It’s autumn (or fall, depending on where you are) and it’s still warm enough to get outside for a scavenger hunt.
Scavenger hunt ideas
Here are some ways you could use a scavenger hunt with your children, or children in your setting.
- On a walk, where the scavenger hunt is the purpose of the activity
- On a walk to somewhere else, where the scavenger hunt is simply something to do on the journey
- As part of a structured activity
- As part of child-led learning if they show an interest in exploring the seasons or outside
- As a game, in an education or forest school setting (for those who want to join in) or even at a party!
I can imagine some great autumn outdoor birthday party ideas using a scavenger hunt as a way to kick off the fun!
I’ve created a beautiful autumn/fall scavenger hunt printable, primarily for use in our preschool environment, where I run forest school mornings. You can use it too with your primary school children, your family, or in your Forest School setting.
There are plenty of things to look for at this time of year. What will your little nature detectives find?
What’s in the Printable Autumn/Fall Scavenger hunt list?
Download the printable and take copies out with you so you can tick off the signs of the season that you spot on your travel around the woodland, forest, or even your local urban area.
Here’s what’s on the list:
- Shiny evergreen leaf
- Prickly conker case
- Brown leaf
- Red leaf
- Winged seed (like a sycamore)
- Mushroom (do not pick mushrooms)
- Spider’s web
- A pile of leaves
- Leaf bigger than your hand
- Pine needles
This autumn scavenger hunt is suitable for toddlers upwards, although younger children may need help interpreting the pictures. As the PDF also has words as well as images, you can use it as a guide to learning the words and for spellings too.
Tips for autumn scavenger hunts
If it’s chilly, you can still get outside. Make sure feet and hands are warm enough — extra pair of socks inside wellies is a good idea if it’s on the cold side.
Remember: Don’t pull anything off trees or bushes, and don’t pick flowers and other plants. Only collect from the forest/woodland floor. You don’t actually need to collect anything. If children have a copy of the autumn scavenger hunt checklist, they can tick off what they find as they go.
However, if you’re out in the forest, and the children want to make a collection, then be child-led. The children can gather their items as they find them, and put them in a basket, or bring them back to the circle, or whatever they like.
Questions to ask on a scavenger hunt
As a parent, I’ve often wished activities lasted just a little bit longer! You can tailor the activity to the enthusiasm of the child, and if they seem keen, ask some questions to keep the topic going.
Have a conversation, and let the children tell you about their scavenged items from the list (or things they found and loved that weren’t on the sheet). If you need conversation prompts, here are some questions to ask:
- What did you find that is smooth/rough/prickly?
- What did you find that is damp/dry?
- Was there anything on the list you didn’t touch/pick up? Why?
- What is the most delicate object you found? Why do you say that?
- How would you describe [item]?
- What do you think would eat [item]?
- Where did you find [item]?
- Why do you think [item] ended up looking like that? What might have happened to it?
What to do with scavenger hunt items
In a class or a big group of students, you could end up with a pile of leaves, berries, conkers and so on. (I’m sure I don’t need to tell you not to collect the living creatures.) Plus anything else that the kids have picked up on the way.
Once your activity has come to a natural close — you’ve reached your destination on a walk, or people have found everything they want to find — think about what you could do with the items collected. You could make patterns, group them by colours, sort them big to small, make piles or arrange them into a picture.
How are you going to use this free autumn scavenger hunt list? Let us know on our Facebook page!