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    Home / Science projects / Nature Scavenger Hunt Project
    • Nature Scavenger Hunt Project

      Nature Scavenger Hunt Project

      Go on a Nature Scavenger Hunt!

      Who doesn't love a scavenger hunt? Get outdoors and start "scavenging" for treasures in nature. Nature watching can be exciting as you collect specimens, take pictures of animals, and do fun activities. This is a great afternoon project for a group of kids, or it can be expanded into a summer-long family project. Go to a nearby park, lake, pond, or beach. You can even scavenge in your backyard. Keep in mind that some places (such as certain national parks) don't allow you to pick any wildflowers, and it's illegal to collect feathers from certain species of birds, etc.

      What You Need:

      • Plastic bags - bring home specimens without making a mess.
      • Jars - transport insects and other small critters, or carry rocks and shells.
      • Camera - take pictures of what can't be collected using a digital or disposable camera.
      • Notebook, crayons, and colored pencils - draw and write about your scavenging adventure.
      • Insect net - catch butterflies and other flying insects.
      • Field guides - get help identifying trees, flowers, rocks, birds, etc. (Look for regional field guides in your local library and on enature.com)
      • Sunscreen and bug repellent - don't get burned and bitten.
      • Baby wipes or hand sanitizer - clean up when you get grimy.

      You can put all your supplies in a backpack so they are easy to carry. You may also want to bring a pair of binoculars if you have them, and a magnifying glass for studying insects, rocks, or leaves up close. Don't forget to bring a water bottle and a snack - hunting can work up an appetite!

      What You Do:

      You can use this worksheet as a scavenger hunt list of things to find. See how many of the fourteen objects on the list you can spot. Can you find a bird? Can you see any insects? How about different types of rocks and trees? If you're near the ocean you may be able to find shells and seaweed. Using the worksheet, color the things you saw, and add your own drawings to the list for other things you saw. Below is a list of other things you can look for and activities to do to explore nature.

      Things to See

      • A spider web.
      • Wildflowers.
      • Mushrooms.
      • Feathers or abandoned birds' nests.
      • Look carefully for something "camouflaged," such as a walking stick insect or a moth that blends in with its surroundings.

      Things to Collect

      • Pinecones, dandelions, seeds.
      • Ferns, moss, thorns, and other botanical specimens.
      • Catch butterflies, capture a ladybug, dragonfly, or other insects, find a cocoon or chrysalis (see this article for butterfly-hatching instructions).
      • Look for fossils, colored rocks, quartz, or flat skipping stones.
      • If you live on the coast, include things like seashells, seaweed, small crustaceans, and small pieces of driftwood.

      Things to Do

      • Go wading.
      • Make a leaf rubbing.
      • Record a birdsong or other animal sounds.
      • Look at a jar of pond water with a magnifying glass.
      • Find animal tracks (if you have time, you can also make a plaster cast).

      Things to Photograph

      • Birds in a tree, or at a bird feeder or bird bath.
      • Squirrels or other small animals.
      • A sibling or friend doing one of the activities listed under "things to do."
      • Unusual sights like a tree root curled around a rock.
      • The discovery (plant, animal, landscape) that amazed you the most.

      What Happened:

      If you were in the woods, why didn't you find any shells? If you were by the shore, why weren't there many plants, trees, or flowers? The type of animals that live on a beach wouldn't live in the woods. Different environments or biomes have different kinds of rocks, trees, plants, and animals. The type of place you chose to go to on a scavenger hunt meant that you would only be able to spot certain objects on the list. You were probably able to spot lots of other things that weren't on the list. When we look closely, we can discover a lot of fascinating things about the world around us. Nature exploration means learning that not all places are the same. Each place has a unique variety of living things, and every landscape is different.

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