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Outdoor fun: Plan a treasure hunt at a local park

Treasure hunt through the trees

Step up your daily trip to the park by planning a treasure hunt like this for your little explorer. It will make the experience a ton of fun!
Treasure box

There are only a handful of places you frequent when you have small children. The two places I seem to go the most are the grocery store and the park. I wanted to spice up our last playtime outing, so I planned a treasure hunt all about nature (with my 2-year-old's help) at our local park.

Supplies:

  • Egg carton
  • Images of things to find on your treasure hunt
  • Computer with internet connection (optional)

Instructions:

1

Select treasure hunt items

Go online or grab your favorite nature magazine and have your child select six to 12 items she would like to find at the park.

My 2-year-old insisted on finding a bird on our hunt, so rather than veto the idea I figured we could try to find a feather to bring home.

2

Cut out images

Cut out the images and glue them to the inside of your egg carton, using one image per slot.

cut out container

I used a half-carton since my son is young. Finding six things was perfect for him.

3

Decorate and head outside

Let your child decorate his treasure chest, and head out to your local park!

To make the adventure even more fun, try heading to a park you don't usually visit. To search for parks and outdoor activities near you, use an online tool like Capri Sun's Seize the Day app — it's designed to help parents get their kids outside and active (and you could even win cash)!

4

Hunt for treasures!

Tromp around the park finding items to fit in your treasure chest.

pick up leaf

We had a few instances of finding things that were too big. It provided a great opportunity to talk about size and learn about the difference between big and small.

5

Optional: Shake it up

Shake up your treasure and listen to all the fun things you found!

shake treasure box

This activity was a great way for me to teach my son about things that we find in nature. He identified items that he was interested in, and was able to match up the picture with the real item at the park. I helped him find some of the items by leading him to certain places, but left the actual finding to him. He loved being in charge of his treasure chest (even though he dumped it out multiple times while bending over) and loved being able to take the items home.

complete treasure hunt kit

Modify this activity for older children by drawing a map of the park and stashing fun items for them to find.

For more ways to spice up your playtime

How to make eggshell seedling planters
Create a DIY kite craft
How to create a bug catcher

Photo credit: Laura Moriarity
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