Whether you’re stopping to stretch your legs, or your ultimate destination is a natural setting, parks and outdoor areas are a frequent part of many family vacations. One way to pass your time outside is by having your kids participate in a nature scavenger hunt; it’s a great way to help kids burn energy and explore the outdoors. It can be done in one of two ways:
- The first way to do a nature scavenger hunt is to have your kids collect the things they find. This would be great if you are outdoors on private property or maybe going on a walk through the city. You should never ask kids to collect items from public or national parks where the motto is, “Take only pictures, leave only footprints.” If you are going to have them collect their objects, give them the list and a bag. When they return, encourage them to look and examine their discoveries closely.
- If you would rather not have a bag of leaves and rocks in your possession, encourage your children to do a photographic scavenger hunt. Let them use a phone, camera, or device to take pictures of the items on the list. They can then bring you back the pictures and discuss their findings with you.
This is rarely a competition in our family. The kids work together to find as many things from the list as they can to collect. I have even been known to pay them a nominal fee (5-10¢) for each item they find to add to their souvenir budget. This inspires them to work together as they explore their surroundings.
Feel free to print out the nature scavenger hunt I have included below. I keep a few copies laminated with a dry erase markers in the seat pocket of our car so that the kids can run around at rest stops with a purpose.
How do you encourage your kids to burn energy in the outdoors? Let us know in the comments.