Winter Scavenger Hunt – a fun outside activity

Score sheets for winter scavenger hunt two children running outside after dark lit up windows at Christmastime child filling out a scavenger hunt score card

Here in the Northern Hemisphere, December means shorter, darker and often colder days, which can sometimes make getting outside feel difficult, especially in the late afternoons and early evenings after the sun has already set. If you’re looking for an idea to help children run off that pre-dinner energy, let me suggest a winter scavenger hunt, which was been a huge hit in our house. In fact, it’s the one activity my daughter remembered from last year’s activity advent calendar (loosely based on Esther’s brilliant one, found here) that she asked to repeat this year!

The idea is a pretty loose and flexible one: to walk around after dark and see how many winter and holiday things we can spot either decorating homes and businesses or peeking through windows. This time of year there are so many beautifully decorated homes and buildings, and it’s nice to slow down a bit and really notice them. Decorations are often left up until early January, so there’s still plenty of time to have a go at this before the end of the season. I’ve found that children love noticing small details and recording them, so this activity is right up their alley! My children are also not often out after dark (instead, we’re typically indoors preparing dinner, reading stories, and getting ready for bed), so running around in the darkness feels extra special for them.

To create the “score card” I simply used a bit of card stock and made some quick pen drawings. I added a bit of colored pencil to help it look a little more festive, but that’s it! Done in 5 minutes tops! You can easily swap out any of the items I’ve listed for ones you think you might be more likely to spot where you live. Add a pen and a small clipboard if you wish and you’re set to go.

This year we invited friends along, and though it was a really chilly night, the kids took their job looking for the items on the list very seriously! When everyone got too cold, we capped off the evening with dinner out together which was predictably a bit chaotic and noisy but so much fun (hot cocoa or dessert to celebrate a job well done would also be great). Plans are already in place for a third annual hunt next December, so it seems this will be a yearly tradition for us. If you decide to try it,  I’d love to hear how it turns out for you!

Shannon x

PS: We haven’t done this yet, but it feels like it would be pretty easy to extend this activity once home – tallying up each item, determining what you saw most of or least of, maybe even making a bar graph of it (ha, okay, maybe that just interests me!).


Comments (1)

December 28, 2019

Such a great idea!!! Will definitely be using this.

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