Family Fall Scavenger Hunt

Enjoy the Great Outdoors

There's no better time than fall to gather the family and head outside for a fun adventure.  It's not too hot, the bugs aren't as bothersome, and the scenery is gorgeous.  God has painted a colorful fall masterpiece once again.

Image courtesy of Vlado at

Fall Scavenger Hunt

Kids love discovery, and nature provides a captivating classroom.

For a family scavenger hunt, pack up your family and head to a nature park or local pond, or you can simply explore your own back yard or neighborhood to find all the items on your list.

You can make your own scavenger hunt list, including items like acorns, scarecrows, pumpkins, moss, squirrels, and pine cones, or find one online.

Equip your nature hunters with pencils to scratch off items from their list.  For a fun fall craft after the hunt, they will also need a paper or plastic grocery bag to collect materials such as leaves, walnuts, acorns, small sticks, small rocks, pine cones, and other non-poisonous items that catch their eye.

Kids tend to complain if you make them walk too far, but when they are on a mission, they won't notice how far or how long they've managed to roam.

Making Leaf People

After your scavenger hunt is finished, and your bags are brimming with "nature," head to your deck, patio, or garage for some fun crafting.  Bugs tend to hitch a ride home with your collection, so doing the craft inside is not recommended.  

Making leaf people is an enjoyable activity loved by boys and girls alike.  The idea stems from a charming book by Lois Ehlert entitled Leaf ManLeaf man goes wherever the wind blows, and he passes other places and animals made from leaves too.  The book is filled with die-cut pages and captivating leaf imagery that inspire young readers to create their own leaf people.

All you need is some Elmer's glue and construction paper, and your kids can let their imaginations take over from there.

Here are a few examples of the crafty critters your kids might produce:

Leaf rubbings never go out of style, so while you're at it, re-connect with childhood with this easy, classic craft.

Take pictures of your leaf people while they are fresh to preserve the memory of your fall adventure.  It doesn't take them long to dry up and fade, and you don't want nature disintegrating on your fridge!

Parent Tip:  Never throw leaf people away when your kids are watching--wait until they go to school.

What Do You Do With the "Extras?"

Clean up is quicker when you toss unused pieces of your collection into the trash, but if you're talking to your kids about nature, soil, composting, or other eco-aware practices, make sure to lead by example.  Have you kids deposit their extras in your compost bin or under your trees so these organic materials can break down to replenish the soil--or become part of a neighborhood squirrel's winter stash, if leftover acorns are in the mix.

Make It a Tradition

Make a fall scavenger hunt and leaf people crafting time a tradition, starting when your kids are young.  Even as they grow up, they will still do the activity for nostalgia's sake (as long as their friends won't catch them).  It's fun to thumb through photo albums, or click through digital ones, to compare the improvement in their ingenuity and craftiness from one year to the next.  

The biggest imprint from the family time will be the sweet and indelible stamp it leaves in your heart.