Backyard Nature Photo Scavenger Hunt

A great outdoor party game that's fun as well as "green"

Boy sitting in long grass taking photograph using smartphone
Cultura RM/Mieke Dalle/Getty Images

This scavenger hunt will get kids' natural competitive instincts flowing. Best of all, it gets kids thinking about nature and uses only natural resources, which makes it a great "green" outdoor party games idea.

What you'll need:

  • 2 digital cameras (more if you have a large group of kids and plan to divide up into more than 2 teams)
  • A timer or stopwatch
  • A backyard or the park
  • 2 copies of a list of items to find (about 10 to 15 items). Some ideas for list items:
    • Something smooth
    • Something rough
    • Something brightly-colored
    • Something green
    • Something slimy
    • Something wet
    • Something that has cracks in it
    • Two stones or rocks of different sizes
    • Two stones or rocks of different colors
    • A flower
    • An insect
    • Pinecones
    • Two different kinds of leaves
    • Bark
    • An interesting-looking twig
    • A small, furry creature, such as a squirrel
    • A bird
    • A pet (such as a dog)
    • Moss
    • Grass

    How to play: Have kids divide up into two teams. Older grade-schoolers can work on their own, but younger kids may require a bit of adult assistance.

    Each team will work together to find the items on the list and take a photo of the item. (Encourage kids to take turns taking a photo so that everyone has a turn.) Set the timer for an hour or so.

    The team that finds the most number of items on the list in the allotted time wins.

    Tip: Tailor the list of items to find to the ages of the kids. For instance, younger grade-schoolers may not have the attention span required to find 15 items, so 7 to 10 items might be a better way to go. Younger kids may also fare better with less specific descriptions (so "an interesting leaf" rather than "a leaf that has several points and has red in it" or "an insect" rather than "an insect that has at least six legs") whereas kids who are 8 and up may be more challenged by detailed list items.

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