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Monday, April 18, 2016

Budding Enthusiasm: 11 Ideas for a Playful Spring Scavenger Hunt

Photo by Seattle Municipal Archives (Flickr)

Spring is one of my favorite seasons because warmer temperatures mean my girls and I can spend more time outside! One way we welcome this season is by hosting an annual scavenger hunt. We grab our cameras, notebooks, and binoculars before we tie on our sturdy hiking shoes and explore our backyard, local park, and nature preserve. Your kids will enjoy this fun and educational activity, too, as you welcome spring and find these 11 items.

Spring Flowers

I love the sight of spring flowers. They remind me that gardening season has arrived! Encourage your kids to find spring flowers in nature. They can get bonus points for each unique flower they photograph, draw, or identify.

Leaf Buds

Leaf buds on trees are another symbol of new growth and warmer temperatures. Remind your kids of how the trees were bare during your winter scavenger hunt, and ask them to find as many leaf buds as they can now that spring has arrived.


We've already started our garden seeds in the spare bedroom, but seeds abound in nature, too. Set your kids on a hunt for a variety of seeds in different shapes, sizes, and locations.

Animal Tracks

Squirrels, chipmunks, and rabbits get active as the weather warms. Your kids can look for these and other animal tracks on your next nature walk in the forest or around your neighborhood.

Rabbits, Squirrels, Chipmunks, and Woodchucks

If the ground is still slightly frozen, your kids may be unable to see animal tracks. Maybe they can see live animals, though. I give my girls credit, too, for all of the evidence of live animals they find, including dens, trails, or droppings.


From the time my girls were little, I taught them to appreciate the benefits of earthworms. We love finding earthworms in spring ground. How many worms can your kids find?


Birds begin migrating, nesting, and feeding in earnest when the weather grows warmer. See if your kids can take a picture of a bird. Award extra credit for all of the bird species they find!

Five Touchable Items

Encourage your kids to explore nature with their sense of touch. They can find objects that are smooth, rough, and sharp. Make sure they know not to touch the objects, though, or your kids could end up like my daughter last year; she pricked her finger on a thorn!

Something Fragrant

Keeping with the sensory theme, include fragrant items on your scavenger hunt list. Increase the challenge when you include items that smell earthy, edible, and stinky.

Colors of the Rainbow

Rainbows are colorful, and those colors are present in nature, too. Remind your kids to look up, down, and under and behind objects as they find red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet in nature.

Lost Toys

This scavenger hunt item is one of my favorites! Now that the snow has melted, my girls search the backyard for at least one toy they forgot to bring into the garage in the fall. As a bonus, their cleanup efforts jump-start our landscape prep as we anticipate summer fun.

Spring is here! Cultivate your children's budding enthusiasm with a playful spring scavenger hunt. Whether you use these 11 items or make your own checklist, now's a great time to get outside and have fun together!

Find more about the author: Kim Hart

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