The Ultimate Nature Scavenger Hunt for the Whole Family

Scavenger hunts are a great way to engage with nature while you walk through it, rather than moving through it absent-mindedly. All it takes is a list of things to find, and your whole family can immerse themselves in the complexity and beauty of nature! To make your kid’s nature scavenger hunt a little easier, you can print pictures of each plant so your kids can recognize them. Here’s how to get started.


Trees for Your Scavenger Hunt in Chicago

Trees are an essential part of a healthy ecosystem, as they clean the air, provide shelter for wildlife, and contribute to healthy soil for smaller plants around them. Here are some favorites you can find in Chicago:  


Native Plants for Your Scavenger Hunt 

Identifying native plants is super important for eco-conscious gardening and earth-keeping. Learning to identify which plants are native to Chicago is a great activity for the whole family to help promote sustainable landscaping and gardening for a lifetime. 


Platt Hill Nursery - Nature Scavenger Walk Chicago -egg carton full of leaves and herbs
Backyard Items for Your Scavenger Hunt 

If you want to keep your scavenger hunt limited to the backyard, here are some options you can add to your lists for a great hunt. 

  • Specific annual varieties that you have in containers
  • Garden vegetables
  • Garden tools, such as a trowel or watering can
  • Unique kinds of weeds
  • Spotting wildlife
  • Fallen branches with leaves attached
  • Wild mushrooms (look, don’t touch!) 

You can hide garden supplies in random places around the yard if you want to make things more difficult to find for your kids! 


Platt Hill Nursery - Nature Scavenger Walk Chicago - Four leaf clover
Additional Scavenger Hunt Items

The longer the list, the more time you get to enjoy the outdoors. Here are some additional items you can add to your list to make an awesome scavenger hunt that will keep you busy all afternoon: 

  • Pinecones
  • A tree changing color (2 or 3 more colors) 
  • Specific kinds of birds
  • Three leaf clover (4 if you’re lucky!)
  • Types of bugs
  • Pointy leaves 
  • Pink flowers 
  • Spot a chipmunk, squirrel, or rabbit!
  • An evergreen
  • A flower with specific numbers of petals
  • Moss
  • Fallen bark
  • Spider webs


Platt Hill Nursery - Nature Scavenger Walk Chicago - Children looking at sticks
Tips for an Awesome Nature Scavenger Hunt 

Making a list is one thing, but you can do a few extra things to make sure that you enjoy your scavenger hunt to the max! 


Pack Supplies

Ensure you have enough snacks, water, sunscreen, and bug-repellant for everyone. This way, you won’t have to cut the fun short and can take as long as you want to finish your hunt!


Plan a Reward

Who doesn’t love a little friendly competition? Having a prize at the end of your hunt for finding the most items on the list is a great way to add competition and excitement to your hunt. 


Respect Nature in the Process

Be sure to leave nature in the same condition that you found it. Be careful not to trample any wild areas, leave the berries for the wildlife, and make sure you bring snack wrappers back with you to dispose of in the garbage. 


If you go on an awesome nature scavenger hunt in your area and discover some cool native plants that you’d like to add to your garden, visit Platt Hill Nursery in Bloomingdale and Carpentersville. We have gorgeous native plants or trees that will support local wildlife and create a fascinating and educational space for your family right at home. Contact us if you have any questions; we are always happy to help! 


Platt Hill Nursery is Chicago’s premier garden center and nursery.


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