When the sun is shining and the weather is nice, sometimes it only takes the simplest of activities to have the BEST afternoon! One of my classic outdoor go-to games is a good, old-fashioned nature scavenger hunt.
The itty-bitties love having a run around the yard, looking high and low for to spot items on the list, and I get to sit back and watch them discover the joys of nature while catching some rays. That’s a win-win!
If you’re looking for some easy outside entertainment for very smol children, look no further than our handy nature scavenger hunt free printable – and read on for some fun ideas to get extra use out of it…!
For our scavenger hunt printable activity you’ll need:
Note: We prefer to shop locally or use what we have at home, but this list contains a few Amazon affiliate links for reference. As Amazon Associates we make a small commission on qualifying purchases.*
- 1 Sheet of 8.5 x 11 cardstock or copy paper
- Our Free Printable Nature Scavenger Hunt PDF
- A Self-laminating pouch (I use this kind from Scotch) or sheet protector
- A hole punch
- A dry-erase marker
Download our free nature scavenger hunt printable PDF and print onto cardstock or copy paper. Think you might want to use this over and over again? You can use a self-laminating sheet or slip it into a sheet protector, then punch a hole in a corner and tie a dry-erase marker on with a colorful ribbon!
We keep a laminated copy in the car for fun searching on-the-go, and it’s been perfect for trips to the park, or park playdates. ’Tis the season for outdoor parties, where this makes a fantastic game too!
Activities to combine with our nature scavenger hunt:
- Fold up your scavenger hunt sheet and tuck it into your own DIY shoebox nature explorer’s kit. This cute and clever little trunk for outdoor adventurers is a fantastic way to incorporate science-based investigation and play.
- Discuss the habitats of the insects and animals on your list while you search. Have you found a bird? Look for the nest! Did you find the bug? Where does it live?
- Jot down the specific trees, leaves, cloud shapes, birds, etc. your little ones found on their scavenger hunt. Use these as inspiration to help your kids tell or write a story.
- Combine with some of our favorite nature-themed picture books for a quiet afternoon of reading outside.
- Use this activity as a jumpking-off-point to try shinrin-yoku as a family – calming outdoor meditation does a body good!
- Rainy day? Never fear – a pair of binoculars is all you need to tackle the hunt from inside! How many things can you find right from the comfort of your bedroom window?
- Pair this with our free printable leaf activity kit for more nature hunting. Just print, cut apart the page of cards, slip into a small bag, and throw in a backpack for a second leaf-themed scavenger hunt.
This easy scavenger hunt works well for younger kiddos who need visual clues and simple sights to search for. For adventurous older kids, definitely check out our art + play “alternative” scavenger hunt activity and printable outdoor explorer pack.
*A note about Amazon affiliate links: We strive to use simple, earth-friendly supplies that can be purchased locally whenever we can, but sometimes we find the best universally available options, a rare eco-friendly find, or a niche product only available on Amazon. When included in our supply list, these products are affiliate links, and if you click-through to make a purchase, we receive a small commission that helps us re-order these supplies!