By Marissa Gallant
Youth Education Manager

Exploring outdoors and creating time to play freely in nature are vital for children’s cognitive and physical development. Scavenger hunts are a great way to challenge children of any age and can help us notice the details in the world outside. The suggestions that follow help children evaluate, observe, build vocabulary that relates to photography, colors, shapes, and language. Try one of the scavenger hunts below or get some inspiration to create your own.  

Rainbow Hunt
Practice color recognition and head outside to search for all the colors of the rainbow. For an added challenge, see how many different shades of a specific color you can find or grab paint chips from your local hardware store or that home improvement project you never finished and see how many matches you can find in nature.  

Letters in Nature
Practice your letters and play the alphabet game by finding an item in nature that begins with each letter of the alphabet. Challenge older children to create a journal entry by recording the alphabet and the name of the corresponding natural item they identify. 

Photography Hunt
Bring your digital camera or use your smartphone. Guide your child on how to use the camera and its features and set off on your adventure. Encourage your child to take photos of specific subjects or categories, such as things that are green, things that move, objects up high, plants, insects, and more! Extend the fun by creating a digital album or scrapbook of your favorite images.  

Shapes in Nature
Have your child draw and cut out some of their favorite shapes. Take your guides with you and head outside to see how many shapes you can find. Challenge older children to search for patterns and textures as well and document their finds.