Backyard scavenger hunts are a great way for kids to get some fresh air and exercise. Children love to explore their outdoor environment, whether it’s a field, the woods, or your own yard. Here are some tips for planning a backyard scavenger hunt for kids.

child collecting leaves, rocks, and sticks during a backyard scavenger hunt

What is a backyard scavenger hunt?

A backyard scavenger hunt is a game where players have a list of items to find and check off their list, within the boundary of a backyard or other section of property. The game can have numerous variations, depending on the age of players, the type of objects, etc. You may decide that the first to find all the items wins, or the players must gather all the items and bring them back at the end, or take a picture of each item. It’s totally up to you!

What to hunt for:

Start by creating a list of items for your child to find and check off (or color in). Depending on their age, you can make the list as simple or as complex as you’d like. If your child does not read yet, use pictures of the items. You can also hunt for colors in your yard, using a sheet of paper with a sample of each color.

Consider including items like a colored leaf, a pinecone, a feather, a rock, a flower, or an insect. If you’d like to make it more difficult, you can add items like a certain type of tree or a bird. We’ve included a free printable at the bottom of the post to help you get started.

Where to hunt:

Next, you’ll need to choose the scavenger hunt area. Consider the size of your backyard and your child’s age when determining the area. If you have a large backyard, you can divide it into sections. Have your child search for items in one section or several sections. If your backyard is smaller, you can create a path for your child to follow and designate certain spots to look for items.

child collecting leaves, rocks, and sticks in the backyard

Start searching:

Once you’ve set up the scavenger hunt, it’s time for the fun part- the search! Make sure to explain to your child what items they should be searching for and provide some clues if needed, such as it’s up high or it’s a tiny item.

After the scavenger hunt:

Finally, once the scavenger hunt is over, your child may want to continue exploring. They may want to get down in the dirt and look at interesting bugs or plants. They may also want to keep some of the items they found, such as a big feather or spiky pinecone. These treasures would be perfect for creating new art or simply playing.

Backyard scavenger hunts are a great way to get kids excited about exploring their environment. With a few quick steps to prepare, you can create a unique and fun backyard scavenger hunt that your child will love.

backyard scavenger hunt list with black and white feather, flower, acorn, tree, pinecone, bug, cloud, and bird

Click here to download the free printable backyard scavenger hunt list

(This free printable is for personal, non-commercial use only. You may use it at home or in your classroom, and it’s not for resale. Thanks!)

Have you ever done a backyard scavenger hunt with your kids? Tell us about it in the comments below!

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