As an Amazon associate, I may earn a commission from any qualifying purchase you make (at no extra cost to you).
Let’s be honest: winter isn’t exactly most people’s favorite time of year. It can be kind of drab and monotonous. One thing that’s healing to my soul during the cold months is getting out and doing a winter scavenger hunt in nature.
At first glance, you might not think there’s much to see. But when you really immerse yourself in the details, you’ll find that nature has so much to offer, even when it seems like everything is dead or hibernating.
There are berry branches with pops of red and orange, beautiful shades of evergreen, blue juniper berries, and of course, all the browns and grays of twigs, acorns, and old seed pods.
Scavenger hunts are a great activity for kids! They’re naturally curious and intrigued by everything, so they already possess the tendency to stop and look closely at things (even when that might not be your goal). But I find it’s nice to have that kind of enthusiasm around if you’re feeling a bit worn down by the winter blues.
So here are 3 colorful ideas (literally and figuratively) for a winter scavenger hunt!
1. Rainbow Winter Scavenger Hunt
One approach that can be particularly invigorating in the winter is to try searching for colors! You may be surprised at how many are actually out there once you begin to look. Be creative as you search! You’re not necessarily looking for tangible objects to take with you.
You can find the shades of the rainbow in a colorful bird flitting through the trees, berries and thorns on bushes, or even in the different hues of the sky. Since you obviously can’t take some of these things with you, why not bring your camera and make it a photography scavenger hunt?
After all, you know what they say: “Take a picture! It’ll last longer”. It will indeed. And it’ll make for a pretty collage once you get home!
2. Sensory Winter Scavenger Hunt
Involving all of our senses outdoors can be so invigorating, especially if you’re feeling a bit underwhelmed by the winter landscape. This is what makes it the perfect time to try a sensory winter scavenger hunt! Once you tune in to all your senses, it’s amazing to realize what we’re missing out on when we primarily focus on sight.
Grab this sensory scavenger hunt printable that I created next time you head outside! Search for the items with your kids and check them off as you experience each one! Keep in mind that the goal of this particular outing isn’t to cover ground fast, so if you do go on a hike, aim for a shorter trail.
My son was very excited for this particular winter scavenger hunt and noticed a bunch of things that weren’t even on the sheet, so we included some empty spaces for you to fill in! Let me know in the comments how you and your kids like this printable!
3. Find and Gather Winter Scavenger Hunt
To get started, head out with the kiddos to a nearby park, hiking trail, or even in your own yard. Bring along a pouch or collecting case of some sort for each child, plus a pair of scissors in case they want to snip a plant stalk or small twig along the way.
We like to use one of my old bead organizing trays like this one for our nature finds! Having an actual case will protect some of the more delicate items that you might gather.
Meander along and encourage your kids to gather whatever interests them! I like printables and everything, but for this winter scavenger hunt, we went without. Sometimes it’s fun to just encourage general exploration with a particular goal and see what you end up with!
My little guy was more than happy to run around and look for interesting nature things, especially because he saw me actually doing it myself.
Here’s what we found on our walk:
- evergreen branches
- a variety of dried flowers
- milkweed pods
- pine cones
Once your outdoor excursion is finished, bring all the goodies you gathered inside for sorting. Another reason I like the bead containers with compartments is that it’s super easy to look at and categorize everything afterwards, which can be really fun!
Another awesome thing you can do with all your finds is to create a nature display case! Using a display box like this one allows you to adorn your home with outdoor memories. I love creating home decor that evokes personal memories and involves nature. It makes our space actually feel like our own, not just something we purchased from a store.
Even though it’s winter, nature still has plenty to offer if we’re only willing to go out and discover it! Our favorite way to do this is a winter scavenger hunt with our kids.
One way to add some color to a dreary winter day is to go on a rainbow scavenger hunt and try to find things outside in every different color! You might have to get a little creative with this one, but it’s definitely possible! Bring along your camera to make a rainbow collage with the pictures once you’re finished!
Another idea is to try a sensory winter scavenger hunt. It can open up a whole new world of discovery when you involve all of your senses! Plus, it’s usually hard to keep kids from touching and smelling (and tasting 😜) everything anyway. Why not encourage it? (Minus the tasting.)
Lastly, try a search and find scavenger hunt. This approach is more of a free for all and allows kids to grab whatever intrigues them personally. It’s super interesting to see what each individual child comes up with!
PS – Know someone that would like this blog? Please forward it to them!