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13 Dec 2023

3 reasons why you should be doing outdoor scavenger hunts with kids

The hidden treasures of outdoor scavenger hunts for kids

Article by Claire Francis

As the winter sun peeks through the clouds, wellies are donned, coats zipped up and bracing fresh air hits your face. You know getting outdoors is good for you but sometimes you need a focus, an activity to get going. Outdoor scavenger hunts are more than just a game; they’re a gateway to exploration, learning, and unforgettable memories.

We have three benefits of doing outdoor scavenger hunts with your kids this winter.

1. Connect with nature

Remember those carefree days when you collected pinecones, leaves, and pebbles from family days out? Scavenger hunts revive that magic. Whether in the garden, park or on a walk down the road, children become nature detectives. These natural wonders aren’t mere objects; they’re gateways to understanding the world around us. If we want our children to care for the environment, first we must allow them to discover and love it.

Nature connectedness is a bit of a buzzword at the moment. And with good reason. Put simply, fresh air, vitamin D, and being outdoors work wonders for our mood and wellbeing. Contact with nature reduces stress and mental fatigue, promotes blood flow, increases appetite and regulates sleep. These are all things we need more of in this era of screen time dominance.

childrens hands are on a large pinecone

2. Become a sensory scavenger

We are all sensory beings, and we rely on much more than one dominant sense like sight to make sense of the world. Our senses are constantly working away in the background, receiving raw information from the experiences we have and interpreting the world around us. It is often our other senses, especially touch and smell that provide us with our most meaningful and memorable experiences.  

Scavenger hunts engage all the senses. Imagine your child’s delight as they touch the rough bark of a tree, smell a pungent flower, or listen to the snap of a twig. These sensory experiences are like puzzle pieces that fit together to create a vivid picture of the world. Sensory regulation becomes play, finding something green and soft, something wet and cold, or something smelly and heavy. It’s a treasure hunt for the senses!

3. Mind and body exercise

Scavenger hunts are stealthy teachers. As kids read the clues and make decisions on where to look, they’re also honing executive functioning skills. Sequencing, organizing, and problem-solving, all wrapped up in the thrill of a game. And let’s not forget the physical aspect. Outdoor scavenger hunts represent a great opportunity to get away from screens and hands-on with nature. It’s amazing how much further a kid will walk if they are engaged in a game. Bodies move, hearts race and minds light up with each treasure found.

bag and tag showing the words gofindit. Underneath there are some cards saying ooh, green, spotty and dry

Ready for your scavenger hunt? You could write some clues or objects on a piece of paper and give them to your kids. Alternatively, our games gofindit and gofindit too have all the sensory clues you need and three different ways to play. A game can last from five minutes to the whole day. What’s more, all profits go straight back into our charitable work helping more people gain access to the sensory joys of being outdoors.