Indoor and Outdoor Scavenger Hunts

magnifying glass and nature walk

Are you looking for a way to get some movement on a rainy day? Explore nature with all the senses? Reinforce learning concepts such as shapes, colors, numbers, or letters? Create a scavenger hunt! Indoor and outdoor scavenger hunts for children are a great way to encourage gross motor development, communication skills, and problem-solving.

Tips for creating  a scavenger hunt:

  • Use what you have! You can create an engaging scavenger hunt by using what is already in your house, class, or outdoor play space. Children can hunt for items of a certain color, or find a certain number of specific items (e.g., things that are purple, things you can cook with, stuffed animals, types of clothing, etc.). This is a great opportunity to practice fundamental sorting and classification skills.
  • Use scavenger hunts to guide learning on field trips or outings! If you have a limited amount of time at a place such as a museum, park, or zoo, use the scavenger hunt to help plan your day.
  • Try using a scavenger hunt to support children who need preparation before a new experience. You can use pictures of things you might find at the dentist, for example, to help reduce anxiety about your child’s check-up.
  • Allow children to work together to find items! This can improve communication skills by giving them an opportunity to listen to other’s’ ideas, as well as discuss their own ideas and discoveries.
  • Use rainy days to your advantage! It can be hard to find ways to incorporate gross motor skills on rainy days, but a scavenger hunt is a great way to do it! Try placing items or photos around your house/classroom that can be connected to what your child is learning (e.g. if they are learning about the zoo, you can use zoo animal toys or printed photos of the animals). Once your scavenger hunt is set up, encourage your child to move in a different way to each item on the list. They can walk, skip, hop, crawl, etc.!
  • Give the kids an opportunity to help create the scavenger hunt! This encourages the use of imagination as they come up with their own list of items to hide or find and try to think of clever places to put the objects for their friends and adults.
  • Have fun with it! Scavenger hunts can be done in so many ways and customized to fit your child’s specific needs and interests. Are they finding everything very quickly? Try making it a race to see how quickly them can find everything! Do they need more guidance? Hide or give clues along the way to encourage them along!

To get you started, here a few fun hunts to try:

Blog by Katrina Miner

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