If your kids are anything like mine, daring to utter the sentence, “Let’s take a walk!” immediately causes eye-rolls and groans. To get my five-year-old excited to go out together, as well as add a little something special to our time outside, I make lists of things to find on our walk to check off as we go. Toss in a chance to use my smartphone or camera, and my daughter runs out the door anytime I ask if she’s ready to go on a nature photo scavenger hunt.
What You’ll Need
Scavenger hunt list (below)
Pencil or marker
Piece of paper or nature journal (optional)
Create a list of creatures, plants, and nature to look for, or print one of the scavenger hunt lists below before getting started. Use whichever list you think best suits your child. Challenging them with a list with more advanced terms like “arachnid” can lead to some amazing opportunities to chat about the natural world.
- Nature Scavenger Hunt List – Toddler/Preschooler
- Nature Scavenger Hunt List – Preschooler/Kindergartener
- Nature Scavenger Hunt List – Elementary
Grab a pencil or pen to track your progress, and head outside! Kids can be sent out to explore the backyard, or you can go on the adventure around your neighborhood or park together. Once you find an item on the list, snap a photo.
If the idea of your children running down the sidewalk with your smartphone jostling in their hands makes you shudder, kids can also create a nature journal ahead of time (or just grab a sheet of paper) and draw what they see instead.
As you walk, take a closer look at the wonderful, natural world around you as you check off each item on the scavenger hunt. For tots, you might take the time to talk about what you see (“Look at the bark on this tree!”) or stop for a while to watch a bug. If your independent toddler wants to be in charge of the list, draw a little picture next to each item on the sheet to help them remember what to look for.
Older kids might enjoy discussing the items on the list, like the traits of a coniferous tree, the differences between types of rocks, and more.
Once they’ve finished with the list, you can look through the pictures together to talk about what they discovered, and ask what else they found while exploring their own backyard. On one of our hunts, we noticed a bald eagle living right in our neighborhood!
More Adventures in Learning
Download a Free Episode
Whether you’re at home or on the road this summer, PBS KIDS can be your partner in on-the-go learning. With our award-winning mobile apps (including the PBS KIDS video player) and PBS KIDS video available for download you can ensure your kids will have a trusty educational travel companion all summer long. Stop by our PBS KIDS Raising Readers home at iTunes and download a free episode this week! This week’s free episode is Wild Kratts: Flight of the Pollinators (Vol. 4).