogs, and so on, to serve as prompts for your kids to discover and draw ✍🏼 on paper.
- Your kids can spend time outdoors to draw and paint the things mentioned in the list by observing their surroundings and unleashing their inner artist.
I sometimes would give my son a small notebook with one outdoor-related thing written on each page to serve as prompts to fill in the pages.
You could assign as many prompts as you want each time, and, over time, as the pages are filled, your kids will have a complete book with their art.
Outdoor Photo Scavenger Hunt
I recommend you give your kids your phone or a small digital camera 📷 to capture the things they discover outdoors in their garden or nearby park based on the list in the form of pictures from their point of view.
What you can do-
- You can write or print a template with a list of outdoor-related things, like clouds, flowers, leaves, cars, trees, mailboxes, landmarks, and so on, in the surroundings for your kids to click photos of to complete the scavenger hunt.
- You can also include specific prompts with various things in certain colors, textures, sizes, shapes, letters, numbers, and people performing daily actions for them to discover outdoors.
- For example – something blue, something soft, something small, something in a circle, something starting with the letter A, something in numbers of 3, something they find beautiful, someone walking their dog, etc.
My son loved taking photos of things around him for a scavenger hunt. And I would say that this hands-on activity helped my son improve his creativity and instilled a love for photographs.
Outdoor Neighborhood Scavenger Hunt
I recommend a scavenger hunt around the neighborhood 🏘️ you live in for your kids to explore the area that they live in and discover new things.
You can write or print a template with a list of things that are commonly found in the neighborhood, like mailboxes, trees, various colors of cars, flowers, birds, landmarks, shops, people walking their dogs or running, and so on.
Take your kids around the neighborhood for a walk and allow them to spot the things mentioned on the list as they walk with you to observe and discover the place they live in a little better.
Outdoor Grocery Scavenger Hunt
Going to the grocery store for your regular grocery shopping 🛒 chores can become a fun activity for your kids with a scavenger hunt.
What you can do-
- The next time your kids accompany you to the grocery store, present a grocery list of things they need to look for, collect the items, and place them in the cart.
- You can make them walk through the various aisles of the supermarket to find the specified list of things like fruits 🍓, vegetables 🥕, biscuits 🍪, juices🥤, chocolates 🍫, bread 🍞, sauces, and so on that you want to buy.
I found that my son had a lot of fun at the grocery store this way and also learned how to do grocery shopping on his own, and he does help me do so.
You can make the scavenger hunt more fun by creating a grocery list with clues of items your kids need to look for instead of directly writing the names. You can mention colors, descriptions, textures, packaging, and other visual clues for them to guess.
Outdoor Farm Scavenger Hunt
My son loves visiting the farm 🐄🌾 to feed and play with animals and observe the food crops that are being grown. I believe that farm visits make for a great learning opportunity to include a scavenger hunt for kids to complete.
You can write or print a template with a list of things found on the farm, like cows, pigs, haystacks, tractors, fences, types of crops, firewood, scarecrows, rakes, shoves, and so on, for your kids to spot for the scavenger hunt.
I believe that this way, kids can spend more time observing the surroundings and learning more about farm life👩🏽🌾.
Outdoor Field Trip Scavenger Hunt
Field trips are so much and are also a great way to incorporate scavenger hunts to keep kids engaged.
What you can do-
- While you take your kids on a field trip to the museum 🏛️, zoo 🐅, amusement park 🎢, etc., you can write or print a template with a list of things to explore and spot objects.
- For this activity, you will need to do some research and preparation beforehand to become familiar with the surroundings you are going to and then create a list.
- I recommend you make them spot objects in specific colors, shapes, and sizes, various items exhibited in the museum, types of animals in the zoo, or even rides in the amusement park.
Including scavenger hunts in public places also encourages kids to be more observant and notice their surroundings to spot the things on the list.
Outdoor Season-Based Scavenger Hunt
As the seasons change, there are also visible changes in the outdoors to indicate the arrival of the different seasons. The changing seasons 🌸🍁☔️☀️ provide a great opportunity for your kids to complete fun and exciting outdoor scavenger hunts based on the seasons.
You can write or print a template with a list of things commonly associated with each season by including the colors, the flowers, the leaves, the festivals celebrated, the weather, and so on, for your kids to spot.
Outdoor Mindfulness Scavenger Hunt
I found that scavenger hunts can also be curated in such a way for kids to practice mindfulness 🧘🏽♀️ while being outdoors and contribute to a better state of mental health.
You can write or print a template with a list of small mindful tasks they have to do, like find something beautiful, listen to the birds sing, find something that makes them happy, watch the butterflies flutter, listen to the crunch of leaves, listen to a comforting sound, express gratitude to nature, and so on.
Mindfulness scavenger hunts can help kids calm their minds, process their thoughts and feelings, reduce screen time, and your kids can experience a sense of stillness and mindfulness.
Outdoor Treasure Scavenger Hunt
You can conduct a scavenger hunt similar to the classic game of treasure hunt, where your kids can find one or many small objects hidden around your backyard.
To make the treasure-scavenger hunt more fun and exciting for your kids, you can design a hand-drawn map 🗺️ of your backyard with an X mark to indicate where the treasure is hidden. You can provide clues along the way to find along the way to solve to finally reach the marked treasure.
Outdoor Painted Stones Scavenger Hunt
If you have art-loving kids like I do, then I recommend you try this art-related outdoor scavenger hunt that your kids will love.
Make your kids collect a few smooth stones from around the garden and let them paint 🎨 on them in different colors, designs, and patterns, with their creativity and imagination to turn the plain stones into adorable painted stones.
Now, hide them around the garden space and give your kids clues to search for the painted stones for a fun and exciting activity.
After completing the outdoor scavenger hunt, we placed the painted stones in the flower pots and plant spaces to decorate our garden.
These scavenger hunts were so much fun for my son to do outdoors, and he had the best time playing them in different variations.
I hope you enjoyed reading the above list of ideas you can take inspiration from to conduct outdoor scavenger hunts to keep your kids engaged and make it fun for them.
Please comment below if you have any more ideas to share or any questions for me to answer – I would love to hear from you! 😁
I’m a former teacher with a background in child development and a passion for creating engaging and educational activities for children. I strongly understand child development and know how to create activities to help children learn and grow. Spare time, I enjoy spending time with my family, reading, and volunteering in my community.