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3 Look-and-Learn Scavenger Hunts

Perfect for Pint-Sized Explorers

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Got a Saturday morning with nothing planned? A scavenger hunt’s a great way for kids to have fun while learning. Treat your family to this classic zero-cost nature-and-neighborhood adventure.
3 No-Fail Look-and-Learn Scavenger Hunts for Pint-Sized Explorers
1. The Look-and-Learn Backyard Scavenger Hunt

Level: Easy

Number of players: One to three peewee hunters (kids up to age 3 or 4 and their parent coaches)

Coordinates: Your own backyard, or any safe, level, grassy enclosure

You need: One small pail or bucket for toting items back to base camp, and pictures of items readily found in nature so kids know what to seek

Search for: A stone, a flower, a worm, grass, soil, a weed, a branch, a leaf, an evergreen—even an herb or veggie growing in a pot or garden

Make it easier: Mount pictures onto a cardboard sheet—five to ten items maximum. Cover the pix with a page protector.

Boost the challenge: Help kids find one or two unfamiliar items—say, a mossy patch, an ant colony, or anything else they’ll find thrilling. Eyeball these items ahead of time, though, to avoid disappointment.

The hunt ends when: All kids gather their items. Everyone’s a winner. Display their finds on a large blanket or picnic table. Celebrate with an outdoor lunch—your kid’s choice.


2. The Guess-What-I-Am Nature Home-style Scavenger Hunt

Level: One up from rank beginner

Number of players:  One to four school-age kids, searching individually or part of a team

Coordinates: Your yard, your block, a small park, or local arboretum

You need: A bucket for each hunter, parent supervisors, a list of clues (no specifics; see the list below)

Search for:  Any or all of the following items: something round, flat, smooth, lumpy, pointy, slimy, fuzzy, fluttery, sticky, or squishy. Find opposites (big, small; wet, dry) or three sizes of a single item.

Make it easier: Let coaches assist searchers.

Boost the challenge: Players bring back a “surprise” item they think no one else noticed.

The hunt ends when: Searchers return with their bounty for a pizza and selfie celebration.


3. The I-Never-Noticed-This-Before Neighborhood Challenge

Level:  Not hard—super fun and full of surprises for savvy searchers

Players: The more the merrier, all ages welcome

Coordinates:  Up one neighborhood block and down another; or a ball field, a schoolyard, a park, or another safe and familiar environment

You need: Parents to serve as team photographers/team leaders, and a list of things that are always there but rarely noticed

Search for: A street address with the number 7; an intersection with 4 stop signs; houses with 3 stories; a residential knockdown; a deer crossing; a house with a gate; property with no houses; windows without panes; doors without windows; an asphalt driveway; a red car; a blue truck; a mail carrier; an elderly person; a baby; a chain-link fence; a bug; a bee; a bird; a dog on a leash; a stray cat; and a team playing soccer, Lacrosse, or basketball

Make it easier: Give searchers extra time at the end if they need it. 

Boost the challenge: Not necessary for this one

The hunt ends when: All teams return. Evaluate the pix, and award points based on the most items found within the preset time limit. No winners. No losers. Everyone celebrates with ice cream.

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