Scavenger hunts are a fun way to explore the wonders of nature. They can be used for teaching children about the environment. They can help adults to relax and appreciate the beauty of nature.
They can also encourage the development of team-building skills. Here are some tips on how to plan a successful nature scavenger hunt!
What is a Nature Scavenger Hunt?
A Nature Scavenger Hunt is an outdoor activity that involves exploring the natural environment to find and identify certain items. The scavenger hunt may involve searching for native herbs, identifying wildflowers, and finding plants with specific herbal qualities or energies. The possibilities are endless.
Benefits of Nature Scavenger Hunts
Nature Scavenger Hunts can be a great way to get people outdoors and away from screens. This is easily seen with the Google search "studies on adults needing time outside". This returns a ton of publications discussing the advantages of time spent outdoors. These advantages include "lower risk of chronic disease," "improve mood and decrease anxiety," "reduces stress," etc.
It can also be a fun and educational activity for adults. Encouraging people to explore nature and learn about the local flora and fauna. Herb walks or nature walks are a perfect way to get out and learn about your local plants.
Nature Scavenger Hunts can also be a great way for families to bond and spend quality time together. There is no better feeling than making outdoor discoveries together from finding new trails to finding little hidden natural treasures.
Tips for a Successful Nature Scavenger Hunt
Planning ahead should include making a list of items/clues to be found and safety guidelines. Give a copy of this information to each participant or each group of participants. You may find it helpful to set a time limit on the scavenger hunt.
Make sure to choose a location that is safe and appropriate for the age and skill level of the participants. Check all local rules and safety guidelines, such as parking rules and the location of the first aid station.
Make sure to bring enough supplies such as snacks, water, bug spray, and a first aid kit. Another option would be to have your participants bring their own.
Other items you may want to consider are:
Dividing participants into teams to make it more fun and competitive
Having a prize for the person or team that finds the most items
Using the Nature Scavenger Hunt as a learning tool to help people learn about the local flora and fauna.
Nature Scavenger Hunt Examples
Not sure what a Nature Scavenger Hunt looks like? Check out these examples to get you started.
WA Invasive Plant Scavenger Hunt - https://wdfw.wa.gov/sites/default/files/2020-05/invasive_plant_scavenger_hunt_final.pdf
Blandy Experimental Farm Herb Garden Scavenger Hunt Worksheet - https://blandy.virginia.edu/sites/blandy.virginia.edu/files/FamilyActivity-HerbGarden%20Scavenger%20Hunt.pdf
Nature Scavenger Hunts are a fantastic way for families to bond, reduce screen time, improve mood, and reduce stress. They encourage people to explore nature and learn about local flora and fauna. This outdoor discovery can be both fun and educational for adults and children alike. Make sure to plan ahead and bring all the necessary supplies for a successful and safe Nature Scavenger Hunt.
Time Spent Outdoors, Activity Levels, and Chronic Disease among American Adults - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6031452/
How Time Outdoors in Nature Benefits Mental Health - https://www.simplepractice.com/blog/nature-mental-health/
How Much Nature Is Enough? 120 Minutes a Week, Doctors Say - https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/13/health/nature-outdoors-health.html
Time Spent Outside Reduces Stress - https://www.nrpa.org/publications-research/park-pulse/time-spent-outside-reduces-stress/