How to Plan an Outdoor Photo Scavenger Hunt for Kids

posted in: Parenting | 7

What better way to get outdoors than to plan an outdoor photo scavenger hunt for the kids? Scavenger hunts can be a lot of fun, and if you opt to do a photo scavenger hunt it lines up with the wildlife preservation philosophy: “Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints.”

Whether we’re in our backyard or in our local park, I’ve tried to explain this concept to our son. The idea of leaving a place nicer than you found it can be explained a number of ways to toddlers. My frequent comment is something along the lines of: “if everyone took a rock, there wouldn’t be any left for anyone to enjoy!”

Ok, so onto our outdoor photo scavenger hunt for kids!

Plan an Outdoor Photo Scavenger Hunt for Kids -

When planning a photo scavenger hunt for kids, you can keep it really simple, or go all out with fancy printables and photo checklists. When doing this activity with my toddler, we opted for the simpler, more impromptu, method. But if you have an older child, make sure to check out some of the resources at the end of this post, as I found a lot of neat checklists and printables for photo scavenger hunts for kids.

Our Outdoor Photo Scavenger Hunt

Since our son is three, and can’t read yet, we didn’t make any printed lists (I’ll share a list of ideas later on though). We just went outside in the backyard with a camera! We walked around, I pointed out nature items and our son spotted and/or identified them.

Toby wasn’t too interested in taking the pictures himself (wow, that’s a once in a lifetime occurrence!), so I took pictures of either the objects themselves, or him with the item of interest.  The key is being flexible so it’s fun for your kid!

Later, I got the pictures off the camera and onto the computer, where we enjoyed looking through the pictures and talking about what we found in our backyard!  If you’re trying to limit screen time, I could see printing out the photos and putting them in an album for a future “find it from the photo” scavenger hunt.

Spring Backyard Photo Scavenger Hunt – Photos

Here are some of the things we found on our scavenger hunt!  A little further on, I’ll give you a list of things we were looking for, but as you’ll see from the images I’m sharing, my son was focused on spring flowers and other greenery during this outing.  Just so you know, we took more pictures, but I’m just sharing a sampling of the photos from our scavenger hunt to give you an idea of what we found (click on any thumbnail to open the large view gallery).

Photo Scavenger Hunt Checklist

If you’re looking for a list of ideas, here are some things you could put on the photo scavenger hunt list!

  • Flowers/Plants: daffodil, black-eyed Susan, daisy, marigold, peony, rose, strawberry bush, tomato plant, garlic, chives, oregano, mint, dandelion, ragweed, milkweed
  • Trees/Saplings: maple, oak, pine, apple, pear, cherry, dogwood, willow, blue spruce, birch, poplar
  • Seeds/Nuts: acorn, walnut, mushroom
  • Insects/little things: bumblebee, mayfly, dragonfly, housefly, ladybug, aphid, ant, pillbug/rolypoly, millipede, centipede, earthworm, praying mantis, walking stick
  • Birds: red-winged blackbird, robin, chickadee, oriole, blue bird, mourning dove, Canadian goose, swan, great blue heron, turkey vulture, sparrow, barn swallow
  • Animals: deer, squirrel, rabbit, fox, coyote, chipmunk, garter snake, field mouse, groundhog, skunk (hope not!)

With older kids, you can print out the list, hand it to them, and have them venture off with a camera to photograph all the different things they can find.  I chose to keep the list on the shorter side by grouping all flowers into one item.  Multiple photos could be taken for bonus points!

Younger kids, such as my toddler, will need the photo scavenger hunt to be adapted based on their current temperament and interest.

Photo Scavenger Hunt for Kids – Resources

Here are some other posts I found, some of which include printables, that should provide inspiration for your photo scavenger hunt! I’ve also included some more scavenger hunt goodies from Pinterest! (Links will open in a new window for your convenience)

Follow Betsy @’s board Scavenger Hunt (for kids) on Pinterest.

Have Ideas for a Photo Scavenger Hunt for Kids?

I’d love to hear your ideas of things to look for, what activities worked for you, and thoughts on how activities like this can be tweaked for different age groups.

And, if you do try this photo scavenger hunt idea, make sure to report back as to how your kids liked the activity!

Backyard Outdoor Photo Scavenger Hunt for Kids - Flowers -

The Backyard Games Series - Outdoor Photo Scavenger Hunt - BPhotoArt.comThis post is part of a series celebrating Backyard Games week (May 19-26).

Thirteen bloggers, including myself, are sharing some great backyard game ideas to help get you outdoors!

7 Responses

  1. Amanda @artsy_momma

    Looks like he had so much fun! My son is addicted to scavenger hunts right now. Yesterday he did an indoor ABC hunt – would be fun to do that outside too 🙂

  2. Mae

    Great ideas. Never too young to start exploring. My kids always think it is the ‘bees knees’ when they get to hold the camera.

  3. Betsy Finn

    Totally agree with you, Mae. My son keeps telling me “let me be the leader” whenever we go walking too. the explorer spirit is great to encourage!

  4. Leanne

    Thanks for the fun idea! My children are eagerly awaiting spring. Can’t wait to do this activity with them. Creative, educational, fun and good exercise!

  5. Betsy Finn

    Yes, we’re excited about spring too! My toddler wanted to eat dinner on the deck this past evening (it was in the 30s or low 40s if that…). Let me know how they enjoy the scavenger hunt!

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