Nature Scavenger Hunt

Ali and I wanted to hike during our Michigan vacation. And who can blame us? Have you seen those gorgeous forests and irresistible scenic views? But we had a problem: the girls. We knew ahead of time that our hike was guaranteed to be interrupted by three things: whining, more whining, and someone getting hurt after the whining didn’t have the intended effect. But we were determined and so we set about problem-solving. Threats never work, bribery works only unreliably, and indifference leads to exponential bad behavior. But, distraction might do the trick.

Thus, the nature scavenger hunt was born. When Story was younger, she loved nature scavenger hunts. Because she couldn’t yet read, I would cut pictures of items from magazines and glue them to a sheet of paper. Voila! An entertaining, educational, and easy activity was born. Plus, she got to use a marker (washable, of course!) to mark off those items she found. It was a win-win.

For our trip, I created another. Because the girls’ ages span four to eight, I included both words and pictures. I also gave them the task of describing their finds. Of course I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to increase their vocabularies, so instead of “pine tree,” I used “evergreen.” And instead of boring old “tree,” I used “deciduous.” To accommodate their creativity and individuality, I added a bonus: Something beautiful.

Feel free to use our scavenger hunt during your own ventures outdoors! Or, if you make your own, let us know what you included in the comments below. Happy hiking!