What is a nature scavenger hunt? (and how to do one)

what is a nature scavenger hunt?

What is a nature scavenger hunt?

A nature scavenger hunt, is an engaging, naure-focussed activity, akin to a game of i-spy. However, while on the surface, it appears to be little more than a fun game, it is in fact, a wonderful tool to strengthen, hone and develop our skills of awareness and understanding.

Because, doing a nature scavenger hunt helps to focus our awareness in a conscious way onto the world around us. This helps us to notice and learn about our landscapes, flora and fauna, which deepens our connection to nature and cements our nature literacy skills.

About this tutorial

Hello! In today’s tutorial, we will be discussing the why’s and wherefore’s  of a scavenger hunt, including what is a nature scavenger hunt and how exactly to do one. Are you ready? Let’s get started!

What is a nature scavenger hunt?

The idea of a nature scavenger hunt is often associated with preschools and forest schools as a fun activity to do with children. And a scavenger hunt is fun! But, it is not just for children. A nature scavenger hunt, done well, can help expand your nature awareness and grow your nature knowledge – all while also remaining enjoyable and fun.

Because, in order to successfully complete a scavenger hunt, you need to open and fully utilise all of your senses – your powers of observation, smell, touch and hearing. (As well as being sociable and helping team work, bonding and cooperation when done in a group of children!)

What happens in a nature scavenger hunt?

The concept of a scavenger hunt, is to locate a given selection of items – in this case, nature-related items. Most often, it is a simple and pretty generic list, including leaf, stick, stone, flower, pine cone etc. Sometimes, it can be a little more challenging, for instance, to find a star-shaped leaf or a pink flower. But the beauty happens when you shift gear and get really specific.

Imagine I asked you to find a hawthorn leaf, a speedwell blue flower, a sycamore bud or a blue tit… Suddenly, you find yourself immersed in a world you might not have known existed. Instead of absently gazing around to say, oh look, there’s a stick, there’s a stone… you now need to focus; to concentrate; to really absorb the world around you and begin to pay attention.

How do you do a scavenger hunt?

In order to complete your scavenger hunt and find the items listed, you need to utilise your senses. You need to not only look, but actually see… not only listen, but actually hear. You begin to develop nature awareness. To find the hawthorn leaf, you must think about what a hawthorn tree looks like and where you might find one. Likewise, with the speedwell blue.

hawthorn leaf

The picture is in front of you, so you know what you are looking for… but you need to think about the personality and habits of this plant. Where does speedwell like to grow…? How about finding a blue tit. You might be really lucky and have  bird feeder handy to spot one. But, suppose you were outdoors and tracking one down ‘in the wild’. Often, you can hear blue tits long before you see them.

So, in order to successfully complete your scavenger hunt, you need to learn, grow and utilise knowledge about the plants, trees and animals living around you – and apply that knowledge in practice. And, in order to apply that knowledge in practice, you need to learn, grow and master your nature awareness – in order to spot what you seek!

hawthorn flowers

Why are Nature Nook scavengers special?

Unlike the vast majority of printable nature walk scavenger hunts you come across, My Nature Nook nature scavenger hunts are different – and pretty special. Because, they have been especially designed to help you not only grow your nature knowledge – by teaching you the names and faces of our natural world,  but have been collated in such a way, that each activity develops an aspect of your awareness.

For example, my tree scavengers help you to shift your perspective and start noticing shapes in that ‘green mass of samey trees’. While, my butterfly scavengers make you pay rapt attention to flickers of dancing movement. And, my bird scavengers require you to listen out for birds to help you locate our feathered creatures – because, as we mentioned earlier, sometimes you hear them before you can see them.


Well. There we go! I hope you have enjoyed this brief introduction to the world of nature scavenger hunts? If you fancy checking out My Nature Nook printables, you can find them all here. They come in all sorts of themes and topics. Plus, they are all handily provided as digital downloads in A4-sized PDF format, ready for you to download, print and go! And, if you preferred trying them out individually, you can also purchase them in my Etsy store x

My Nature Nook

Hello, I’m Leila! Welcome to My Nature Nook. I help families learn about and connect with Nature. Learn more

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