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This easy leaf scavenger hunt requires almost no prep and is the perfect on-the-go activity for kids’ outdoor play and nature exploration – in any season!
Crisp autumn days provide the perfect opportunity to get out and go searching for a bit of colorful fun outside, but let’s face it – September and October schedules are some of the most jam-packed. Chill time outdoors can sometimes take a backseat, to all the back-to-school, sports, and scheduled extracurriculars, and often, the last thing I feel like adding to the mix is the planning of an activity that takes a lot of preparation.
But rejoice, fall fans – our incredibly easy (1-minute prep!) DIY leaf scavenger hunt is here to save the day!
If you’re looking for some dead-simple outdoor fall entertainment this is IT – and be sure to keep reading for a few ideas that will help you get a little extra mileage out of this one quick DIY…
Combine this with our free printable bug scavenger hunt or free printable color hunt (coming soon!) for a full afternoon of outdoor exploration!
For our easy leaf scavenger hunt activity you’ll need:
Note: We prefer to shop locally or use what we have at home, but this list contains Woodpeckers Crafts, Etsy, Blick Art Materials, and/or 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 leaf activity kit
- A paper lunch bag or gift bag
- Coloring supplies (crayons, markers, watercolors, etc.)
How to Make A Quick and Easy Leaf Scavenger Hunt – DIY Instructions
- Download and print our leaf activity kit
Download our free printable leaf activity kit and print it onto cardstock or copy paper.
- Cut apart the leaf ID cards and tape them to a paper bag
Once printed, cut apart a few of the mini leaf ID pages and tape or glue them to a brown paper lunch or gift bag (a bag with handles works especially well!).
6 creative ways to use our leaf scavenger hunt
1. Use our leaf search throughout the seasons
Try peeping leaves in the same spots during different seasons. How are things different? Can you even see any leaves? This is a great way to discuss the types of leaves and their trees, as well as the way leaves change (or disappear!) throughout the seasons.
2. Go on a leaf hunt and a fairy-finding mission
Before heading out on a leaf hunt, hide a few of our DIY woodland fairy peg dolls along the way to add a bit of intrigue and interest or some creative storytelling opportunities. You can look for leaves that match the colors of each fairy you find!
3. Try an indoor leaf scavenger hunt
Especially throughout fall, rainy cool days abound. Should you find it a little too wet or chilly for extended outdoor play, this can easily turn into an indoor game! If you don’t have actual leaves handy, just print our page or two of our leaf templates, cut them out, and hide them around the house. Or hide silk leaves, felt leaf cutouts, or wooden leaves inside. OR, grab a pair of binoculars and see how many leaves you can find from a window.
4. Search for specific leaf colors
Create a variation on this by coloring the leaves to make the search more specific – challenge your minis to find the rare red Oak leaf, an orange maple, etc.
5. Take a good book with you
Pair a leaf search with some of our favorite leaf-themed picture books for a peaceful afternoon of nature-centric learning.
6. Make it an afternoon of nature investigation
Fold up your leaf scavenger hunt sheet and tuck it into your own DIY nature explorer’s kit. This cute and clever little trunk for outdoor adventurers is a fantastic way to incorporate science-based investigation and play.
This easy leaf hunt works well for younger kiddos who need visual clues and simple sights to search for (and if they loved this, try one of our loose parts leaf play activities or fall fine motor skill trays.
For fall leaf-hunting with a stellar soundtrack, visit our Cozy up to Autumn playlist on Spotify.
*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!