Sensory scavenger hunt: one of the outside play ideas in my FREE Learn and Play Outside Guide

Sensory scavenger hunt: If you're looking for flexible scavenger hunt ideas for kids then I've got you covered! This sensory scavenger hunt could be indoors, in nature, or outdoors in an urban environment. It's an accessible, inclusive activity and combines UV art and other sensory fun for kids, together with language building and learning about science.

In this video I talk about my 4 big goals for getting children outside:

Have fun

If I announce we are going on a walk or a hike then the kids are generally not too enthused at the prospect of heading outside. Suggesting instead some fun, play-based activities like scavenger hunts or making UV art usually gets more enthusiastic buy-in.

If you need further ideas or inspiration for getting kids outdoors then definitely download my completely FREE Learn and Play Outside Guide.

Spend time outdoors

There's a couple of reasons to encourage children to spend time outdoors:

  • Carving time out of your day for outside time builds good habits that are important for both physical and mental health
  • If we want our kids to care about the environment, they need to feel a connection to it. That requires spending time observing, understanding and learning more about, nature.

Learn something new

Speaking of learning - experiential learning is very powerful and it doesn't just mean doing, it also requires reflection. The two main things I focus on in the video above are:

  • building descriptive language. A touch-based scavenger hunt is a perfect activity for this as you can not just talk about colours and temperature but lots of adjectives (smooth, soft, fluffy, prickly) and also opposites (rough vs smooth). This is important for both my sons but in Owen's case, as an AAC user, it's very important for him to be able to use descriptive language because not every noun can be programmed into his device. The example I use in the video is: it's more important for him to be able to say "I see a bright red bird" than to have the word "cardinal" in his AAC vocabulary.
  • understanding the different components of sunlight. We chatted about infrared radiation, created a rainbow to discuss visible light, and made some UV art. Because ultraviolet light isn't something we can see or feel, the UV art enabled me to demonstrate its impact and also show why it's important for us to wear sunscreen.

Be accessible

All of the activities I do with my children have to meet three accessibility criteria:

  • Be free or affordable
  • Can be done where we live (especially where most of us live - in an urban environment)
  • Must be something that kids of all ages and abilities can participate in

So, tell me what you think. Do you like the idea of sensory scavenger hunts? Would you like to see more of them? Make sure to check out my Fall sensory scavenger hunt focused on sound and let me know.

Learn through play Facebook group

And if Facebook is your thing, don't forget to join my group for parents, educators and other interested parties. We share resources and discuss how best to facilitate at home learning activities during lockdown and beyond. Click here if you'd like to join the group.

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