A Free Printable Bug Scavenger Hunt Set for Kids of All Ages

We’re buggin’ out over bugs this year! This summer’s bug-stravaganza was kicked off with a cool set of DIY clothespin cicadas, and we’re rounding out the insect play with a free printable bug scavenger hunt.

This invitation to search for actual insects is a great way to get your littles outside to explore the backyard, neighborhood, playground, or park. It encourages looking high and low for mini-beasts of all kinds.

A free printable insect scavenger hunt list

It also provides an excellent opportunity to talk about being the best bug pals and protectors – search and observe, but don’t touch or move the insects and be careful and respectful of their habitats.

Perfect for preschoolers and kindergartners, our free printable *illustrated* bug scavenger hunt invites kids to look for:

  • A Butterfly
  • A Dragonfly
  • A Bee
  • A Beetle
  • A Caterpillar
  • A Spider
  • A Ladybug
  • A Cricket

Our free printable bug *list* works well for older kids, or an ongoing seasonal bug hunt and asks them to find these additional bugs (plus a few bug homes and some gastropods!) :

  • An Ant
  • A Moth
  • A Grasshopper
  • A Praying mantis
  • A Firefly
  • A Housefly
  • A Stinkbug
  • A Pill Bug
  • A Centipede
  • A Damselfly
  • An Aphid
  • A camouflaged bug
  • A spiderweb
  • A Cicada
  • A Slug
  • A Snail
  • An Earthworm
  • A cocoon
  • Fruit Flies
  • An Anthill

We’ve also included a blank insect scavenger hunt page you can fill in with bugs you might find in your own backyard.

Loving this bug play activity? Visit our collections of 50 amazing insect learning resources and play activities.

To go on your own bug scavenger hunt, you’ll need:

Note: We prefer to shop locally or use what we have at home, but this list contains either our own printable products, or Woodpeckers Crafts, Etsy, Blick Art Materials, and/or Amazon affiliate links for reference. As Amazon Associates, we make a small commission on qualifying purchases.*



DIY Free Printable Bug Scavenger Hunt Instructions:

Our free printable insect scavenger hunt on a blue background with crayons and a magnifying glass

Download and print our insect scavenger hunt PDF.

Download our free printable bug scavenger hunt PDF set and print your preferred bug scavenger hunt onto cardstock or copy paper (choose borderless printing if you’d like the printing to extend to the edges like ours).

Laminate or slip into a sheet protector (optional).

To keep your copy clean and ready for repeat bug hunts, you can use a self-laminating sheet or slip it into a sheet protector, punch a hole in a corner, and tie a dry-erase marker on with a colorful ribbon!

Color, decorate, and add embellishments (optional).

You can color and decorate using fun supplies or craft embellishments like watercolors, feathers, felt, beads, etc. This sheet is a great place to jot down fun bug facts or observations as you find them!

This bug hunt is an excellent interactive science activity to keep in the car, hanging by the back door, on the porch, near your summer garden, or near the playground. If you’re DIY’ing your own summer camp this year, this one’s a great ongoing outdoor activity to add to the list. 

And you don’t need to find ALL the bugs at once – multiple excursions outside through spring, summer, and fall are a wonderful opportunity to teach your kids about bug life cycles and the symbiosis between seasons, blooming flowers and plants, and (of course!) emerging bugs.

