Why do a Nature Walk Scavenger Hunt?
Whether you are just having trouble getting the kids to go on walks or even leave the house during lockdown as they are so bored of the local area or if you just want to get your kids more engaged with their local surroundings and the natural world then a Nature Walk Scavenger Hunt is perfect.
I have designed 6 nature walk scavenger hunts for my 4 kids and I am giving them away here. I hope that they help you get the kids more enthusiastic about getting outdoors especially during lockdown. My nature walk scavenger hunt templates are one for each of the seasons, a general one and a hunt that is specifically for a city or suburban environment which you can also get to print at home. Keep reading to find out more…
The Benefit of a Nature Walk for the kids
Nature walks reduce stress
Life can be stressful. It can be busy and there can be a lot of pressure even for children. Kids can feel stressed too even if they don’t recognise how they feel as stress. Getting outside and going on a nature walk scavenger hunt can relieve that stress. Children often don’t have the coping mechanisms for dealing with stress that we, as adults, have, but by taking them out for a walk and getting them that breath of fresh air we can help them to release stress that they didn’t even know they had.
A nature walk is a great place to talk
If you are reading this during lockdown you may be thinking that the last thing you need is more time to talk to your kids, but I really have found that being out of the house and in nature has sparked some great conversations. When I have been able to take a 1:1 nature walk with one of the kids this has been even more positive with the child in question really opening up and sharing how they are feeling without all the crazy of siblings running around.
A nature walk scavenger hunt helps kids develop their observational and questioning skills
During the nature walk scavenger hunt your child is more engaged with the environment around them. As the adult you can model observing the world around them with the things you say and the things you notice. As you walk I am sure you will notice your child using all their senses and you can talk to them about what they see, feel, smell and hear.
A nature walk with kids also really helps their questioning skills as they look around them and wonder ‘ what is that?’ ‘ why does that tree grow that way’ and so on… Just be prepared as a parent to need to be secretly looking up the answers to their questions on google!
But… How do you make walking fun for kids if they are less than keen?
I wonder when it happens that you go from hating a walk as a child and finding it super boring to suddenly waking up, looking out the window at the weekend and thinking ‘Let’s go for a lovely family walk’? I can still remember how much I hated it when my parents suggested that we all go for a walk, but now here I am regularly rounding up my four kids and traipsing them out for a walk around a National Trust garden or through a park…
Add lockdown life in 2020 and 2021 to the mix and this family are walking around the local area everyday and to say the kids are bored of seeing the same place over and over again is an understatement, but lockdown or not I know they will never be jumping for joy at the thought of walk….. So do you make walking fun for kids? Well apart from these awesome nature walk scavenger hunts here are some other ideas that you might find useful:
- Make it into a bug walk – so instead of looking up, look down and under. Even in a city you might be surprised at the number of bugs you can find especially during the spring and summer
- Set tasks for the kids to do as you walk for example physical challenges like running up an upcoming hill or rolling down a hill
- Plan a nature based art project before you leave home and give the kids items in nature that they need to find during your walk so that they can complete the art when they get home. This could be a collage project or leaf/ bark rubbings
- Find some sticks and tell the kids they are their wands – my kids have spent hours chasing one another on walks shouting ‘expelliarmus’
- If lockdown is no longer an issue find a park with a children’s trail lots of National Trust properties have these
- Challenge the kids to find trees or rocks or whatever in nature that look like something else… So for example a tree that looks like a dinosaur
How do you do a nature scavenger hunt?
Well you can come up with your own list of things in the local area that your kids can look for on your walk, write them down or draw pictures of the items and then as you walk around you can get them to mark off the things they find. Typically you need to be thinking about what things are likely for them to find as they will tire of it quickly if they can’t see any of them. Working with the seasons seems to be the most effective way of doing it.
Don’t think that just because you live in a city you can’t do a nature walk by the way. We live in London and have seen all sorts of nature (and I don’t just mean the locals).
So you can do this yourself….. Or you can just download the ones that I have prepared for you and save yourself a job! I really hope you find them useful and that they help your kids have lots of fun and see their local area through different eyes.