When the weather is good, a preschool scavenger hunt is a great way to get out of the house, get some exercise, and learn with your kids! Here are five ways to hunt, with lots of free printables to get you started!I hope you all enjoyed Easter. We had a lovely day of church, and lots of good food shared with family–my favorite way to celebrate.
If your little ones are anything like mine, they LOVE Easter egg hunts. Even though Easter is over now, there are still lots of ways to fulfill your little ones’ desires to hunt for things. With the weather warming up, spring is the perfect time to move your hunting outside and go on a neighborhood scavenger hunt!
For us, scavenger hunting started last spring when we were finally getting out of the house on walks again. I loved getting outside and moving. The sunshine and the feeling of stretching muscles that had been atrophying over the winter was wonderful…except that after approximately thirty seconds Little Man started complaining and asking when we could be done walking. I knew he was just out of shape from being cooped up all winter, so started brainstorming ways to motivate him to keep moving along on our walks–some kind of distraction to keep his mind off of the exercise he was getting.
Scavenger hunts were the answer.
It was the perfect solution. There are bunches of them you can print from the Internet, and Little Man thought it was the best thing ever to go on Pinterest with me, pick one out to print, and head out on a walk/bike ride with his very own paper and a crayon. He’d ride his tricycle, and I’d remind him of a few things to be looking for (and point some out when I saw them). Then, when we found something “on our list” (as he likes to say), he’d hop off his tricycle and scribble an X over that picture. We’d pick a few more things from the list to watch for, and off we’d go again.
Walks have become so much more fun for both of us since we started doing scavenger hunts, and it’s also been a great way to take school time outside and sneak in some academic learning.
Here are five different types of scavenger hunts you can enjoy with your little ones.
Awesome Preschool Scavenger Hunts
1. Traditional Neighborhood Hunt
These are the ones we do most often. Just print my scavenger hunt here, or use any of the other billions of hunts available on Pinterest, get your walking shoes on, and start looking for things that are in your neighborhood. Little Man likes the grid-style hunts with pictures best (since he can’t read yet), and 12-20 items per hunt is about the right number for his attention span.
Scavenger Hunts for Kids from The Bird Feed NYC
Neighborhood Scavenger Hunt from Smarty Pants
Nature and City Scavenger Hunts from No Wooden Spoons
Spring Scavenger Hunt Bingo from Pottawattamie County Conservation
Nature Scavenger Hunt from The Measured Mom
Neighborhood Scavenger Hunts from Running from the Law
2. Rainbow Hunt
I love Tinker Lab’s idea for a rainbow scavenger hunt. It reinforces color identification and rainbow order. And, when I told Little Man about it, he ran for his shoes and wanted to go out and try it “Right now!” Read more about the hunt here.
3. Shape Hunt
This is one I made for Little Man. It’s super simple, but I like how it makes kids look at the world around them and analyze what they are seeing. They can’t just find, for example, a stop sign. They have to see the stop sign, recognize that it’s an octagon, and connect it to the blank octagon on their list. Younger kids can just cross off each shape as they find something that matches it. For older kids, you can have your child fill in the shape by drawing the item they found.
This one is BRILLIANT, people. It might be a little advanced for Little Man, but I think it will be good to challenge him. All you need is a paper plate, some scissors and a marker and you can make “game board” for your hunt in less than two minutes. Read more about this idea over at No Time for Flash Cards.
Don’t just find ONE of everything on your list. See which things you can find the most, and make tally marks next to each item’s picture to keep track. For our hunt, I made sure to pick items that wouldn’t be TOO frequent (I hope). Otherwise you might not ever actually get any walking done. (Note: this would be a great hunt to do if you’re going on a walk or run where you want your older child to stay in a stroller because they are tally marking more frequently and it keeps them from getting bored.) I made my neighborhood counting scavenger hunt based on an idea I found over at Learn Create Love.
What’s your favorite way to play outside with your kids?