A fre printable bug scavenger hunt list

More ways to use our bug scavenger hunt free printable

  • Print out paper bugs for a backyard bug hunt. Are you excited about exploring entomology with your little ones but not sure you’ll see many bugs on our sheets? The second page of our printable has larger illustrations you can print out on cardstock, color, and hide around your backyard or garden. Tie them onto branches with ribbon or attach them to a popsicle stick or garden stake, and pop them around the yard for a scavenger hunt that guarantees bug-finding success. A fantastic day of outdoor bug play!
  • Adopt a bug! Invite your kids to pick a favorite bug from our insect scavenger hunt sheet and “adopt” it for the summer. Rather than catching a bug, invite them to observe one type of bug in its natural habitat throughout the season, recording any sightings and changes that may be occurring.
  • Learn more about your bug search insects. Identification apps can do amazing things these days, and the Picture Insects app is one of my favorites for determining the exact type of bug you’ve found. Beyond identification, books like Ultimate Bugopedia from National Geographic Kids, The Backyard Bug Book for Kids by Lauren Davidson, and Yuval Zommer’s Big Book of Bugs all provide great ways to learn facts about each type of bug through engaging photos and illustrations.
  • Make a bug memory game. Print two pages of our bug illustrations. Cut out each of the set of bugs and glue them to paper or cardboard squares for an easy bug matching game that’s great for little ones.
  • Turn your printable bug search into a bug journal. Fold and staple half sheets of paper together to make a small journal to record your bug findings (you can cut out and paste the bugs from our insect scavenger hunt printable). OR, for something more “official,” print out multiple copies of our bug tracker pages from our outdoor explorer printable pack. Cut apart, punch holes in the corner of each page, then slide onto a keyring for the perfect insect scavenger hunt accessory!
  • Put on a bug puppet play. You can print out the second page of our sheet with bug illustrations to make bug stick puppets. Cut out, color, and glue a popsicle stick to the back. Bonus points for making your own recycled cardboard puppet theater!
Our free printable bug scavenger hunt on a blue background with crayons and a magnifying glass

Six more easy DIY bug hunt activities for kids

Here are a few more DIY bug scavenger hunt ideas parents and teachers can easily organize to offer fun and interactive bug hunt experiences for kids of all ages. These activities encourage exploration, observation, and creativity while teaching children about the diverse and fascinating world of bugs inhabiting their backyards.

1. Go on a colorful insect hunt.

Provide a list of bugs with various colors (e.g., red ladybugs, green grasshoppers, yellow butterflies) and ask the kids to find one of each color. The first to complete the list wins.

2. Put together an insect life cycle search.

Choose a specific insect (e.g., butterflies) and have the kids search for different stages of its life cycle: egg, larva (caterpillar), pupa (chrysalis), and adult.

3. Hunt for bug habitats.

Create a list of different bug habitats (e.g., under rocks, on tree bark, in the grass). Have the kids explore the yard to find bugs in each specified habitat.

4. Play camouflaged bug hide and seek.

Ask the children to search for bugs that are well-camouflaged, such as stick insects or leaf mimics. The child who finds the most camouflaged bugs wins.

5. Hold a bug photography contest.

Equip each child with a camera or smartphone, and have them take pictures of as many different bugs as possible within a set time limit. Compare the photos and award prizes for categories like “most bugs found” or “best bug photo.”

5. Bug box challenge.

You can extend the chance to observe some actual bugs at work with our DIY bug observation box activity. Invite kids to make their own bug boxes and see how many bugs from their scavenger hunt list they attract throughout the course of a week.

Have kids write notes about the visiting bugs’ features or behaviors, or make their own illustrated versions of bugs that have visited their observation boxes (I love this insect illustration activity from the Getty Museum).

More outdoor scavenger hunts for kids

For a full day of outdoor hunting, you can double up on the search party fun with our more general free printable nature scavenger hunt or free printable beach scavenger hunt (great for kids who AREN’T that stoked for insect I-Spy). Or use a leaf activity kit free printable to scout out a variety of leaves and learn more about the trees in your area or put together a quick and easy backyard scavenger hunt.

Try this DIY backyard safari adventure for an exciting animal hunt that doesn’t require any printable prep.

*A note about 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 Blick Art Materials, Amazon, Etsy, or Woodpeckers Crafts. 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!


Amanda Eldridge
Amanda Eldridge

With a passion for cultivating imagination, Amanda aims to help kids and families discover their creative potential through art, play, adventure, activism, conservancy, and community. Amanda has a background in graphic design, environmental design, and art curation. When not playing with ideas and designs for barley & birch, she enjoys working in freelance design, art, and illustration.

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