Creative Outdoor and Indoor Scavenger Hunt Ideas for Kids!
No need for a printer to print out scavenger lists, all you need is an egg carton with these creative (and fun) scavenger hunt ideas young kids will love.
There are some great scavenger hunt lists circulating on the web right now, ranging from very basic to elaborate, educational and tricky. Naturally, with the nicer spring weather (on the West Coast!), I was excited to take my kids on some outdoor hunts. My printer, however, went on the fritz and as I gave troubleshooting a valiant effort, printer problems are just not my forte. Thus, no printable lists for us in the foreseeable future, so we improvised and instead of checking off a list, we embarked on egg carton scavenger hunts to find twelve items around a theme which fit in an egg carton!
As I've mentioned in a previous post, the challenge of entertaining (or educating) three kids of different ages is to find activities they can all participate in. Having multiple children wanting to do different things turns out to be more of a multitasking nightmare than a dream come true. That said, my oldest daughter, age seven, has been making strides in her independence and providing such great help with her younger siblings that I do my best to give her special roles in the activities we do together.
Before I share our scavenger hunt ideas, I want to touch on something that has always resonated with me as a parent of toddlers. Have you all seen the movie About A Boy, starring Hugh Grant? My guess is yes, but in case not, there is a scene when Will, a self-focused single man, describes how he manages his daily life by breaking up his day into "units of time".
"I find the key is to think of a day as units of time, each unit consisting of no more than thirty minutes. Full hours can be a little bit intimidating and most activities take about half an hour". ~ Will (Hugh Grant)
If this doesn't accurately describe life with toddlers, I don't know what does. I, personally, can't even tell you how many times I've thought of this (with a chuckle) and how it relates to my life. So tying it all in, think of these fabulous, simple scavenger hunts as perfect UNITS OF TIME for young children. All three of my kids - two, four and seven - loved them and I loved witnessing their perceptive and attentive little minds. I spiced things up for my oldest, making her the 'scavenger leader', giving her special quests and challenges, or encouraging her to do further 'scientific' exploration with her found treasures.
But before your kids begin, they will probably need something to give them hunting super powers and eagle eyes... binoculars!
My kids made these from toilet paper rolls and basic craft supplies - whatever fun things we could find. I love how they inspire imaginative play.
Ok, are you ready?!! Get your egg cartons and let's go! We're going on a......
1) RAINBOW FLOWER HUNT!
My kids loved this hunt! You can use their findings to discuss the different types of flowers, colours, textures and symmetry, among other things. My oldest meticulously arranged the flowers into a rainbow 'ombre' wreath, a perfect spark of Spring. Of course, a picked flower is not wasted if it's pressed and dried for future art. If you do this hunt, grab a big book, line with sheets of paper, carefully lay the flowers in between the sheets, stack something heavy on the book, and press away!
2) THINGS FOUND AT THE SEASIDE HUNT!
For this hunt, they collected twelve different things from the seaside - everything from styrofoam, bottle caps, wine corks, to different kinds of seagrass, beach glass, sand, rocks, driftwood and crab shells. Living in Vancouver, we spend a lot of time at the beach and cleaning garbage from the beach. This inspired further conversations on what we can do as a family to help protect the ocean environment that we cherish so much.
3) LEAF HUNT!
After this hunt, we discussed edible leaves (herbs), different scents, textures and they did leaf rubbing art (put leaves under a piece of paper and rub with a crayon, pastel or chalk). I actually didn't know the plant name of each specific leaf (only a handful - time to brush up!). As with the flowers, leaves can be pressed and dried for future projects.
4) THINGS FOUND IN THE YARD HUNT!
My four year old daughter actually called this one, "brown found on the ground hunt!" - she loves rhyming. She turned her treasures into food at a nature cafe, serving up such delicious items!
5) THINGS THAT ARE ROUND HUNT!
This is a great indoor hunt and they could do any other shape or texture: round, square, soft etc. If you don't mind them going through some drawers, it's so much fun to see what they come up with as they explore shapes. This is where older siblings can help as the 'leaders' assisting with drawers and ensuring things are put away.
6) THINGS FOUND IN THE PANTRY HUNT!
This hunt is a bit messy but they did their best not to spill (with a little help from me, of course). My oldest daughter was working on paragraph writing for school the morning they did this one, so following, she wrote a paragraph comparing her findings on what items were similar and why. Then, my son had the extreme satisfaction of turning these goodies into his masterpiece (which took him around 1.5 "units of time"!).
7) COLOUR THEMES HUNT!
Of course, we can't forget PINK!
or BLACK AND WHITE!
For the coloured hunts, I timed my kids which made it that much more exciting (and no, I didn't do these all in the same day - space them out!). You can also time them to see how quickly they put everything away and use some of that Easter chocolate as an incentive. I loved to see what they could find and we used the variations of colours for artwork inspiration.
8) THINGS THAT MAKE ME HAPPY HUNT!
This one is my most favourite of all. Things that make my precious four year old daughter happy. A unicorn ring, a calico critter, purple beads, a tooth fairy box - for the first tooth that she will lose one day. I'll look back at this little time capsule photo and I'll remember how ecstatic and bright-eyed she was when she carefully showed me everything that makes her happy. I'll remember how happy that perfect moment made me.
All you need are some egg cartons and a spark of creativity. The sky is the limit to what your little ones could fit inside. Remember parents, these are well spent "units of time", the mess can wait to be cleaned! Here are a few other ideas:
We will continue our hunts and I'll post what else we manage to find! You can find me on instagram @theheartofsunday.
I wish you a fulfilling week ahead. Thanks for stopping by!