Looking for an autumn family activity that gets you out of the house, doesn’t take too much planning and engages your brain? Then grab a pencil and head out to enjoy this nature scavenger hunt.
This riddle-based hunt not only engages kids in the wonders of the natural world but also stimulates their critical thinking and observation skills. You can bring the supplies to school pick-up and complete the nature scavenger hunt on the walk home, or head to a local park or out on a hike during your next free weekend to give it a try.
What you’ll need
- A copy of the scavenger hunt riddles (below)
- A pencil or marker for checking off items, or for drawing a picture of the items you find (a clipboard might be helpful, but not necessary)
- Clothes to keep you warm and dry
- A sense of adventure and the desire to explore
1. Each child will need a copy of the scavenger hunt list, something to write with and clipboard (if you’re using them). Or, read each clue out loud before sending them off to hunt.
2. Explain the rules: Kids need to solve the riddles to identify the items on the list. Remember to emphasize the importance of observing nature without harming it, and encourage kids to use their problem-solving skills to figure out the riddles.
3. Once they’ve found all the items (or as many as they can, you might need to skip some based on the weather and location), gather together and discuss their discoveries. Share interesting facts about some of the items they found and congratulate yourselves on a job well done.
Nature scavenger hunt clues
1. In forests deep or parks so wide, you’ll find me where the birds abide. With leaves so green and bark so rough, what am I?
2. Up high in the sky, I soar with grace, with feathers that make a rustling trace. My beak is sharp, my colors bright. What am I?
3. I’m a tiny rock, so smooth and round, in rivers, streams or on the ground. Skip me on water, I make a sound. What am I?
4. I’m small and furry, with a bushy tail. In the trees or on the trail, I’ll scamper and play, never still. What am I?
5. I’m a burst of color in the field, my petals dancing with the breeze. Don’t pick me; I’m meant to be wild and free. What am I?
6. I’m a tree, but I have a secret inside. A hollow space where creatures hide. What am I?
7. I’m hidden in the earth so deep, under the soil I silently sleep. With time and care, I’ll grow. What am I?
8. I’m a busy builder, spinning my thread. In corners and nooks, I create my web. Catching insects is what I do best. What am I?
9. I’m a flowing ribbon of water and stone. Rushing and splashing, I’m a place to be known. What am I?
10. I’m a symbol of change, from green to gold. Kids often jump in my pile, so I’m told. What am I?
11. I crawl on the ground, in gardens and dirt. I’m not an insect, but I wear a soft shirt. What am I?
12. I’m a prism of color in the sky, created by raindrops up high. Look for me after a storm, and make a wish. What am I?
Answers: 1. Tree; 2. Bird; 3. Pebble; 4. Squirrel; 5. Wildflower; 6. Tree with a hollow; 7. Seed; 8. Spider; 9. River; 10. Pile of leaves; 11. Earthworm; 12. Rainbow
More places to try your scavenger hunt