Where the Wild Things Are – How to Have a Scavenger Hunt
If you ask me how many days until school starts again, don’t be surprised when I can whip out the answer in half of a second. Yes, I’m counting down. I’m sure most parents are. Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids. But I am SO TIRED OF THE FIGHTING. I love having my 9 year old (the oldest) home because he is a great helper. However, I’m so ready to send him back to school because I positively cannot handle the constant bickering with his 4 year old brother. All of my grand plans for the summer have been sidetracked by one thing or another, but mostly because I get so frustrated trying to take these monsters out in public and they act up!
On the spur of the moment yesterday, I decided enough was enough. I had the kids make up quick day packs (water bottle, snack, bug spray, hat, etc) and we went out to one of the many state parks in our area to do a nature hike. Before we left, I had the boys help me make up a scavenger hunt list. My 9 year old thinks they’re great, and he just got his own digital camera for his birthday that he could use to catalog his finds (that way he can still keep track, but no “nature” actually comes back home into my car or my house). Getting the kids involved in making the list also gets them a little more excited about doing the hunt.
If you don’t want to make your own, I’ve seen several floating around on Pinterest, and I’m sure a quick web search would give you a plethora of options. Depending on the age of your kids, 10-15 items is a good target range.
You can also just use our list, below.
Nature Hike Scavenger Hunt
- 2 kinds of animals
- Something fuzzy
- 5 different kinds of leaves
- 3 different kinds of trees
- Something round
- Something blue (or child’s favorite color)
- Something green (or child’s favorite color)
- 3 different insects
- Something pointy/spiky
- Something smooth
- Something man-made
- Something you should not touch (take a picture)
- 2 different flowers
- Something you could eat (but please don’t!)
- 3 pieces of trash (pick up and put in the trash can) (We brought along a plastic grocery bag for this)
A scavenger hunt can be done just about anywhere, from a local playground to state and national parks, and even indoors (especially if you have museums nearby!). Do some research before you go. Does the park have special features? For instance, the state park we visited is home to four species of endangered insectivorous plants, so I made sure we took the trails that featured those. For those with little ones, is it stroller accessible? What is the terrain like (flat, hills, paved, dirt, etc)? What kind of footwear will you need? If you’re a geocaching family, don’t forget to add those to your list before you head out, as well!
It was great to get out in the woods and have one blissful hour or two of the kids not fighting with each other (except about who was going to push the stroller). Plus, it makes them appreciate the air conditioning when we get back home!
Do you have any fun ideas for scavenger hunts? How are you keeping your kids occupied this summer? And most importantly, how many days until school is back in session? (It’s exactly one month for us!)