How To Turn A Walk In Nature Into A Scavenger Hunt
Bring this handy checklist for instant adventure in the great outdoors.
Megan Johnson · 29 days ago
The days of long, boring walks in the woods are over! There is so much to see while out for a walk, so why not make it an exciting scavenger hunt? We’ve made a handy checklist you can print out to bring along. Whether you spy leaves, plants, or even animals, you never know what you might find on your nature outing. Here are some of the things you should be on the lookout for.
Before leaving the house, have everyone take a guess what animal you will see first. Whoever is right can get the adoration of the rest of the family for the day! The easiest to spot will be birds and squirrels, since they seem to be everywhere. If you’re near water, look for a turtle, frog, or duck. Keep your eyes peeled for everyone’s favorite woodland furball, a bunny! There may be bigger animals to catch sight of, too, like a deer or a fox.
2. Animal Tracks
Studying tracks can give a fascinating look into how animals move and where they go. It’s also a way to teach about the different kinds of feet animals have! If it is muddy or snowy, it will make finding tracks much easier. Common tracks you might find are squirrel, racoon, and skunk — all have five toes with claws. Deer have hooves, so they will look different from the smaller mammals. Birds generally have three toes, and will be small, with a light imprint. If you’re near a pond or lake, you may see some webbed feet, belonging to a beaver or duck.
3. Animal Homes
Spotting animal houses may seem tough, but it’s possible if you look in the right spots. The easiest to find is likely to be birds’ nests, so make sure you’re looking up! The next most obvious to spy are holes in the ground where animals like bunnies, chipmunks, or snakes like to go.
4. Animal Droppings
While this may get a big “ewwww!” from some people, the truth is that everyone, and everything poops. Animal droppings are everywhere, and you likely will encounter some droppings in the wild. When you do, try to guess what animal it came from. You may be surprised how many different shapes, sizes, and colors there are out there!
One thing is for certain: Nature is full of bugs. While some people like to ignore them, when you’re really looking for them, you’ll see them everywhere! From ants and beetles to caterpillars, grasshoppers, and spiders, the creepy crawlies are out and about! Bring along a jar with holes cut in the top, so if there is any bug you particularly like, you can try to capture it and bring it home!
Sure, leaves might be all over the ground, but if you take the time to actually look at them, you’ll be amazed at what you may actually find. Try to find as many different leaves as you can; look for different shapes, sizes, and colors. When you get home, you can try to identify what kind they are by using leaf-ID. If you’re a competitive family, see who can find the biggest variety of leaves, or who can find the largest leaf.
While some may be more excited by rocks than others, one thing is for certain, you can’t miss them when you’re outside! When you come upon a rock, have everyone take a turn holding it, feeling its texture and weight, looking at the various colors in it. See how many different shapes, sizes, and colors of rocks you can find.
8. Flowers & Plants
There are over 400,000 plant species in the world, so chances are you’ll come across several different varieties. If you aren’t very knowledgeable when it comes to flora, don’t worry! It’s not all about identification (although if you are interested, there are plenty of plant/flower identification books you can buy). Even without knowing the names of plants, simply look for different types of plants and flowers.
This is a great way to open kids' eyes to all of the colors we can find in nature. There are, of course, the more obvious greens and browns, but if you search hard enough, you can find every color in the rainbow! Start with the easy ones, then see who can find red, purple, or blue.
Even if you don’t live near a pond or a lake, you are likely to find water while taking a walk in nature. If it recently rained, look for puddles and pools that have formed. If you come upon a small brook or pond, notice how the land near the water changes. If you are sure you don’t live near any water, or the trail you head to isn’t near any, make it a challenge to find some!
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