winter scavenger hunts

How to plan a winter scavenger hunt for the family

Scavenger hunts are a great way to get your kids exploring, but how can you create a scavenger hunt in winter? Here, Rebecca McCalla, Director at the outdoor supplier Little Adventure Shop, shows you how to plan a fun scavenger hunt in the colder weather.

When winter comes around, it might be tempting to stay cosy in front of the TV, but as we all know getting outside and keeping your kids active is beneficial for both children and parents! So, finding pastimes that encourage your children to get outside and explore is really beneficial.

So, how can you plan a scavenger hunt that will still be enticing and fun even when it’s cold and rainy outside? Here, we’ll go through some ideas. There are basically two types of scavenger hunt — ones that involve finding as many items as you can (e.g. pinecones and leaves) in a period of time; this is great for young children. 

Then, the other type of scavenger hunt or treasure hunt which takes a bit more planning, is where you place clues around your garden or house and your kids solve them to reach a treat at the end. This kind of activity is ideal for keeping older children engaged and occupied. That’s your basic introduction to scavenger hunts, and here are some more ideas to get you started:

Create a nature scavenger hunt

Using the winter landscape, you can plan a scavenger hunt that will encourage your kids to find different things in nature. Items that they could look for include leaf skeletons, pieces of bark, evergreen leaves or trees, fallen pinecones, and animal prints on the ground. 

This will get your little ones focussed and warm by running around and exploring their surroundings. Once they find all the objects, make sure you reward them with a tasty snack or, if you’re feeling strong, maybe even a piggy-back ride back to the car! This is a great way for your children to start learning about nature and the seasons. If you’re planning on being outside for a while, make sure that your little ones are kitted out for the activity, with plenty of layers, waterproof coats and trousers to keep them dry.

Try imaginary treasure hunts

In winter it can be harder to plan a treasure hunt as there are less noticeable features in nature than in summer. So, if you’re struggling to find your nature items, you can expand the hunt by using imaginary things. For instance, if your children are excited by pirates, you can encourage them to look for ‘shipwrecks’, made out of fallen logs and trees. Or they might look for ‘fairy houses’ which could be a fold in the roots of a tree. This can be a fun way to explore while using their imaginations, and this type of scavenger hunt will make a bleak wintery day much more exciting. Adapt it to what your kids are interested in, for example you might look for the footprints of their favourite book and TV characters.

Hide and seek meets scavenger hunt

Another creative idea is to plan a hide and seek scavenger hunt. This works really well if your children are around 7 years of age or older. Give them ten minutes to hide themselves and to leave a trail of little clues to help you to find them. They might make arrows and crosses out of sticks to keep you on the right track. Of course, you’ll have to pretend you can’t hear the giggling or the “shushing”!

Create some Christmas clues

To get you and your kids in the Christmas spirit, you might want to create some Christmas clues to hide around the garden. This way, your kids can solve little riddles that will help them find the next clue — this gets them to solve problems, and it also builds excitement about the prize they’ll get at the end. You might write some Christmas-themed riddles and hide them with some festive sweets. Start them off by giving them one clue, and then let them find the others.

Keep your scavenger hunt inside

If the weather is very rainy or cold, you might not fancy venturing outdoors to look for clues and treasure, but you can still do this activity inside. Take your clues and hide them around the house. It can help to designate a certain floor or room if your kids are younger, as the whole house can be tricky to tackle for very little ones. If your kids are too young to read riddles, you can also create a very simple treasure hunt by giving them verbal clues like “where do you like to have your bedtime story read to you”.

There are so many ideas to pick from when organising a winter scavenger hunt, and it’s a great activity to encourage your kids to be mentally and physically active. Venture outside, or create a simple treasure hunt in your house, and use these tips to create the ideal winter scavenger hunt.

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