Scavenger hunts can lay the groundwork for a lifelong respect for nature. Invent a hunt for your favorite nature walk and help your family discover flora and fauna they never imagined. Our scavenger hunt list can get you started. Tailor the hunt to the nature center, woods, seashore, mountain or backyard you’re visiting. For young kids, include easy-to-find items like feathers or a heart-shaped rock; for older kids, dream up challenges like various colors of lichen. Distribute your checklist and a bag to each family member. (Be aware, however, that some nature preserves and parks won’t let you disturb the wildlife. If so, simply record or draw the items rather than picking them up.) After each item has been found (or your time limit is up), compare finds.

Talk to your child: Which item was your favorite to find? Which was most difficult to find? Which did you find first? Did you collect anything that wasn’t on the list? If so, what made you choose it?

Book to share: The Greening Book by Ellen Sabin. Ages 4-8. Through activities and exercises, this book teaches children that they can make a difference in the future of our planet.