Hiking activity with kids: Scavenger hunt

Exploring and discovery comes naturally enough for kids, but sometimes even they can grow bored and become restless. Remember that they have shorter attention spans than adults. Fortunately, there are lots of tried and true activities you can do on the trail that'll keep kids from getting bored. The scavenger hunt is one such activity.

Look for items either using adjectives (find something circular, fuzzy, rough, black, etc.) or make cards in advance.

Kids can create their own fun cards for a scavenger hunt on the trail:
-Materials: Cardboard (such as old cereal boxes), crayons (colored pencils or markers also will do), glue, paper, scissors
-Instructions: (1) Draw lines on a piece of 8 x 11-1/2 paper so that you have four boxes going across and five boxes going down the page. (2) In each box, draw a different item you might find on your hike: a rock, a squirrel, a tree, a pine cone, a flower, etc. (or paste pictures of the objects). While researching the trail online, perhaps you can show pictures of the path or area to your children to give them ideas of what they might find. (3) Trace the edges of the paper on a piece of cardboard. (4) Cut out the cardboard backing. (5) Glue the paper to the cardboard.
-Modify – You can modify the card to become a bingo rather than scavenger game. You’ll need to draw five boxes across rather than four. Mark the very center box as "FREE."
-Reminder: Don’t forget pens, pencils or crayons to mark up the card when going on the hike.

Activity is good for ages 3 and up.

Read more about day hiking with children in the guidebook Hikes with Tykes.

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