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Jan 23, 2018







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Use color to guide your hunt. Emelia Attridge photo.




Backyard nature scavenger hunt

Find the following items in your backyard or on local trails and nature sanctuaries.
 
A star-shaped leaf
An oval-shaped leaf
A leaf with wavy curvy edges
Three different color leaves
A leaf with two or more colors
A whole acorn with it's cap
Pinecone
Crab apple
Cat tail
Markings from a pileated woodpecker (look for small rectangular holes in trees)
Three items of different textures (smooth, soft, rough)
Two mushrooms of different shapes
A feather
Animal tracks
Three types of animal shelters
 




Nature sleuths
Create a scavenger hunt with autumn finds

10/16/14



 Education specialist Hilary Chapman of New Hampshire Audubon and Beaver Brook Association education director Celeste Philbrick Barr agree: a nature scavenger hunt is a great way to get the kids outdoors.

“Kids can pretend that they’re woods ninjas looking for clues and they have to be stealthy. … All these kinds of nature items blend in really well,” Chapman said. “I think observation and patience are really great lessons, especially today. Really slowing down to look carefully.”
Before you start your nature scavenger hunt, make sure you have a list of items to find. Use a list like the Hippo’s in the green box on page 19, or make your own.
 
Where to start
Scavenger hunts can vary in difficulty and technique. Kids can find objects, or tweens can take photos of the objects with smart phones. Kids might also enjoy drawing each of the items on the hunt in a sketchbook.
Barr also recommends creating a scavenger hunt backpack kit with guide books, zip-lock bags and bug nets.
“We always talk about what to take on a day hike in terms of safety … but it’s fine to make one as an exploration backpack,” she said. “Little kids love collecting stuff and maybe they want to bring it home to identify it. … It will stick more if they know what it is when they’re looking at it.”
 
What to look for
“This time of year, I think of colors,” Chapman said. “You can also think of shapes. Can you find an oval leaf versus a star-shaped leaf? … I’d also think about textures, you can find something hard versus soft, like you can find an acorn versus a mushroom,” Chapman said.
Both Barr and Chapman recommend looking for evidence of animals. If you’re in a wooded area, look up in the trees for birds’ nests. If you find an acorn, check to see if it’s been chewed on or pressed (deer will press down on an acorn and squeeze it). Red squirrels will take white pine cones and they’ll shred them up to find pine nuts inside and place them on a rock wall. 
“The pileated woodpeckers, the way they make rectangular holes in the bark, it’s a good time to look for those,” Chapman said. “... Look for holes in the ground for chipmunks.”
 
When it’s over
Take the outdoors inside by creating artwork with some of your finds. Make leaf rubbings or colorful sun-catchers by ironing colorful leaves between wax paper. If you took pictures instead of picking up the objects, print out the photos and make a collage. If you drew the objects, make a little scrapbook. 
 
As seen in the October 16, 2014 issue of the Hippo. 





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