Candy hearts notwithstanding, February offers plenty of opportunities for family fun! And, depending on where you live and hike the most, February can mean lots of things. It may herald a few more months of winter … or the start of spring! Or, if you’re lucky enough to live somewhere where the weather is all over the place, it could mean both. Looking for an outdoor activity to do in any weather? Try exploring your senses with a winter scavenger hunt!

Exploring the Senses with a Winter Scavenger Hunt by Erin Pennings for Hike it Baby

Scavenger Hunt Learning Opportunities

Once you’ve committed to getting outside to explore, there are some great learning opportunities for your little ones. You can add a bit of adventure to your hike by discussing with your kids how they can learn more about nature through their senses.

With that in mind, we’ve curated a scavenger hunt just for you that makes use of the different senses – hearing, seeing, smelling and touching. We’ve also made it convenient for you to download a clickable version or a black and white version to print.

Of course, the fifth sense – tasting – also offers some good opportunities for learning. However, with the exception of perhaps tasting rain drops or snowflakes, we left it off the list.

Exploring the senses with a scavenger hunt by Erin Pennings for Hike it Baby

Before the scavenger hunt

Using our winter scavenger hunt as a guide (and perhaps adding more items of your own), consider what you’re likely to encounter on your adventure. You can even bring your camera along to take pictures of the items for discussion later with your kids. (Note: Please remember to follow Leave No Trace guidelines and do not take anything from its natural habitat.)

Then as you prepare to start your hike, talk with your kids about each of the different senses and how we use them. Depending on the age, you can also ask questions about each item on the list: “Do we see clouds? Do we taste them? Do we smell them?”

Some items, like pine trees, may check off multiple scavenger hunt items and senses. We can observe them. We can smell them. We can feel them. And, pine cones come from them.

Allow your child to surprise you with their sense of wonder and their powers of observation. Be prepared for giggles and excitement!

After the scavenger hunt

Go over your list and talk about each item you discovered. If you took pictures of some of the items, look at them together and ask questions about what your children experienced.

Were there any items you thought you should encounter but didn’t? What about things you discovered that weren’t on the list? This is a super fun activity that your kids will want to repeat again and again each season.

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Photo by Amy Diebold. Scavenger hunt graphic designed by Alex Wong. 

What kind of winter scavenger hunts have your family gone on? Please share them below!

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