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Plan a Nature Scavenger Hunt - Here's How

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Plan a Nature Scavenger Hunt - Here's How

Keep tweens busy by having a nature scavenger hunt.

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Tweens are great at scavenger hunts, and a well planned hunt can keep them busy at a family reunion, birthday party, scout meeting or any other tween event. The best scavenger hunts will be fun and somewhat educational. Consider conducting a Nature Scavenger Hunt for an Earth Day event, for a spring or summer activity, or just because. Be sure your hunt offers things for the kids to find, things for them to observe, and things for them to smell or document, either in a drawing or by photograph. Below are ideas for a beach hunt, and a scavenger hunt in the woods.

Conduct a Beach Scavenger Hunt

If you're planning a day trip or a vacation at the beach, or if you live near the shore, take advantage of all the wonderful things your tween can find on his scavenger hunt. Provide the tweens with a small plastic shovel, a small net, binoculars, sunscreen, a pail to put their finds in and a small journal or notebook. Look for:

To Find

  • Five different types of shells (oyster, mussel, crab, etc.)
  • Three different types of shore birds (ospreys, sandpipers, seagulls, etc.)
  • Seagrass or sea oats
  • Dog tracks (or other animal tracks) in the sand
  • A few items of trash (might as well clean the beach while you're hunting)
  • A ghost crab (also known as a sand crab)
  • Different colored beach sand
  • Sea glass
  • Driftwood
  • Listen For

  • The sound of the waves
  • The caw of seagulls or other birds
  • A dog barking on the beach
  • Watch

  • Fish in the water
  • A predator catching its prey
  • People swimming or having fun near the water The sun move across the sky
  • Animals or birds eating
  • The waves moving something around (a boat, a seashell, etc.)
  • Smell

  • The fresh air
  • The salt water
  • A seashell
  • A native plant
  • Wet and dry sand
  • Things to Make

  • A rubbing of three different kinds of shells
  • Draw two different kinds of animals
  • Write a poem about the beauty of the ocean
  • Ideas for a Scavenger Hunt in the Woods

    If you live near a park or the woods, a scavenger hunt should be easy to pull off. Give each tween a plastic bag to put their items in as well as binoculars, a small journal and pencil, bugspray, a magnifying glass, and their list of scavenger hunt items. Be flexible. You can add or change the list below depending on where you live, the time of year or even the time of day. At night, for example, you can have the children look for lighting bugs.

    To Find

  • Three different kinds of birds
  • A dead tree
  • Berries of something edible (but don't eat it!)
  • Something poison, like poison ivy or poison oak
  • A water source
  • Deer or animal tracks
  • A spider web
  • Three different types of insects
  • A feather
  • An ant hill
  • A bird's nest
  • Seeds
  • Eroded soil
  • Trash
  • A small rock or pebble
  • Three different textures such as smooth, course or slimy
  • Listen For

  • The wind blowing through the trees
  • An animal sound
  • Running water
  • The crunch of leaves
  • The sound of humans
  • The sound of insects
  • Watch

  • An animal hunting for food
  • Something that's growing
  • Something in the midst of decay
  • The weather changing, or the clouds going by
  • How shadows move with the sun
  • How families use the park or the woods for recreation
  • Smell

  • A flower
  • A pine tree or a cedar tree
  • The fresh air
  • Mud
  • The grass
  • A bush
  • A water source
  • Things to Make

  • A leaf rubbing
  • A sketch of an animal they spotted
  • Write a poem or a story of what they saw
  • A clover or a dandelion crown
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