The house was full of kids playing but I wanted to get them outside and into the woods for a walk. What do you do? I put together an Autumn / Fall Scavenger Hunt Sheet for them. It’s the best way to get them exploring the woods while actually noticing nature. We’re lucky as we live in a small valley surrounded by woods in West Sussex, England. (Note – I’ve written Autumn / Fall throughout the post not only because I’m a mum and a mom but because I have I have an even amount of US and UK readers!)
It was early Autumn / Fall so my aim was for them to spot the changes of the season and any signs of wildlife as we went on our Autumn / Fall scavenger walk in the woods. Each was given a spotter sheet, a crayon and a bag for their treasures.
I made two mistakes on our expedition. The first was that I printed out the spotter sheets just before we left the house: I didn’t have enough time to put new ink cartridges in the printer so the photos on the sheet were very yellow. Nevermind the kids didn’t care. The second was that I forgot to bring clipboards so they had to find tree trunks and other surfaces to write on their sheets.
A4 Size *** DOWNLOAD HERE: Autumn Scavenger Walk Woods Spotter Sheet A4***
Letter Size*** DOWNLOAD HERE: FALL SCAVENGER WALK IN THE WOODS LETTER SIZE***
And it worked! Soon the four of them were looking at the woodlands floor, staring up at the tree tops, searching for signs of wildlife and spotting what was growing or dying. So what did they search for and spot? My scavenger sheet included the following lists and questions:
- Cones – How many different shapes can you find?
- Nuts – How many different types of nuts can you find? Have any of the nuts been chewed?
- Acorns – Can you find an oak tree? Draw the shape of an oak leaf.
- Leaves – Find 5 different shapes. Are any leaves still green?
Soon they were scouring the ground for nuts and cones. They also found an oak tree when they spotted some acorns on the ground near it. None of them searched for leaves during the hunt so I’ll probably organise another outing in late Autumn /Fall just focusing on leaves.
Wildlife and Small Woodlands Creatures
- Tracks – Can you find any animal tracks?
- Feathers – Can you find any bird feathers?
- Spider Webs – Can you spot any spider webs?
- Bird nest – Can you find any birds’ nests?
- Opening at bottom of tree – Can you find a hole for an animal to live in?
- Hole in tree trunk – Are there any nuts on the ground below?
There was great excitement when we entered the woods and all four started following deer tracks on a muddy path through the trees! As we walked along a woodland trail they kept pointing out holes on tree trunks and at the bottom of trunks while speculating what animal might live in them. They even checked if any nuts had been left by the ‘entrance’ of these holes.
Then there was huge excitement when they came into an area with shrubs and trees where there was a big web with a spider dangling on its edge. Suddenly they were searching and finding other webs nearby and at the same time each calling out to me to come and have a look!
We have a fantastic book at home to help us identify any little creatures we see in the woods. Have a look at my review here – we love it!
Probably because the tree canopy was still quite lush and thick, we didn’t spot any bird’s nests. When the leaves start falling off they should become more visible. Later they all found a bunch of little feathers near a shallow stream and an owl’s feather as we left the woods.
Plants and Fungi
- Fungus – Can you find mushrooms on the ground? Can you spot a fungus growing on a tree trunk?
- Plants – Are there any ferns left in the woods? Spot any wild flowers?
The only wild flowers we found were some Herb Roberts near the start of the trail.
Fungi, on the other hand, were everywhere. Of course I told them not to pick or touch any of them. Last year I took Luce and Theo on a mushroom hunt in the woods and gave them the same instructions. When I recently went on a foray for mushrooms I was accompanied by an expert who gave lots of tips.
My twins and their friends were soon having an adventure by following a shallow stream in the woods. I loved it when the girls told me they both wanted to be explorers when they grew up.
Eventually I had to insist that it was time to go back home as it was lunch time. None of them wanted to leave the woods.
Another fun scavenger hunt in the woods is to give them no list but just ask them to collect what they think is special. It’s rather fascinating to see what each chooses as treasure!
I didn’t make it a competition on who spotted the most in the Autumn / Fall Scavenger Hunt sheet. I just wanted them to enjoy the walk and be aware of nature and the wildlife that lived in the woods. It worked perfectly.
You can find lots more ideas for scavenger hunts and nature walks with kids on many of my Pinterest boards!
Dean of Little Steps says
I would love to do this with T. Many Christmases ago, we did a forage into the woods with the intent of finding pine cones. Sadly, all we found though were really small ones 🙁 Would love to do this again! And when we do, I’m going to print out your spotter sheet! 😉 #countrykids.
Kriss MacDonald says
It really turns a walk into an adventure for kids. What I love watching is how my twins and their friends start really noticing their surroundings and nature. Hope T enjoys it!
We need to do this soon. Somehow time is flying by and the weekends seem so short! I love a treasure hunt like this, such a wonderful idea x
Kriss MacDonald says
Thank you Iona. The kids loved it!
I love this time of year as there’s so much to see in nature. My kids are older but they still love a treasure hunt/spotting session so we might have to pop along to our favourite wood later. #countrykids
Coombe Mill says
I think this time of year is the best for getting out and going on scavenger hunts with the kids as they become less interested with getting out in the colder air. It’s great that the four all came out with you and had a great time, it’s amazing how quickly they can let go of not wanting to explore nature. It’s great that once they were out the kids weren’t intent on completing the scavenger hunt, but they used it to inspire some nature exploration. Thanks for linking up with me on Country Kids.
Kriss MacDonald says
Thanks Fiona. It really was lovely seeing them explore and scavenge. Even when they just started focusing on their ‘adventure’ they were looking out for items from the spotter sheet. I really do find that spotter sheets often make them look around and enjoy their nature surroundings even more.
Love this. Thanks so much for sharing with the #pinitparty