Spending time outdoors is highly beneficial, both physically and mentally. It’s a great way to spend free time, and it’s especially great for spending time with children, as they can then enjoy and learn from the nature around them.
However, with the number of gadgets and games that can be played indoors, it might take a little convincing to get your kids to go on a walk outdoors.
A great way to make the outdoor walk fun is to make it highly engaging and to give it a clear purpose. One way to do this is to organize a nature walk checklist or a scavenger hunt. You could even offer a reward for the person or team that finishes first, making it extra tempting!
It’s a fun activity that can be enjoyed by all ages, bringing you and your kids together, and if it’s good enough, it might even prompt the moody teenagers to take part too!
They’re easy to come up with and you can include as many or as little things as you want, the possibilities are endless! You could also come up with a theme, which might make it easier to come up with items to look for!
Each person or team could either collect the items in a bag or take photographic evidence, the exact rules of your checklist or scavenger hunt are completely up to you.
What is a Checklist or Scavenger Hunt?
Just in case this is your first time reading up about nature walk checklists and scavenger hunts, we thought we’d describe exactly what they are.
A nature walk checklist and a scavenger hunt are essentially the same things, and two different ways of naming the same activity.
A scavenger hunt or nature walk checklist is a game, in this case, performed outdoors on a nature walk, in which the organizer prepares a list of items that the participants must then seek and gather, without purchasing anything.
The participants can seek these items individually, or form teams to work as different competing groups. Usually, the team or person that finds all the items on the list first is dubbed the winner of the scavenger hunt and can be offered some sort of prize.
Scavenger hunts can have different themes and can therefore include different types of items to find. A nature walk checklist is specifically a scavenger hunt to perform while on a Nature walk outdoors, and will therefore include items that are typically found out in nature.
Children love scavenger hunts, and they’re also highly beneficial to reinforce their sense of responsibility and problem-solving, as they are left to complete the checklist by themselves.
You can also then use the different items collected or found to teach them certain lessons. For example, for a nature walk checklist, once completed, you could talk about the importance of nature and of the part the different items play in the ecosystem!
Ideas for Nature Walk Checklists and Scavenger Hunts:
You can include almost anything in a Nature walk checklist and scavenger hunt, as long as the items can actually be found and are within reach.
You could group them by themes or mix and match, and the list can be as long or as short as you want, depending on how long you want the activity to go on.
Here are a few ideas for Nature walk checklists and scavenger hunts related to the outdoors:
Theme: Items found in Nature
This is a great basic Nature walk checklist to find items that are typically found in Nature and that can be seen on a normal walk.
It will keep your children entertained and engaged during the walk, and you can use the items found at the end to talk about the part each item plays in the ecosystem.
The ideal way to get them interested in Nature and appreciate the wonders of an outdoor walk even more!
- Bird Nest
- Animal Tracks
With this type of checklist, you simply list out different colors and the participants will have to find items of that color while out on the walk.
It can be very fun to see the different items that different teams or people find for the same colors, and can show how much variety nature has to offer!
Theme: Outdoors sensory-motor
This is an example of how you can create a theme for your Nature walk checklist and Scavenger hunt that can also become a practical hands-on lesson for children.
With an outdoors sensory-motor scavenger hunt, for example, they will have to look for items according to the way they can physically interact with them, using their senses and their motor skills. You can add all types of movements and senses!
Can you find something...
- You can climb on
- You can jump over
- You can crawl under
- You can balance on
- You can pick up
- That is heavy/light
- That smells good/bad
- That is rough/smooth
You can make your Nature walk checklists and Scavenger Hunts as creative as you want, adding different layers or challenges along the way to make it even more entertaining if you want.
You could also perform a Nocturnal scavenger hunt, and have them use flashlights to find the different items, although this is better in a more enclosed space so there’s no danger.
The checklists themselves are always best when they have a small checkbox next to each item so that the participants can easily keep track of what they’ve already found.
Outdoor nature walk checklists and scavenger hunts are an amazing way to turn an outdoor walk into a fun activity and game that will keep children engaged and entertained.
They’re as easy as coming up with a list of items that each participant or group of participants will have to seek and find, with the first person or group to find them all becoming the winner.
The checklists can be as diverse or as themed as you want, and as long or as short as you want the activity to last.
The only important thing to keep in mind is that the items should be possible to find in the area that you’re in and that they should be within reach of the participants (although you could include a few harder items!)
You can use the ideas shown above, and you can then expand by including your own! The checklist can also use the items to teach the participants about different things, so it's a great way to have fun and learn at the same time!