Last year an amazing mum friend of mine, Victoria organised an autumn scavenger for our then 1 and half-year-olds and it went down extremely well.
Everybody had fun although with the young toddlers it was a case of dragging them around and doing most of the work for them.
This year I teamed up with Victoria to do this again but this time hoping they might be able to do it themselves. They might also start to understand what the things they were looking for are! I thought this was a nice opportunity to try to explain the change of seasons and some of the things you might find in Autumn.
This is a little guide will explain how we did it.
The items to find were printed on some card and we used stamps to check each one off like a game of bingo. You could use stickers or just a pen of course but I think the stamps made it a little more fun for them and you can find the ones we used here.
I’ve included copies of the cards so you can download them yourself at the end of this post. We did one with 9 items on for most of the toddlers and one with 12 for anybody that wanted a little extra challenge. I also included a special version for those parents who hadn’t had much sleep 😉
We picked a local park as it was a nice child-friendly enclosed space and some interesting stuff could be found as it was next to some woodland.
The basic list of things to find was based on a quick recce of the park beforehand as we weren’t exactly sure what trees were there. This makes a difference as without pine trees you probably won’t find any pine cones, without oak no acorns etc.
Our main list was as follows:
- Leaves in green, yellow and brown. You can use this to explain the changes of the trees with the seasons.
- A feather. There are always feathers around especially in a neighbourhood with lots of cats for some reason.
- Flowers. Even in the Autumn, you will probably find flowers in bushes and grass.
- Conkers. Note there were no horse chestnut trees in the park but we took a bucket of conkers with us as if we forgot to pick them up, they would harmlessly decompose or even grow!
- A squirrel. Its possible especially if cold you might not see one but squirrels don’t actually hibernate just spend lots of time sleeping and hiding in cold weather. We took along a cuddly toy squirrel we could hide around just in case!
- A log. We knew there were a few felled trees at the edge of the park and this was also a nice excuse to tip them over to see what creepy crawlies could be found. Just remember to always put the log back where you found it.
- A snail. You can’t fail to find a snail!
We also made a slightly harder version for those kids who took it a bit more serious with a dog, holly leaf and ivy leaf on as well as a special version for the sleep-deprived parents…
Victoria handed out stickers to the kids (and some of the big kids like me) as a nice reward.
As expected the toddlers had another great time. This was challenging enough that they still needed a little help but easy enough so that they could do most themselves but also not lose interest.
We did regret choosing this park a little as unfortunately as the play equipment was a bit of a distraction. All good fun though!
I’ve included the scavenger lists in PDF format here in case you want to just print them out.
If you wanted to modify them I’ve put the Adobe Illustrator files in a zip file here.
I encourage you to try this little activity as its great fun, a little educational and gets everybody outside away from the TV.
If you do try this please let me know how you get on!