Shot of a happy-looking family reading a map together while hiking in the woods

Scavenger Hunt Ideas: Encourage Exploration

Now that the April showers have passed, it’s time to get outside and find some May flowers! National Scavenger Hunt Day is May 24. This holiday is a great opportunity for your little one to practice exploratory and executive function skills . We’ve put together a list of our favorite scavenger hunt ideas and reads to help you and your child get in the spirit:

Go on a Hunt!

Scavenger hunts are an opportunity for your little one to sharpen his or her motor skills, which will help them become physically active and healthy throughout life. Here are a few fun activities for little ones from early childhood physical education expert Dr. Sanders:

  • Hide different objects around your yard or the park and instruct your child to retrieve them using different movements. Tell him or her to hop to the tree to find a purple ball, crawl to the right to find a yellow rubber duck, run toward the playset to find a red toy.
  • Plan a scavenger hunt to practice balance. Go to the park and tell your child to find 10 different things on which to balance, such as a rock, a wooden beam, a rock, etc. For safety, be sure to stand nearby in case your child needs help or loses his balance.
  • For younger children, set up an obstacle course around the house. Have your child follow a path and move over, under, around and through obstacles.
  • Go on a hike and ask your child to point out objects of different colors (find a leaf that’s green, a yellow flower, etc.).
  • Need scavenger hunt ideas? We have two printable checklists for wherever your adventure takes you!

Read a Book!

Continue learning with these scavenger hunt-themed books from early literacy expert Anna Hall that will help your little one sharpen important skills, such as counting, problem-solving, and more!

  • Go Find It! An Outdoor Active Scavenger Hunt: Grab “Go Find It!” and head to your local park, playground or your own backyard to discover new and exciting things in familiar places with this captivating picture book.  Skills: Exploration, Counting
  • I Spy Treasure Hunt: A Book of Picture Riddles: Get out your magnifying glass and put on your problem-solving hat as you decipher riddles and search for hidden objects in 12 treasure hunt-themed photographs. Skills: Problem-Solving, Patience
  • Treasure Hunt Series: There’s lots to see in Roger Priddy’s Treasure Hunt series. Whether you’re exploring the town, the farm or the zoo, you and your child will love finding and counting hidden objects in photographs. Skills: Counting, Matching, Observation
  • Technicolor Treasure Hunt: Learn to Count with Nature: Practice counting from one to 10 and learn up to 70 new words as you and your child flip through the colorful tabs of this nature-inspired treasure hunt book. Skills: Counting, Nature Identification, Visual Discrimination

This National Scavenger Hunt Day, embark on a fun, indoor or outdoor quest with your little one to practice executive function skills and encourage their sense of adventure.