12 No-Hassle Outdoor Scavenger Hunt Ideas For All-Year Fun.

Getting out and about feels easier in good weather, doesn’t it? At the moment, my corner of the world is awash with rain, my central heating is on (in June!), and I’m consoling myself by planning activities for when the sun comes back out. These outdoor scavenger hunt ideas are actually perfect for any time of the year.

There’s no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing, right? Well, maybe inappropriate clothing and grumpy mamas who really just want the sun to come out again!

outdoor scavenger hunt ideas

So, I’ve been hunting down the best easy outdoor scavenger hunt ideas for you to try out. If you’re looking for scavenger hunt games or a printable scavenger hunt list, you’ll hopefully find what you’re looking for in this post.

I’ve split up my list of scavenger hunt ideas for kids by season so that you can jump straight to something that fits the weather where you are right now. Of course, most of these activities will work just as well, rain or shine, so take a look at the whole list.

It’s summer here right now, not that you’d know it by looking out of the window. If the sun ever returns, we’ll be trying out some of these fun outdoor activities for kids, and also spending some time on some messy summer art projects.

Organising A Summer Scavenger Hunt For Kids.

1. Woodland Trust Printable.

The Woodland Trust Nature Detectives site is one of my favourite resources for all kinds of nature activities. They have a fab printable sheet for a simple summer scavenger hunt that’s perfect for little ones. Look for a munched leaf, a dandelion clock (make sure you blow the seeds into the air), and other signs of summer.

2. Night Time Scavenger Hunt.

Going out after dark makes for an exciting adventure all by itself. I don’t mean just dashing from the car to the house, I’m talking about an intentional after-dark adventure.

This Nocturnal Scavenger Hunt from Edventures is the perfect accompaniment to a night-time walk with your preschoolers. You can download the free scavenger hunt printable from the site.

I love that the post talks about some of the science concepts that can be introduced during a walk in the dark. They’ve also got a lovely list of books to accompany your nocturnal adventuring.

3. A Batch Of Simple Printable Hunts.

This post at The Resourceful Mama is a good one to bookmark. The post contains download links for a whole stack of scavenger hunts tailored for different summer occasions.

Looking for a swimming pool hunt? You’ll find one here. Barbecue hunt? Yup. Pretty much any occasion when you might want a printable activity on hand to keep your kids busy, you’ll find something suitable here.

Autumn Scavenger Hunts.

4. Treasure Hunt Bags.

How sweet is this idea from NurtureStore? Kid-made treasure bags for taking out on an autumn nature walk.

I love that this fall scavenger hunt activity starts with the children generating their own list of things they might find. Asking these pre-scavenger hunt questions helps to open discussion about the season, or about the kind of place you’re visiting.

Children learn so much more with any activity if they have real ownership of it, and this idea does just that. I also love that this idea incorporates a container for carrying all that treasure home afterwards.

5. Simple Autumn Scavenger Hunt.

If you’re just looking for a basic scavenger hunt to use on an autumn nature walk, then try this printable hunt from Burlap and Blue.

There’s also a nice list of other autumn activities at the end of the post.

6. Autumn Leaf Scavenger Hunt.

Here’s a post on My Kids Adventures all about organising a leaf scavenger hunt.

I like the idea of limiting yourselves to just hunting for leaves.

By making a more narrowly focused scavenger hunt, you can encourage your children to pay really close attention to the leaves they find.

It’s lovely to kick up a huge pile of leaves, or throw them into the air just to watch them swirl back to the ground. It’s also lovely to take notice of the details, and to notice the differences between the different kinds of leaves you find.

Outdoor Scavenger Hunt Ideas For Winter.

7. Sensory Scavenger Hunt.

Woodland Classroom has this lovely activity to engage your senses. (Well, apart from taste, but they recommend a hot chocolate back at home as a way to fix that!)

I love that it’s divided up into things you can collect, and things that are just for admiring and leaving behind. (Although I don’t think would stop my kids from trying to drag home a whole tree!)

The sensory scavenger hunt gives suggestions for things to collect (touch), things to show someone (sight), things to smell, and things to listen to. It would be really easy to adapt to your local area.

8. When There’s Snow On The Ground.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that a scavenger hunt wouldn’t work when the ground is covered by snow. Oopsey Daisy has a cute scavenger hunt printable that’s perfect for a snowy day.

It’s part of a Winter Mommy School packet. Just scroll down to see the scavenger hunt. I bet you’ll find some other fun winter-themed activities to do with your preschoolers in there too.

9. RSPB Scavenger Hunt.

This is a sweet and simple winter scavenger hunt from the RSPB.

It’s split into Things To look For and Things To Collect, and they have suggestions for making a treasure box to take with you for your finds.

Scavenger Hunts For Spring.

10. Spring Spotting.

I’m hopping back to the Woodland Trust for their Springtime Wildlife Spotter sheet.

I love that this scavenger hunt keeps things simple, asking you to just look for different types of caterpillar, for example, rather than having to hunt down a specific one.

It’s also great for encouraging children to investigate all different kinds of habitats – looking in water, under leaves etc.

11. Photo Scavenger Hunt.

This photo hunt from Adventure In A Box would be perfect for either toddlers or preschool children.

The idea of taking your own photos is perfect.

It means that your children will be able to find an exact match for the pictures on the scavenger hunt printable.

I can also see it being useful for some older children, particularly those with learning differences. If you’ve got a very literally-minded child, it can be difficult for them to generalise and find ‘a leaf’ without hyper-focusing on the specific leaf on a printed sheet.

We’ve also done a similar activity indoors, where we photographed parts of our home from unusual angles, or in extreme close-up. It’s fun to look at familiar objects in this different way.

12. Eggbox Scavenger Hunt.

This egg-box scavenger hunt from Mama Scout is perfect for a spring nature walk.

In spring the hedgerows start to burst into life in a riot of colour, and this simple activity is a brilliant way to capture those colours.

I’m always in favour of things that are super-simple to set up, and this one definitely fits the bill. I’m also a big fan of the egg-box idea for encouraging kids to bring home only a select few small treasures!

Four Seasons Of Outdoor Fun.

You’ve got twelve different outdoor scavenger hunt ideas here, and I’m sure you could come up with endless variations on each of them.

Most of these ideas aren’t limited to working only at one time of year, so feel free to mix and match and go with what you think would work for your own kids.

The key thing about all of these outdoor scavenger hunt ideas, is that they get you and your children outside and exploring the world around you. By setting up these activities you’re encouraging your children’s curiosity, and curiosity is the foundation of all the learning they’ll ever do.

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