Living in a temperate zone, Knoxvillians are privileged to have comfortable weather nearly year round. A scavenger hunt not only allows families to enjoy the great outdoors, but also provides educational recreation at no cost. The scavenger hunt described in this article can be used in any season and modified to suit any family’s outdoor space, be it in a back yard or an apartment complex green area.
Begin with making list of some natural items you have found around your home. Tree leaves are a good item to try to locate, but be sure to specify the kind of tree so as to not make the hunt too easy. Another good item to locate is a husk or nutshell. Tennessee is home to a variety of native and non-native tree species, many of which bear nut mast. Chestnut husks, acorns and their caps, and hickory nut shells are pretty abundant in any area with tree coverage.
Does your child delight in insects? If so, add a grub, earthworm, or beetle to your scavenger list. Most insects can be found under rocks and leaf litter, or around rotting tree stumps and branches. When considering searching for insects, it is important to either instruct your children not the handle the critters, or at least have a good idea what insects can bite or sting. How about litter? I realize it may not be the most exciting item to locate, but by educating your child on finding litter, why it should not be where it is, and the proper way to dispose of it, you are teaching them to take pride in their homeland.
Depending on the time of year, including flowers as a search item can make the hunt more interesting for the child. Backyards are usually home to dandelions, buttercups, and clover flowers. If your child is anything like mine rocks will make a great addition to your search.
Regardless of what the scavenger hunt includes, planning one for your child is half of the fun, as is watching him or her anxiously run around your green space looking for their objects. For more information on scavenger hunt ideas check out the National Wildlife Federation website at www.nwf.org/…/Go-on-a-Backyard-Scavenger-Hunt.aspx