Fun Friday: Spring Nature Scavenger Hunt

Fun Friday activities are quick-and-simple ways to explore nature in your own backyard

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The idea
Take a spring nature walk around the neighborhood.

Our winter nature scavenger hunt a couple months ago was such a hit that I figured another was in order, especially since the seasons have changed. I chose this checklist for our hunt because it requires kids to use multiple senses in their search efforts. They are asked to look for things to see, hear, feel and smell.

Spring nature scavenger hunt

Our notes from the field
We celebrated The Little Explorer’s second birthday this week with our nature walk adventure. We keep things pretty low-key in our family, so this seemed like the perfect way for us to enjoy some time together outside on a lovely spring evening.

Now having a few scavenger hunts under his belt, The Big Explorer was eager to get started. His first task: Smell the grass. When he proclaimed it smelled wonderful, I knew things were off to a great start.

It wasn’t long before we’d found something smooth,

something smooth

and then something rough. In the space between the sidewalk and the street, we saw plenty of weeds.


The Big Explorer chose this amazing flower to touch – right after seeing a bee fly out!

something to touch

Meanwhile, the birthday boy was all about playing his own game of “monkey-see, monkey-do.” When brother ran his hand through a pile of leaves, so did he.

playing with leaves

When The Big Explorer chased a squirrel up a tree, The Little Explorer followed close behind. We stayed staring at this little guy high up in a palm tree for quite a while before heading for home.

squirrel up a tree

I was amazed by all the signs of spring in our neighborhood – new growth on trees that were bare during our winter nature scavenger hunt just two months ago.

spring growth

Plenty of brilliantly colored blooms that took our breath away.

spring color

And there were sounds to listen for, too. Like a bird chirping, dogs barking and the wind rustling the leaves.

In spite of the fact that we haven’t had rain in weeks, we also found mud and a worm. The Big Explorer was so pleased with his find!


Our last discovery of the walk was a nest in the same tree that was bare just a couple months back. Nature’s reminder that new life begins again.

I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate this special day.

Take-home tips
As with most of our nature play ideas, we like to keep it as simple as possible. To do that:

  • Adapt your checklist as needed. I considered the list we started with a starting point. As we heard and saw things on our walk, I told The Big Explorer to add the items to our list. Now we’ve got a more personalized version for future explorations.
  • Compare notes from one walk to another, or from one season to the next. We talked about how things looked, sounded and felt different now than during the winter. And you can bet we’ll be taking another nature hunt come summer.
The Little Explorer turns 2

More ideas for outdoor fun

It has been another week of wonderful ideas for nature play around the blogosphere. Here are some of my favorites:

We Play

This post is just one of many dedicated to play at the Childhood 101 “We Play” link up! Head on over for more ideas.

There’s a beautiful world waiting outside for your kids to explore. What are you waiting for?

It's always nice to share.
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  1. says

    Hi Kimberly! I am so bummed to see that the Spring Nature Scavenger Hunt is no longer free! It’s actually not something I created – at the time we first tried this activity, I simply printed off of Scribd myself. As a result, I don’t have a copy to send. My recommendation would be to open the Scribd document and copy down the items onto a piece of paper. You could then create & save your own

  2. Kimberly says

    Debi, I just love your seasonal scavenger hunts! I would love to try them during homeschool with my little ones. Is there any way you could email them to me? I am not a member of Scribd and it's not allowing me to download without buying a membership. 🙁 I would sure appreciate it! 🙂

  3. says

    We LOVE your scavenger hunts. Can't wait to use this one again this year, now that spring has finally arrived to Northern Virginia…

  4. Chrissy @ muse of the morning says

    Hi Debi! This is such an awesome post. I love your checklist, it’s very inspirational and really gets the kids thinking. There were some things on there that I would never even have thought of putting- like “something moist or wet” or the different shades of green. We recently used this very list on our camping trip and it was a hit.

  5. says

    Hi Sarah – lovely to meet you! Thanks for your sweet comment. I'm heading over now to check out your blog.

  6. says

    Hi from the UK Debi. Just found your post and wanted to say thanks for sharing all your great ideas. I have a camping site with a slight outdoor twist. Essentially its about family camping but with a vintage, frugal, eco, British twist. Big smiles to you and thanks for the great read. Sarah.

  7. says

    Yay! Couldn't agree more about scavenger hunts that incorporate all the senses. It adds another layer of fun to the search.

  8. says

    We just did this scavenger hunt today as a Spring Equinox activity. The kids loved it! I especially like that they had to do more than just look for things. Thanks for this idea!

  9. says

    Leslie, I&#39;m amazed how much the kids love hunting for things, especially outdoors. Easy way to get them engaged.<br /><br />Dawn, thanks for your kind words. I&#39;m learning more &amp; more every day about finding nature in the city. I&#39;m determined! And thanks for letting me know that beautiful flower&#39;s name! 🙂

  10. says

    You are doing such a great job of teaching your little men about nature … So many people think you need the wide open spaces of the country but you are working with what you have in an awesome way…<br /><br />That passion flower is so pretty. My mom used to have those in our backyard… love them! <br /><br />Happy Birthday to your little guy!

  11. says

    This is awesome! I love the ideas… the color walk is a great one. The eco tot enjoys these type of walks. Great learning experiences all around. Yay, for good ole&#39; play outdoors time! 🙂

  12. says

    Mel, most definitely will add the &quot;something that remind you of yourself&quot; item to all future hunts!<br /><br />Christie, you&#39;re welcome in our sand box anytime!<br /><br />Miss Carly, nice to meet you!

  13. says

    There are so many things I love about this experience. That it was simple, quality time together for a special day, the sensory treasure hunt list, that you added things to your list along the way, the changes you noted between seasons. So much practical learning goodness wrapped up into fun family time. Wish I could come and play too!

  14. says

    We did a nature scavenger hunt on Friday at our playgroup. None of the kids read, so we&#39;d give them two or three things at a time to look for. Like you, we added things/critters as we saw them. Everyone had a great time. <br /><br />One of my favorite things to put on a scavenger hunt is &quot;something that reminds you of yourself&quot;. I love to see what the kids come up and why. <br /><br

  15. says

    Jen, pictures are a great way to adapt scavenger hunts for younger kids. Thanks for sharing the idea!<br /><br />Crystal, sounds like you&#39;re already doing a great job helping Shane explore his world. Hope you&#39;ll share one of your adventures on your blog soon! 🙂

  16. says

    What a wonderful idea! When I take my toddler on walks, I encourage him to notice things around him (&quot;Can you find a bird? What color is that flower?&quot; &quot;Shhh…listen, what do your hear?&quot;) It&#39;ll be fun someday to do a true scavenger hunt like you suggested here. I love Jen&#39;s idea in the comment above, to create a scavenger hunt with pictures — I think I could do

  17. says

    We LOVE scavenger hunts. I have started making scavenger hunts for practically everything we do. For my son, I write the words so he has to read them and I draw pictures for my daughter. Right now, I am making one for the farmer&#39;s market that we frequent. Scavenger hunts are such a great way to engage the kids.