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Winter scavenger hunt

Age: 3 to 8+ Time: Under 1 hour
Materials: scavenger hunt clues; cardboard; pencil; string; hot coacoa
Skills: Critical Thinking, Making Connections, Sensory

Up North, snow is magical, but when it melts into to a dirty and dingy film, winter can seem grey, lifeless and, well, boring. Dreary though it may seem, winter actually offers amazing and beautiful treasures all its own. So, in an effort to rekindle our love for winter, we made up a winter scavenger hunt.

Download our scavenger hunt clues or make your own. Find all of the clues in one outing or keep looking over a few weeks. Either way, get the family out and give winter a second look!

The Guide

  1. Get a set of wintry clues: You can design your own clues or just download and print one of our winter scavenger hunt sheets:

    Tinkergarten® Winter Scavenger Hunt Clues for kids ages 3-6

    Tinkergarten® Winter Scavenger Hunt Clues for kids ages 7+

  2. Prep the clues: Tape the clues to a piece of cardboard. Poke holes and tie string so kids can wear them around their necks or over their shoulders (just do it upside-down, so when kids look at them, they appear right-side-up).
  3. Include a treat: Treats on the trail make any time feel special, but are never so needed as in the cold. You’ll see a box for "TREAT" in our clues. If you have time to go ahead and hide a treats (granola bar, thermos of hot chocolate, etc), that’s great—just put it in a sealed container, or it may not still be there when the kids arrive.
  4. Read over the clues: Read over the clues with kids before you go hunting, especially if they are emerging or non-readers.
  5. Hunt: Different kids will want to go it alone or hunt with you. If they want to work as a team, join them, but be mindful to let them do the hunting. As they go, kids can put an X through the boxes as they find each item. If you have a group (especially if you have kids over 5), make it a competition. See which team can find all of items first or find the most in 30 minutes.
  6. Chat: Talk to kids about what they found, asking things like which was their favorite clue and why or which was most challenging and why.

Why is this activity great for kids?

Use a variety of sensory clues, and you give kids a great way to sharpen their senses. Even the most squirrelly friend will get practice with focus and self control when engaged in a "hunt." Matching objects with categories gives kids great practice with the basics of making connections. Teaching your kids to see the magic that winter hides behind its dreary exterior not only teaches them to make life in the winter more exciting (we adults need that!), but it also helps teach them to think critically and to look just a bit below the surface to find the deeper meaning in things.


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Do It Yourself

We think all families should be learning outside. Try this activity with your child and begin to see the power in outdoor, play-based learning. Have fun!

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