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Take Your Kids on an Outdoor Scavenger Hunt

Amber Brandt  |  May 23, 2023
One of the best ways to reduce stress and break up a monotonous day is to get outside. For adults and kids alike, a little bit of movement and fresh air can adjust your mood, refresh your mind, and energize your body.

One really fun way to get kids engaged and moving is with an outdoor scavenger hunt. These fun, little activities can be impromptu, “hey, can you find a purple flower?” or a little more structured. Here’s how:
  1. Make a list. Jot down a few things you may see at the park, your backyard, or on a walk around the block. There are tons available for download online, this one if you live in the city, or this one if you're in a more wooded, or parklike area. If your child is too little to read, choose one with pictures so they can hunt a bit more independently.
  2. Check off the items. Depending on how long you wish to spend on this activity, challenge your child to find all of the items on their list crossing them off as they go, or pick a number that seems reasonable, and communicate that when they’ve found that many, you’ll head back home.
  3. Go with the flow. If your child breezes through the list, great. If not, feel free to prompt them with clues like “Ooh, I spotted a little mushroom on that log to your left,” or “Do you still have a flag left on your list? Because I just saw one right up high…”
  4. Celebrate. For most kids, checking the search items off their list will be satisfying enough, but if they need some incentive or you wish to celebrate completing the checklist, you can always promise a scoop of ice cream, or a little treat from the dollar store after you’re done.
  5. Add on the fun. Your child may want to document everything they find beyond the checklist. Feel free to snap pictures together with your phone as you go, or have them draw pictures of their favorite items once they return home.
  6. Do no harm. The biggest thing to remember while you’re exploring together is to leave your community or woods better than you found it. Be sure not to destroy or disturb anything along the way, and even better, bring along a bag to collect litter and trash as you go.
Looking for more ideas? Here are:

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