For the last couple of weeks, we've been exploring the world around us. We've been searching for rocks, leaves, and bugs in our backyard and neighborhood. It's been so much fun! Now that school is out for all of them, we'll be spending more time exploring in nature, so I'm posting the printable here in case you want to use it too!
Nature exploration can be a great way to build your kids' imaginations and get them engaged in free play. This nature scavenger hunt printable is designed to help you do just that!
This nature scavenger hunt printable is designed for kids 2 years and up. It's a simple way to turn any fun-filled walk through the woods into a game by asking your child to find items on the list, then mark them off as they're found.
The best part about this activity? It's completely device-free! You won't need an app or website, just some crayons and paper (and maybe some snack bars).
We recently discovered an abandoned parking lot surrounded by wilderness on one side and a forested hillside on the other. We noticed that there were lots of different types of plants here, including forbs (like this Purple Prairie Clover) and grasses like Big Bluestem. I was surprised by how much wildlife we saw in such a small area—we spotted several birds, including these Eastern Kingbirds who were snacking on seeds right next to us! We also found an intriguing piece of graffiti that someone had carved into the concrete wall: "LIFE IS STRANGE"
This one is all about the imagination (and a little bit of glue). We transformed it into a shipwrecked island surrounded by shark infested waters. Simply print out the image, cut out the pieces and then glue them together to create your own island scene.
We used foam board for this project as it’s lightweight, easy to cut and sturdy enough for kids to play with. You could also use cardboard or corrugated cardboard if you have that on hand!
Before we left our ship-wrecked island, I created a list of items to look for (and avoid) during our adventures.
Don't go into the woods alone.
Don't go into the woods without a parent or guardian. If you are going to venture far from home and camp overnight in the wilderness, it's important to have an adult with you who can help with first aid and other emergencies if they arise. The vast majority of injuries that occur in national parks are caused by people who are not prepared for their trip or were not able to find help after becoming injured on the trail. Your chances of survival are much greater with an adult there to assist you than if you're alone!
Exploring nature is a great way to learn, have fun and connect with the world around you. Here are some of the benefits of exploring nature in your own backyard:
Exploring the outdoors helps kids get exercise and fresh air—which means they’re more likely to sleep well at night!
It’s fun for children! Kids who play outside are less likely to be overweight or obese than kids who spend most of their time indoors. Kids also develop social skills when they play outside with friends, as well as problem-solving abilities through simple games like hide-and-seek or tag (if you live in an area where it’s safe enough).
Nature exploration helps children learn about their environment so they can make informed decisions about how they live within it — whether that means recycling or turning off lights when they leave a room!
In addition to these benefits, nature exploration teaches children how people live around them too: by looking at plants growing near homes or businesses, children can see how different areas grow different kinds of food — which leads us right back into learning about people again!
Get outside and explore your surroundings. You can use this printable to help you find things that are already in your backyard or neighborhood, or you can use it as a starting point for finding new things to look for.
If you're looking for ideas about what kind of things to look for, the list of items on this printable is a good place to start. Take a walk around your yard (or neighborhood), look for these items, and see how many of them you can find!
Have fun! Enjoy being outdoors with nature instead of being inside all day staring at screens.
I hope your family enjoys this nature scavenger hunt as much as mine does!