Nature Treasure Hunt: A simple idea for Autumn

A nature treasure hunt is the perfect activity for Autumn. This is something that we repeat many times throughout the season as we observe the changes in nature. It’s perfect for all ages – from toddlers right up to adults! There’s something so joyful about doing a nature treasure hunt, then using what you have found in art projects, play and for seasonal decoration.

This activity couldn’t be simpler to set up. All you is an egg carton (or basket if you’d prefer) to collect the nature treasures. Once you’ve collected the nature treasures, check out our Autumn themed blog posts for ideas on what you can do with your collection.

a 4 year old boy goes on a nature treasure hunt. He is showing the contents of an egg carton which contains twigs and leaves

5 Benefits of a Nature Treasure Hunt with kids

  1. Outdoor Exploration: Nature treasure hunts encourage kids to explore the great outdoors. They get to discover and appreciate the natural world, from local parks to forests, beaches, and gardens, fostering a lifelong love of nature and a sense of adventure.
  2. Physical Activity: It’s a fun way to engage in physical activity and exercise. Children will be walking, running, bending, and reaching as they search for treasures, promoting physical fitness and a healthy lifestyle.
  3. Observational Skills: Treasure hunts enhance children’s observational skills. They learn to pay attention to details, identify different plants, animals, and objects, and develop a greater understanding of their environment.
  4. Problem Solving: Creating clues and solving riddles or puzzles during the treasure hunt stimulates critical thinking and problem-solving abilities. Kids must use their wits and teamwork to decipher clues and find hidden treasures.
  5. Bonding and Quality Time: Most importantly, nature treasure hunts offer quality bonding time for parents and children. These experiences create lasting memories and provide opportunities for open communication, fostering a strong parent-child relationship built on trust and shared experiences.

Overall, a nature treasure hunt is an enjoyable and educational activity that combines adventure, physical activity, and learning, all while strengthening the family bond.

 

How to set up a nature treasure hunt:

Certainly! Setting up a nature treasure hunt can be a fantastic outdoor adventure for children. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to organise one:

1. Choose a Location: Start by selecting a suitable location for your nature treasure hunt. It could be a local park, a nature reserve, your backyard, or any area with natural elements like trees, flowers, rocks, and wildlife. Consider the age and abilities of the children when choosing the location.

2. Decide on the Theme: Determine the theme or focus of your treasure hunt. You can make it educational by concentrating on specific plant species, animals, or natural features, or make it purely fun by hiding a variety of items.

3. Create a Treasure List: Make a list of the items or treasures you want the children to find. These could include pinecones, leaves of different shapes and colors, specific types of rocks, feathers, or even small animal figurines if you want to make it more exciting. Tailor the list to match the theme and age group.

4. Prepare Clues or Riddles: Depending on the age of the children, you can create clues or riddles that lead them to each treasure location. Younger children may benefit from simple, direct clues, while older kids can handle more complex riddles. Write these clues on pieces of paper or cards.

5. Gather Supplies: Provide each child with a container for collecting treasures, such as an egg carton, a small basket, or a cloth bag. Ensure they have a marker or crayon to check off items on their treasure list as they find them.

6. Set Up the Hunt: Before the children arrive, hide the treasures in the designated area, making sure they are safely accessible. Place the clues or riddles at each treasure location. Make sure to have a starting point where you’ll give the initial clue or provide a map if needed.

7. Explain the Rules: Gather the children and explain the rules of the treasure hunt. Emphasize the importance of respecting nature and not disturbing plants, animals, or their habitats. Remind them to check off each treasure they find.

8. Start the Hunt: Give the first clue or provide the map and let the children begin their adventure. Encourage teamwork and cooperation as they work together to solve clues and locate treasures.

9. Celebrate the Finds: Once all the treasures have been discovered, gather the children to celebrate their finds. Discuss what they learned and share interesting facts about the treasures they collected.

10. Reflect and Learn: Finally, take a moment to reflect on the experience with the children. Ask them about their favorite part of the treasure hunt and what they found most exciting or interesting.

A nature treasure hunt is a wonderful way to connect children with the natural world, fostering a sense of wonder and exploration. It encourages observation, problem-solving, and teamwork while providing an opportunity for quality family time outdoors.

Choose a Location: Start by selecting a suitable location for your nature treasure hunt. It could be a local park, a nature reserve, your backyard, or any area with natural elements like trees, flowers, rocks, and wildlife. Consider the age and abilities of the children when choosing the location

Create a Treasure List: Make a list of the items or treasures you want the children to find. These could include pinecones, leaves of different shapes and colors, specific types of rocks, feathers, or even small animal figurines if you want to make it more exciting. Tailor the list to match the theme and age group.

Gather Supplies: Provide each child with a container for collecting treasures, such as an egg carton, a small basket, or a cloth bag. Ensure they have a marker or crayon to check off items on their treasure list as they find them.

Explain the Rules: Gather the children and explain the rules of the nature treasure hunt. Emphasise the importance of respecting nature and not disturbing plants, animals, or their habitats. Remind them to check off each treasure they find.

Celebrate the Finds: Once all the treasures have been discovered, gather the children to celebrate their finds. Discuss what they learned and share interesting facts about the treasures they collected.

Reflect and Learn: Finally, take a moment to reflect on the experience with the children. Ask them about their favourite part of the nature  treasure hunt and what they found most exciting or interesting.

At Home Autumn Art & Sensory Camp

If you enjoyed this post and wanted to find more fun Autumn themed activities, check out the At Home Autumn Art & Sensory Camp in my membership group. If you would like to access the content, you can check it out here. 

This image shows a timetable for an Autumn art & sensory camp. The pumpkin hammer art is one of the activities included

 

Autumn Blog posts to read next:

If you loved this simple nature treasure hunt activity , you might also enjoy some of our other Autumn posts. Most are suitable for both toddlers and preschoolers:

Autumn Art Ideas for Preschoolers

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt Mask

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt story basket

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt pre-writing skills  activity 

21 Autumn Ideas for the Entire Family

Autumn Activities for Kids: 25 Playful Prompts

Autumn Loose Parts Play

Autumn Preschool Leaf Cutting Tray

Apple Playdough Activity

Farm Playdough Ideas

Sunflower Sensory Play Activity 

Pumpkin Hammer Art 

Pumpkin Gloop 

Simple Autumn Sensory: Pumpkin soup

You can also search the keyword ‘Autumn’ in the blog search bar for the most up-to-date Autumn blog post listing.

 

Interested in learning more?

If you enjoyed this nature treasure hunt activity and want to learn more about sensory play and the importance of play in the early years, you might just like my exclusive membership, ‘How I drink my Coffee Hot’ too. The membership costs just $5 per month and you get access to 10 mini courses on a range of topics including sensory play, play spaces and starting school. Here are some membership posts that you might enjoy:

Sensory Play Mini Course

Starting School Mini Course 

Play Space 101 Mini Course

Toys 101 Mini Course

Sian Thomas
an image of This Playful Home founder, Sian Thomas. The photo includes a photo of her daughter when she was around 18 months old

I’m Siân (rhymes with yarn), a play advocate, proud parent to three, and former teacher. My mission is to infuse more joy and less overwhelm into the lives of parents. Discover play-based activities with me that not only make learning FUN but also forge deep connections with your young learners, creating memories to cherish forever.