This town ain’t big enough for you and me. Well, maybe it’s the apartment or the house that isn’t big enough to contain the sheer excitement and energy of your kids. Maybe you need some space to breathe. I know I do. So let’s go outside. Let’s take a walk. And let’s find something. Let’s go on a scavenger hunt today. Grab some snacks, sunscreen, water bottles, and a camera; and we will get going together. Here are three ways to do a scavenger hunt with your kids.
The ABC’s. You will want a notebook or a camera to help you keep track of this one. Sing your ABC’s as you walk and find something that begins with each letter, starting with A. I’ll help you start this one. A-ants, apples. B-birds, bugs. C-caterpillars, cats. Keep going until you get all the way to Z. Don’t forget to write down your findings.
Find your true colors. This one needs a little prep work. Head to the hardware store and collect some paint chips. Pick colors you might see in your neighborhood, or we will be at this all day. Grab your camera for this hunt. As you begin your scavenger hunt for colors, pass one paint chip to each participant with the instructions to find something that best matches the color they are holding. Don’t forget to snap a picture of the item found next to the paint chip. My son had so much fun finding the colors to match, we went through the stack of paint chips two or three times before we were through.
Make a list. My mother keeps a scavenger hunt list on the side of her fridge for impromptu scavenger hunts—I suspect she keeps it handy for days when the grandkids are driving her wild and she can send them outside with the instructions to not enter the house until they have found everything on the list. I like to ask my son what he thinks we should look for on our scavenger hunt, and he always tells me he wants to find a bird in a nest. We have yet to find birds in nests, but we have spied on several birds clinging to cell phone and radio towers with a great deal of territorial zeal. Here are a few items to help you get started with your own list:
- Birds in a nest
- Birds in flight
- Leaf shaped like a heart
- Stick shaped like a Y
- Very round rocks
- Yellow flowers
And in honor of the Puget Sound that I miss so very dearly.
Things to find at the beach
- Biggest shell you can find
- Sand dollar
- Sea glass
- Smallest shell you can find
Now that you have your plan—go to the park, to the trails, to the beach, and even to the sidewalks around your neighborhood. I’ll be right there with you. Happy hunting!
Johanna Egert is a mother of two, a library aficionada, and a go-play-outside enthusiast. She and her husband make their home in Albuquerque, NM.