Three Outdoor Scavenger Hunts for Spring

Spring has sprung, and many of us still have cabin fever…or as we call it up north: “shack happy” and “rammy”. Although the freezing winter weather may be gone, and it’s still not picnic or beach weather yet, it’s still good to get outside, and soak in some fresh air and sunshine–not to mention exercise.

Sometimes we hang out indoors so much during the winter, it’s hard to get back into the swing of going outside. Having a reason to go out, even on a chilly day, can make everyone more excited about getting out of the house.

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And once you get moving, you’ll be warm in no time, and may even need to peel off a few sweaters and jackets as you exercise and get the blood pumping, and as the sun warms the earth.

Here are a few ideas of things you can do on your next outing with the kids, whether it’s to the park, or a nice stroll through the neighborhood.

1. Play “I-Spy” for Spring

Have everyone on the outing take turns calling out sights that they don’t normally see during the winter, such as:

  • A bud or small leaves on a tree or bush
  • A plant emerging from the ground
  • A spring flower in bloom
  • Spring fruit
  • Open windows
  • People sitting outside
  • Open coats
  • Someone skateboarding
  • People using bicycles
  • Bathing suits in a shop window

2. Play “I-Hear” for Spring

Take turns letting everyone identify different sounds that you don’t hear when you’re indoors, such as:

  • A clap of thunder
  • A woodpecker
  • Music from an open car window
  • A bird singing
  • Music from an ice cream truck
  • Kids playing in the playground
  • A lawn mower
  • Frogs or toads

3. Collect Rubbings for a Spring Collage Art Project

This activity calls for indoor and outdoor time, which will help everyone acclimate to the spring weather in small doses. You can get a little fresh air and exercise, and then if the weather changes, go inside before you freeze. Just put a few supplies in your bag, and go outside and look for interesting textures that you can rub onto paper.

When you get back inside, cut out the rubbings and glue them into a collage. This activity not only has everyone using their eyes, but their creativity as well.

Supplies Needed:

  • Paper: any color will do
  • Drawing media: crayons and colored pencils for toddlers, and maybe charcoal and pastels for elementary school age children
  • A bag or tote to carry the art supplies: a big bag is best so it’s easy to reach in and get things out of it, like a large shopping bag or beach tote
  • Large, thick poster paper: one for each child, and one for yourself, too, mom and dad!
  • Glue: glue stick for toddlers, Elmer’s glue for older kids
  • Scissors: blunt for toddlers, sharp is okay for older kids


Part 1: Hunt for Texture

a. Go for a walk to some place you haven’t been in a while…that is, where you haven’t really taken the time to slowly stroll and enjoy the scenery. Whether it’s your neighborhood, a local park, or a downtown shopping area, keep an eyes open for interesting surfaces as you stroll along. Anything with texture will do, such as tree bark, a wooden park bench, a cobblestone walkway, or signs with raised letters and graphics.

b. Place your paper on top of the textured surface and rub over it with your crayon, colored pencil, or pastels. Rub until the the image starts to form–not too lightly and not too hard. You’ll get the feel for it after a rubbing or two. And don’t restrain yourself–make as many rubbings on as many textures as you can during the trip. A wider variety will make the collage assembly more interesting and more fun!

Part 2: Collage Assembly

a. When you get home, make sure everyone has a large work space so they can spread their work out and admire their collections. Have them choose their favorite or the most interesting ones, and cut around them with the scissors.

b.Then they can glue their rubbing shapes to their poster board. You can either direct the kids to follow your instructions and tell them how to arrange their rubbings on the collage, which can make comparing each others’ artwork at the end of the project quite fun; or you can just let them assemble their collage however they want, maybe giving them suggestions, or let them think of their own method.

Some ideas for assembly order might be to:

  • arrange them in the order in which they were collected, to show the time line of the outing
  • make a shape–like a flower, tree, or a person
  • arrange them randomly, for an artistic and unique abstract effect

Have you been in the house all winter, and forgot what your neighborhood looks and sounds like? Why not reacquaint yourself by trying one, if not all, of the above activities. And have fun hunting–there are treasures all around you!

Written by Sera Filson.


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