Take a Scavenger Hunt
How do you keep kids connected to nature when school and sports activities compete for attention? Launch a scavenger hunt between soccer games in a city park! WTA's Hiker Scavenger hunt allows kids to look, listen, touch and explore their local environment - all in an hour.
After an incredibly active summer of hiking, camping and backpacking with my family, we've now hit the brakes with fall. The kids are back in school and soccer is eating up our weekends. Like many parents, I've wrestled with how to keep my kids connected to nature when all of our school activities compete for attention.
Fortunately, I've hit upon something: scavenger hunts. My kids (4 and 8 years old) love them. We've done scavenger hunts at their grandparents' house, having them look for animals in the artwork both in and outside their home. And earlier this month I put one together for my son's birthday party. The boys raced around our yard, working together to cross the items off the list.
Outdoor fun, without going too far afield
As my family scavenger hunts have proven, you don't have to go far afield to connect kids with nature.
From your backyard to the neighborhood park, scavenger hunts provide an opportunity to get everyone outside and exploring their environment. And when families are so busy on the weekend with sports and activities -- and simply the need to relax -- sometimes a full day hike is simply not possible.
Take the checklist to a forested park for an hour
WTA has created a scavenger hunt that you can take to a forested city or regional park. Take a hour after school or on a weekend to look, listen, touch and explore the environment. You can look for different sizes of pine and fir cones, ferns and bugs, or things that are scented, smooth or curly. You don't need a bucket to collect items; just have the kids spot them and check them off the list. Have fun and let us know how it goes.