In the market for another fun idea to while away a lazy summer afternoon? Last week in our boredom busters series we discussed a game of edible bingo to keep your kiddos occupied, and today we're going to let them flex their scientific muscles on a fun outdoor scavenger hunt adventure! Children love to explore the world around them, and this activity is one that will delight kiddos of all ages.

Photo Scavenger Hunt

Scavenger Hunt List

Let's gear up for an expedition into the wide world just outside our front door! Before you embark, do the prep work for your adventure: 1.  Create a scavenger hunt journal using {{this free printable}} and the instructions outlined below. 2.  Compile a list of questions based around landmarks and points of interest in your neighborhood. I recommend including 10-15 questions, depending upon the age/attention span of your child(ren). To kickstart your creative juices, refer to my sample list of questions below:
  • I am tall with green leaves and roots that grow deep into the ground. (A tree)
  • I am big and red and take you where you want to go. (Our car)
  • I have red blossoms that are pretty and smell good, too! (A rose bush)
  • I am soft and green, and cows and horses like to eat me. (Grass)
  • I am tall, and I tell you the name of the street you're on. (A street sign)
  • Firefighters hook their hoses to me to find water when there is a fire. (A fire hydrant)
  • Letters are put into me every day by the mail carrier. (A mailbox)
  • I am red with eight sides, and I tell you to stop when you are driving in your car. (A stop sign)
  • I am a great place to take a rest after a nice, long walk. (A bench)

Creating Your Journal

Print the free journal printable onto heavy cardstock. Print one single-sided sheet, and double-sided sheets for the subsequent pages until you have enough for each one of your scavenger hunt questions. Using a paper trimmer, trim each page in half along the center dashed lines.
To create your book, place the left (journaling) portion of the single-sided page you printed earlier face up, with the wording facing you. Now, add your subsequent pages to the pile, taking care to ensure you alternate the journaling and photo pages. End with the right (photo) portion of the single-sided page, making sure the blank side faces the outside of your book. Use a book-binding tool, such as a Bind-it-All, to bind the pages of your book together. Alternatively, should you not have access to a book-binding tool, have your book bound at a copy center, or (simplest of all!) use a hole punch to punch three holes along the left side and bind the pages using jump rings.
Once your book is bound, embellish the front cover of your journal using letter stickers. Now, fill out the blanks for each question on the journaling pages of your book with your scavenger hunt questions. You are ready to head out and have some fun!

On the Hunt

With your camera in hand, give your child(ren) the journal and head outdoors together! Let them get to work finding the places and things around your neighborhood that answer each of your questions, snapping photos of your child in front of each landmark as you go.
When you have answered each question from your journal, head back inside to print copies of your photos (or send them off to be professionally printed, if you are patient enough!). Then, have your children sit down and complete their scavenger hunt scrapbook by affixing photos with glue or other adhesive to the pages and filling out the answer to each question on its respective journaling page. This is a terrific exercise in memory, recognition, and critical thinking!
What I love best of all about this activity is that this is a marvelous way to help children stay connected to the world around them, and it encourages them to thoroughly know the details of their neighborhood. This will instill them with pride of their surroundings and prompt them to be good, conscientious citizens!

More Boredom Busters

Ready for more outdoor fun that also provides a great opportunity to connect with nature? Head over to my blog for a how-to for creating bird seed sandwiches or a tutorial for how to simply make your own bubble wands and solution. Or, for a nature-oriented twist on the scavenger hunt theme, I Am Momma Hear Me Roar has a marvelous idea to collect small items like pebbles and leaves and place them for safe-keeping in an empty egg carton. Questions or comments about this activity? Feel free to pose them either in the comments here, or over at my blog. Next week's addition to the boredom buster lineup will have your children crafting up a storm, so be sure to stop back in!
Amy is mama to three small children (with another on the way!) and author of Positively Splendid, a haven of crafting and DIY inspiration, and a place where creative people of all skill levels can come and feel right at home. Because Amy likes to think of each tutorial as sitting down with friends to learn something new together, each and every project at Positively Splendid is explained to the last detail with step-by-step photo tutorials. Originally from the desert Southwest, Amy now resides outside Nashville, Tennessee.