Scavenger hunts can be enjoyed by children of all ages. They are easy to create and can be developed for both indoors and outdoors.
Indoor Scavenger Hunt
Materials: digital camera, color printer, index cards, treat of your choosing.
For children who are not yet reading, take pictures of various places throughout your house. For my granddaughter’s hunt, I took pictures of: the inside of my closet (May’s favorite hiding place), a striped tissue box, and several other readily recognizable places. I then printed them, and put them on index cards. The first card had a picture of the prize (in this case lollipops and a treat for Eloise) and where to find the next clue. Each station had a slightly obvious picture card leading her and her two friends to the next clue until the end where they found the lollipops.
For older children, the clues may be written out in either prose or poetry. When I did this in my classroom, each card had a clue leading to the next station as well as describing the nature of the prize. This is a great way for school-aged children to develop critical thinking skills.
Outdoor Scavenger Hunt
Materials: Index cards, clear Contact paper or glue, a guide to identifying trees, leaves and flowers (or Internet access for such identification)
An outdoor scavenger hunt is great fun for those cool summer days when the weather is questionable and you are looking for an activity that will be enjoyable and. educational
The values we hold dear stem from the generations before us. They are the core of our being and ones that we hope to pass down to future generations. When I was a young girl, my father, a lover of nature, often took me on early morning walks into the woods surrounding our country house. There, he would show me various flora and fauna and pass on his appreciation of what life had to offer. This love of nature has been passed onto my children and they in turn instill it in their children and nieces.
As a grandmother, I now have the opportunity to share this appreciation with my granddaughters through a nature scavenger hunt. Its implementation is easy, fun to do, and is an effective way to develop knowledge of local flora.
A day or two before your grandchildren come to visit, walk the chosen area for your nature hunt and select samples of what you would like them to find. If you have doubts about any selected item, go on the Internet to identify the item. I have found that trees, weeds and seeds are easily identifiable. Ferns, oak trees, Day Lilies, dandelions, ragweed, pine trees, Black-eyed Susan, and weeping willow trees, are generally abundant along roadsides. Maple seeds bring the added joy of separating the seed and making “Pinocchio noses.” When my daughters were children, I used one of the many parks surrounding our apartment in New York City.
Once you have selected the items, place them on index cards and cover them with clear Contact paper. Repeat your nature walk with your grandchild (children) and enjoy the excitement as they discover the items that match their cards.