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Nature Scavenger Hunt {free printable!}

Get out &  explore with this FREE Nature Scavenger Hunt printable list!

We love to get outside and explore new places as a family — whether it’s hiking a new trail, going on a scavenger hunt or finding a new playground!

Print off this FREE outdoor scavenger hunt and see if you can find all the items on the list on your next outing.


Nature Scavenger Hunt printable list for preschool, kids, tweens and families

Nature Scavenger Hunt {w/free printable}

Inspire kids to explore nature a little this week with this Outdoor Nature Scavenger Hunt that’s perfect for your next park visit, hiking adventure or walk in the woods!  You could probably find all the items in your backyard or on a walk in your neighborhood too 😉

Scavenger hunts are such a great activity — either as a group or even a friendly competition. And outdoor scavenger hunts add that extra plus of allowing the whole family to relax in nature for a while. 

 printable outdoor nature scavenger hunt for kids and teens

Tips for a Nature Scavenger Hunt

Today’s activity is the perfect outdoor treasure hunt for kids of all ages! Here are a few lessons we’ve learned from our many scavenger hunt adventures along with affiliate links for items we like to have with us:

  • Bring along a clipboard so it’s easy to check off items as you see them.
  • Try to practice the ‘leave no trace’ policy — meaning check off the items as you find them instead of collecting them to take with you.  Or better yet, use your phone and take a picture of each of the items on the list as you find them.
  • Notice our pencil choice?  We like to have bright colored pencils so when someone drops it, it’s easy to find on the forest floor 🙂 
  • Have more than one person doing the hunt?  You can just bring along a different color pencil for each person so it’s easy to track who found which item.
  • Remember, you’ll be outside to dress accordingly (reminder for the kids) and bring along water & some snacks (these outdoor scavenger hunts always make us hungry!)



We also have a few favorite nature books — always a great idea for story time before heading out on the hunt!

Outside Your Window: A First Book of Nature (this one is lovely year-round but especially in the Spring!)

Nature Anatomy: The Curious Parts & Pieces of the Natural World — perfect for kids of all ages (adults too!) this gorgeous book is a wonderful field guide to nature.


Spring Scavenger Hunt for Kids

 What to Look for on an Outdoor Scavenger Hunt

I really wanted to offer some challenges for this hunt and also wanted to include some terms & items that would give an element of learning to the activity too. 

So you’ll find words like ‘coniferous’ tree — which is any type of evergreen tree that has cones for their seeds.

And your kids will need to scout out moss on a tree — they might just call it ‘fuzzy green stuff’ like our kids did until we told them it had an actually name 🙂

I also included some interesting challenges that require a good eye — like “find animal tracks in the mud or dirt”!

 Nature scavenger hunt for preschool, kids, tweens

Oh my gosh you guys!  Shoes!!

How did I forget to mention that in our tips list {smacks head!}

I’m going to go off on a tangent for a second because last month, we headed to a new trail to do some hiking but guess what we forgot to pack — a pair of good outdoor shoes like these affordable Northside sports shoes for the whole family!

It was one of those mix-ups — we had our hiking shoes in a bag and I thought my daughter grabbed the bag, she thought I grabbed the bag, we were trying to get our crazy dog into the car too and the next thing we knew, we were hiking in ….

… flip flops 🙁

Flip flops are NOT good hiking shoes!

We had to cut the hike short and both of us had blisters between our toes the next day. 

So be sure to wear a comfy pair of shoes.


Free printable list for outdoor scavenger hunt

We love having the hiking/water type shoes (also called sports sandals) because

1) they let your feet breathe so they don’t get too hot and

2) you never know when you’re going to come across a creek or pond and want to wade in 🙂

Plus, they dry out quickly too!

Northside Shoes was so great to send our family some of their amazing shoes so we could try them out.  They are super comfy, very versatile and fit really well.  I love the adjustable toggle strap on the front (and my daughter LOVES the pink camo colors 🙂

They’re perfect if you’re visiting an area with a creek or pond (psst... try these 20 Activities for a Day at the Pond or Lake if you do!)


Nature scavenger hunt checklist with printable

Where to Go on a Nature Scavenger Hunt

Be sure to get in some outdoor exploring on your scavenger hunt –it’s not all about checking off the boxes and just going home. 

There are so many places you can do this hunt:

  • a local hiking trail
  • a visit to the park
  • a walk in your neighborhood
  • a National Park
  • at a campsite
  • in your own backyard

If you’ll be in the woods, you might also enjoy this free printable Forest Scavenger Hunt too!

If you’re at the park, spend some time relaxing with these 30 Games to Play at the Park.

Enjoy some time together while you’re outside.  That’s why I included challenges like “a rock big enough to stand on” and “find a path into the woods“.

And I LOVE the last item on the list — “something you didn’t expect to see“!

We’ve run across a LOT of unexpected things on our park adventures —  we saw a coyote this week in the park near our school (I know, kinda scary but it was close to dusk and we know they live nearby)

And we’ve also encountered deer, snakes, a snapping turtle and a wild turkey!

Life can get really interesting near the woods 🙂

But the latest unexpected item was actually man-made —


Things to find on an outdoor scavenger hunt

A local Eagle Scout created a bee house and installed it in the park as part of his Eagle project.

How cool is that!!  With the recent plight of the honeybees, we’re hoping that a colony might take up residence here this summer. 

Use these Honeybee Books & Activities with your kids to learn more about how to support these insects.

See, you never know what you’ll find on an outdoor adventure!



Print off your FREE Nature Scavenger Hunt & get out to explore a park or trail near you!


More Outdoor Nature Scavenger Hunt Ideas:

Go on a Bug Hunt {free printable adventure}

20 Summer Scavenger Hunts

DIY Nature Journal with 50+ printable activities